View Full Version : Sheba Sound - Music from Ethiopia

10-01-2015, 12:19 PM
I wanted to draw people's attention to a project I'm doing with some friends about modern "tribal" music in Ethiopia. We've just launched our website at


and it has tons of clips, photos, text, interviews etc. etc. This is only a tiny part of the massive recording archive that Sheba Sound has built up over the last few years, and we'll be uploading more over the coming months along with some vinyl releases, an album and eventually a documentary. We'll also be promoting events in the UK and elsewhere so stay tuned for that.

For the dubwise-inclined among you we have a slew of dubs of these tunes mixed by Nick Manasseh, some of which will be seeing the light of day before long - here's a taster:


Anyway have a look around the site, there is plenty of surprising and remarkable musical material on it and it's going to keep growing...!

10-01-2015, 02:21 PM
I think I saw this on mixcloud.

11-01-2015, 09:32 PM
Looks really nice.

I have to ask: Why "tribal"? Oddly old fashioned terminology

11-01-2015, 09:45 PM
I hope you climbed to the top of Debre Damo looking for raer ethio grooves?

12-01-2015, 07:03 AM
Tribe is the word (in English) that Ethiopia generally uses to refer to its 85 different groups of inhabitants. It does sound odd/outdated contextually to us I agree. Is there a better word? We have discussed this and so far not found a better word to indicate the reality on the ground of what we are trying to indicate.

12-01-2015, 09:34 AM
I assumed you must have, Crofton, partly because you used quotes, but also as I know you are a serious and thoughtful soul!
I looked up what the Oromo folk call themselves and it looks more usual for them to be a people or nation
did you climb debre damo???

12-01-2015, 11:08 AM
"people(s)" would be a good choice I think, but there's no convenient adjective - I don't think "popular music" would really convey the full scope, although obviously to an extent it is popular music. The gist of it is that it is music outside the urbanised context of the country (i.e. Addis), which is popular/traditional/modern at the same time in specific locations and among specific groups. In the interviews the musicians speak quite a lot about their self-identity through music and how they represent themselves as peoples and so on and so forth so it's certainly a thing that they are conscious of and self-reflexive about.

I'm afraid I have not climbed debre damo...