because sometimes only dusty vinyl will do…

Music please…

with 7 comments

First upload from my Yemeni trip – beautiful, sparse oud-led number. There’s not a lot of female vocal tracks that I came across, but this is melancholic and haunting. Will post more info about the artist and track info, as I do more research. Enjoy…

Yemen 1 by Chris Menist

This track is from the south, and isn’t unlike the wedding sounds I heard in the streets of Sana’a on my last day. Great percussion, and great call and response from the ladies!

Yemen 2 by Chris Menist

One of my fave tracks from the ‘Ethiopian Elvis’ Alemayehu Eshete. Great arrangement, great vocals, great everything!

Ney-Ney Woleba – Alemayehu Eshete by Chris Menist

‘Sout Tohama’ proved to be pretty reliable, and I picked up a few 7″s on this label. This was the pick for me – treacle slow, but it’s something about the yearning vocal that gets me. If anyone can shed any light on the subject matter, then please post comments.

Yemen 3 by Chris Menist

Gritty Yemeni blues – found 3 other tracks on this label, all in the same style. Some of the rawest tracks I picked up in Sana’a

Yemen 4 by Chris Menist

Another bad Alemayehu, this time on the ‘Amha’ label, run by Amha Eshete (no relation) who pioneered the independent Ethiopian music industry in the last days of Haile Selassie.

Bechayane Tegodahu – Alemayehu Eshete by Chris Menist


Written by cmoriginalpress

December 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Yemen

7 Responses

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  1. Really enjoyed browsing your blog, having never subscribed to one before. I have heard some of the tunes you play via Radio Zudrangma (as I met Nat a few years back via a mutual friend ‘Tom’ – Tuanthong Vaidyanond – in Bangkok and like to tune in for a bit of luuk thung…) I occasionally still work a bit in Bangkok and Khon Kaen. Now I’m more in London and Liverpool.

    Anyway, eventually thought I’d look you up having also heard your name mentioned on Radio 3 Late Junction re: Sounds of Siam. Weird to see you’ve been in Yemen where I also do some work. Could probably get some insight on the vocals you were asking about in this posts, when I go there later in the year.


    December 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    • Many thanks Ginge – much appreciated. Thanks for your comments. I’m hoping to head to Yemen again next month, but if you find out any info about the tracks/artists I’d be very interested to hear about it. Cheers and all the best for 2011.


      December 28, 2010 at 2:31 am

  2. […] Eshete, ed altri vecchi 45 giri del paese africano [OriginalPress365] Read Also Spostamento d'accentiAssante scopre GleeGli M-Bloggers vanno a convegnoSimon Reynolds: […]

  3. That last one is on Ethiopiques.


    February 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

  4. Greetings, Chris.

    I’d like to say that both “The Sound Of Wonder” as well as “Qat, Coffee & Qambus” are mind-blowing listening experiences, as perfect as records can be. Truly magically collected, presented and sequenced music.

    As I’m currently grooving on the red-hot “Qat, Coffee & Qambus”, I have a question on dating these recordings. On the liner notes you give a rough estimate of mid-1960’s to early 1970’s. Can you possibily be any more specific than that? I appreciate the fact that these singles just don’t come with release dates on them, but did you find out anything at all that would clarify this?

    This period was a time of great turmoil in Yemen regarding the ending of British rule on South Yemen in 1967 and the declaration of Marxist South Yemen in 1970. One would presume that under British rule the Yemeni singles would have been pressed in India or elsewhere in the British Empire, not Greece. And the sound on the records is very hard to place, as far as trying to date them by ear is concerned, the music might as well be from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s…

    Any input will be truly appreciated.

    With regards, Samuli.

    Samuli Koponen

    March 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    • Many thanks Samuli

      So glad to hear you’re into the music – thanks for getting in touch.

      Good questions you’ve asked too. Dating of the singles is approximate – very hard to place with complete accuracy. Much of the music was recorded in the north half of the country, hence no British input. Records were pressed in either Greece or Pakistan. Weird as this is, this must have been the most economically viable option – alot of the labels I picked up appear to be local, independent operations, with a couple even based in Saudi. Hope that helps a little, though I appreciate it’s still somewhat vague. Hopefully with more research, the picture becomes clearer!

      Cheers and all the best Chris


      March 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      • Many thanks for the reply, Chris.

        My initial thought is that as in many African countries the home-grown record industry has boomed immediately post-independence, it is possible that these records could well have been produced in the period between the South Yemenese independence from British rule in 1967 and the Marxist revolution in 1970, even though, as you mention, the record production, in fact, mainly took place up north,

        Here’s to further research.

        Regards, Samuli.

        Samuli Koponen

        March 22, 2012 at 7:41 am

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