New era of Ethiopian music released by The Ex‘Llilta!  New Ethiopian Dance Music CD  vol. 1

The Ethiopiques series of releases have defined Ethiopian music for most people but there is a very diverse musical culture in the country.
The series covered the big brass bands playing this warped psychedelic should music that anyone who is unaware of it’s genius should investigate now.

From 1975 to 1991 was the golden era of this music until the period of  the ”Å¡Dergâ„¢, the military government in Ethiopia ,  after that the scene  was never the same again. The horns were replaced with cheap synths and the musics vibrancy was crushed by bad soulless production- oddly paralleling most of the rubbish mainstream music in the west of the same period.

Thankfully  in  the last few years a new scene has emerged. A generation of young producers have been combining traditional rhythms with dance music and an uplifting, very danceable form of music has been the result.

The gurage, wollo, gondar,  konso and other traditional rhythms work well for this  new dance music. It’s been a big hit with the Ethiopian youth not only in the hip areas like Bole, but  all over Addis and other Ethiopian urban areas. Blasting from restaurants, taxis,  coffeeplaces, grocerystores and Addis ‘ giant market, the Mercanto.     

Last year The Ex, the Dutch post punk anarchists released  the Llilta CD, a compilation of this new Ethiopian dance  music, recorded with a new generation of singers over the last decade.  A cross- selection of the production work of Mesele Asmamaw and some of his close colleagues.   This new 12 inch was recorded during one of The Ex’s musical exchange projects in  Ethiopia and mixed in Amsterdam by the two members of The Ex.

The result is a great fusion between modern Ethiopian music waking up after a long time asleep and the noisenik vibrancy of the Ex.

Both tracks and more information from HERE


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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. I think the “Here” link’s broken in the above. Terp records can be found here:


    Contemporary Ethiopian music is alive & well in this country too. I went to 5 gigs last week, saw 16 bands in total & the best was The Krar Collective, an Ethiopian band currently living in London. They also blend traditional Ethiopian music (one of them was a disciple of Mulatu Astatke) with contemporary sounds. They were the second support at the gig I saw them at but they still managed to whip the crowd up into a dancing frenzy. Felt quite sorry for Nedry who had to follow them onstage. If you ever get a chance to see em then go.

    There’s a Youtube video of them in action here:


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