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Boomkat Product Review:
Tlahoun Gésséssé is widely regarded as the "Voice" of Ethiopia. Born in 1940, his singing and recording career began in the 1950's until his recent death earlier in 2009. As many followers of the Ethiopiques series will know, the incredible 17th installment is dedicated to Tlahoun, largely featuring arrangements by Mulatu Astatke and a selection of the country's finest ensembles. This record is essentially another "Best Of..", featuring a selection of tracks taken from the 60's & 70's golden period of Ethiopian music, when Tlahoun's tenor was recognised as the best around, playing to Haile Selassie I on numerous occasions. It's standard practice in any country for the most celebrated singers to receive backing from the best players they can offer and Tlahoun worked with the top musicians in Ethiopia. His powerful vocals are well matched by blazing funk, heartfelt soul and superb Ethiopian rhythms, that still sound as fiery and impassioned today as we can only imagine they did back then. The hot and hazy swing of 'Kulun Mankwalesh' or the steaming funk of 'Aykedashem Lebé' show Tlahoun's diversity and range perfectly and are worth the price of admission alone. If you dig any of the Ethiopiques series or Sublime Frequencies Group Doueh this is an absolute must. Essential Purchase!