Tewolde Redda – Eritrea’s Guitar Pioneer


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A fascinating and engaging compilation of Tewolde Redda’s milestone singles for the Philips, Amha and Yared labels c. 1970-73, all responsible for revolutionising traditional Eritrean music with innovative use of amplified kirar, electric guitar and horns – as thoroughly outlined in the accompanying 6-page booklet.

It’s almost certain that – with few exceptions – you’ve never heard these tracks before, or even the sound of traditional Eritrean music, so it’s a real ear opener and education for a start, one which really gives a flavour of life in the now secretive and permanently war-footed East African country through its charmingly loping rhythms and intricate folk melodies, see-sawing between sombre and joyous with occasional, really beguiling turns of phrase that we’ve never really heard in any other style that’s crossed these pages.

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