Segments in this Video

Ethiopian Music (08:19)


Songs in Ethiopia are sung in more than 80 languages. Most have rich histories in cultural traditions, such as honor family members.

Musical Traditions (07:02)

A blind washint player explains how his father craved the ancient instrument out of wood for him when he was a child. Dorze is a traditional music that has a difficult pitch and tone achieved through call and response. It can take villagers years to master.

Passing Down Traditions (04:32)

To keep traditions either in work or music alive, they are passed from parents to children. Families take pride in teaching the younger generations well.

Marching Bands (06:09)

A police officer points out Mahber Bahil Tigray, where he studied music and the saxophone. He used to play saxophone for the police marching band, but is now their conductor. Government and police marching bands and orchestras are long standing traditions in Ethiopia.

Kaffa and Music (05:34)

The origins of kaffa, or coffee, come from the Kaffa Province. Coffee is still grown in the area and traditional music is an important part of the culture for coffee growers.

Religious Music (03:59)

Numerous religions in Ethiopia use music for worship. Special songs and dances are used to celebrate Timket, the Orthodox Tewahedo celebration of Epiphany.

Work Songs (03:36)

Music is used to encourage workers in the field and special songs are reserved for harvest celebrations. The songs and dances are passed down through generations.

Preserving Culture (09:34)

Preserving culture is important in Ethiopia and the various cultures work hard to keep their traditions. In modern society, there is a struggle to stop foreign influences on traditional culture.

Traditional Instruments (03:51)

When fathers teach their children about music, knowledge of traditional instruments is important. Though modern instruments were brought to the country by foreigners, numerous traditional instruments are still used.

Cultural Festival (03:30)

Groups of musicians and dancers perform traditional songs at a cultural festival. An audience gathers in a soccer stadium to watch the performance.

The Masinko (07:35)

A masinko player taught himself after seeing others playing the traditional instrument. It has four main scales that are used in traditional music.

Varying Traditions (07:08)

The numerous cultures in Ethiopia can be seen in its music. An Islamic musical group performs in a mosque and a group performs a traditional dance to drums and singing in a village.

Modern Music (09:00)

Modern music using electric guitars and keyboards to make recordings is also popular. Like traditional music, it also has numerous singers who use call and response. Many traditional instruments have been lost and those that are still around are difficult to make.

Music's Place in Society (03:11)

Some traditional music styles can be played with a guitar. In addition to entertainment, music in Ethiopia is used for education, traditions, and sending a message.

Credits: Roaring Abyss (03:35)

Credits: Roaring Abyss

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Roaring Abyss

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Filmmaker Quino Piñero spent two years performing field recordings around every corner of Ethiopia in an effort to document the endangered traditional music of this diverse nation.

Length: 87 minutes

Item#: EDP168519

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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