Tesfa Mariam Kidane - Tezeta [1969]

Truly one of the most powerfully calming pieces of music I've come across, "Tezeta" never fails to slip past the anxious noise that surrounds the soul and inject a sense of real peace that rapidly expands, engulfing the listener for six minutes that seem to go by in seconds.

Born in Eritrea, a country between Sudan and Ethiopia, Tesfa Mariam Kidane grew up listening to American radio broadcasts from Kagnew Station, a U.S. Army radio installation in the capitol of Asmara, and spent the 60's and early 70's playing saxophone in several Ethiopian bands, such as the All Star Band that backs him up here.

This track is arranged by Mulatu Astatke, and I've seen it credited to him in several places (which may be correct, I'm not entirely sure), but the magic of Kidane's saxophone and his interplay with Girma Béyéné's piano, lend me some comfort in leaving the credit with Tesfa.

The title of the piece, "Tezeta" translates to something akin to "nostalgia" but refers to an entire mode of music, more like how America uses "blues". Any survey of Ethiopian music will come up with several pieces that share the title, and many are treasures, but this one certainly holds a special place.

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