So, this is what you might think of as a two-parter; two individual forces I want to shine a spotlight on for you. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gilles Peterson, allow me to introduce him.
Gilles has been a serious influence on my musical tastes since I was 14. I used to listen to his weekly show on Jazz FM back in England about three decades ago. Gilles started as a DJ with broad but very edgy tastes and has since created record labels of serious note; Acid Jazz, Talkin’ Loud and Brownswood Recordings. He’s a curator for the BBC and has released untold compilations of Electronic, Jazz, Funk, Brazilian, African, Cuban and other eclectic stylings. His latest compilations are the Brownswood Bubblers selections which he started 2006. He used these volumes to offer a platform for new emerging artists from the worldwide underground.
He has, to say the least, been a huge force of influence in the music industry over the last few decades. From working a pirate radio station way back in the eighties to inviting prestigious artists to jam down in the Brownswood basement, I couldn’t think of anyone with a better job and he does it with a deft touch. The Gilles Peterson Worldwide Premiere is his latest project, on which he showcases brand new worldwide talent.
Which brings me neatly to my second part; Gilles’ presents us with Endeguena Mulu a.k.a. Ethiopian Records, straight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This gentleman’s new EP In My Sleep releases tomorrow. This four-track gift is an onslaught of cut-up electronic beat madness with a deep Ethiopian flavour. Gilles individually presents the track Terraraw and I fell in love with it on the first listen, it just sucked me right in. I have since acquired the whole EP and it is well worth checking out. I have to tell you though, it demands volume. This is a hypnotising blend of traditional Ethiopian folk and electronica known as Ethiopiyawi, and Mulu is a forerunner of this new emerging style straight from the heart of Addis Ababa.
Mulu says of his music:
“It is important to break the cycle of tribal fetishism and ethnocentrism. It is not just people from the Western world who do this, people from my country do this, people from my continent do this. It is patronising and condescending to try to label artists in such a manner. Traditional music is not a thing of the past, it is very much alive.
There are contemporary artist who are still performing it as something they feel. Some are performing it as it used to be performed, keeping the things that have been passed down to them intact; others are trying to innovate, and both are pushing culture and tradition forward.
At the end of the day all music is traditional, new traditions , old traditions… I am sure we can all find better ways to label and categorise musicians from all over the world, other than putting them in ‘catch-all’ labels such as ‘World Music’. This term has no place in the world we live in.
It might have been created with the best of intentions, but it is not a representative and universal term. It segregates music, especially traditional music from anywhere in the world from the rest.”
Now, enjoy the brilliant Terraraw: