ASELEFECH ASHINE & GETENESH KEBRET - BEAUTIES VINYL RE-ISSUE (LP)
Release Date: 2nd June 2023
"One of the most stunning and unique albums of the Ethiopian golden age of jazz, never re-issued in full until now! This album was the only LP released by the mysterious Aselefech Ashine and Getenesh Kebret, two young women backed by one of the hardest-charging jazz and funk bands of the Ethiopian scene. The record was a huge hit in Ethiopia in 1976, but the artists never released another album. We managed to track them down and bring this amazing record back to the world. Dizzying close harmonies and indestructible grooves on this lost classic from Ethiopia’s Golden Age. Aselefech Ashine and Getenesh Kebret, two young women raised in the bustling cosmopolitan milieu of late-empire Addis Ababa, released a single record in 1976, before disappearing from the music business entirely. Originally released on Kaifa, the label responsible for some of the heaviest and funkiest Ethiopian records of all time, Beauties was a hit, selling out in a few days. But it came out at the beginning of two decades of darkness and oppression in Ethiopia, and this is the first full reissue of this overlooked classic. Beauties is at once totally unique and an amalgamation of all that came before it during Ethiopia’s explosive two decades of creativity in the 60s and 70s. Fans of Ethio-jazz will hear Mulatu in the dark, minor-key piano runs, turning in on themselves on songs like “Amlak Abet Abet” and “Metche Neow.” Infinitely interlocking percussion and rock steady basslines are a signature of the Army Band, which also backed greats like Tlahoun Gesesse and Mahmoud Ahmed. Arranger Teshome Sisay is also an incredible flutist, playing with both sensitivity and swagger on tracks like the majestic “Ayinouma.” But the vocals are the most stunning part. Aselefech and Getenesh met at the legendary Hager Fikir Theatre in Addis, where centuries-old Ethiopian culture combined with the modern music of the capital’s elite. Trained in traditional music, their dual vocals lead in extremely close harmony, intertwined and infinitely creative in their phrasing. By the time this record was released, the Derg Regime was imposing strict crackdowns on music and artistic expression. Targeted as allies of the deposed Emperor Haille Selassie, the artists (and most musicians) had to keep a low profile. This is one of the last great releases of the Ethiopian Golden Era. Though she was never able to release a second record, Aselefech Ashine is proud of her work. From her home in Addis she says: “I have full confidence that this album will be popular and a hit when it is released again now!” We are proud to release this album in collaboration with Domino Sound in New Orleans and through direct license from the artists. Old-school “tip-on” jacket faithfully recreates the amazing original artwork, lyric translations, photos, and an interview with Ashine accompany."