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World Music CD Reviews Africa

SLEEPING IN THE MARKET: ETHIOPIAN MUSIC & SOUNDS FROM AMHARA

By Paula E. Kirman
Published September 27, 2005

Latitude Records

Sleeping In The Market is an example of field recordings at their finest.  Recorded by Yayehe Smon, this is a cultural examination of Ethiopia, specifically Amhara and Adid Abeba, through the sounds of the people. Smon was one of the Ethiopians who was airlifted out of the country during Operation Moses, an undertaking by Israel to get as many Ethiopian Jews out and resettled as possible approximately 20 years ago. For simple field recordings, the quality is astonishingly clear. There is a professional polish to the CD, with telltale signs of the informality of the recordings through coughs, sneezes and background noise. Many of the songs sound improvised and are acappella, or accompanied only with flute, percussion and what sounds like accordion and violin.  Some of the pieces to be found on Sleeping In The Market include a blind beggar performing a traditional song on flute, a group of children singing in the streets and songs about love and work. Sleeping In The Market is a triumph in ethnomusicology.