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Aster Aweke has a new album
Have you noticed how quickly things change nowadays? Particularly good things? How quantity has taken over quality, and how style is replacing substance? And have you also noticed that we have gotten used to saying “the good old days” when refereeing to good memories from the past?
In the Ethiopian context, we have countless memories that we are so proud of, fond of, and unfortunately, will never experience again – because they happened in the good old days.
When it comes to contemporary Ethiopian music, we have had entertainers who have touched our hearts and made us able to enjoy the many aspects of life quite sentimentally and just beautifully.
Aster Aweke, as the most recognized female singer Ethiopia has ever produced, has given us pure and substantial entertainment over the years. She has given us wonderful memories, taught us what it means to love and be loved. She reminded us, time and again, album after album, that we have got to be proud to be Ethiopians and to have a culture like ours.
To her admirers, Aster is a blessing. And with the release of her 24th album on the eve of Ethiopia’s 2006 New Year, the blessing continues.
Aster was a huge part of what we refer to in Ethiopia as the good old days. And amazingly, she is still a huge part of our lives today.
She started signing in the mid 1970s and more than three decades and 23 albums later, Aster is still a musical force to be reckoned with.
Because of the quality of her songs and her longevity as the leading female artist in modern Ethiopia, Aster is particularly recognized, loved and admired for her timeless love songs.
When it comes to contemporary Ethiopian love songs, Aster is the unambiguous, unparalleled and supreme figurehead. She is either the only one or among the very few of Ethiopian singers who just gets it right.
In an album she named “I love you” spread across 12 songs and 69 minutes, the queen of Ethiopian love songs simply shines.
The substantial and meaningful lyrics and great rhythm of the songs coupled with Aster’s unique voice and style of delivery say that the Album is uniquely, unambiguously and predictably Aster’s.
The album has Aster written all over it.
Of the 12 songs, track number 7 is by far the touchiest and most beautifully sang. Hid Demo, it says – “go now!” in Amharic. It is a breakup song which narrates the painful journey of a couple who have come to a mutual realization that the love they once had and shared isn’t there anymore and it’s time to part.
Whether you had an experience like that or not, the song will no doubt make you feel the encounter of having to leave a lover that you are no longer in love with.
This is the only song in the album that Aster discusses about old love – track numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 are all about new found love and the excitement and the emotional roller coaster that comes with it. Singing about love is Aster’s territory and each one of these songs is once again a testament to her incomparable and enduring talent.
Part of what makes Ethiopia’s big national holiday’s like New Year’s and Christmas is brand new songs about the importance and excitement of these festivities. Such songs are traditionally released in the days leading up to the actual holidays and they are normally on everyone’s holiday shopping list.
Not only did Aster release her latest album on the eve of Ethiopia’s New Year, but she also had a reason as to why she did that: the album has a song about Ethiopian New Year festivities. Track number 11 is a beautiful traditional holiday song that features the sounds of the Ethiopian trumpet declaring the dawn of a New Year.
Track number 10 briefly details one of the many shortcomings of many people: untrustworthiness in relationships. In the song, Aster says she trusted a lover and her trust was betrayed and people inherently are treacherous. In a way, this song continues its message in track number 12, the last song of the album, in which Aster praises the timeless love of God and thanks Him for his unique way of mercy and dependable love.
In just 4 minutes and 39 seconds, Aster delivers a song almost band-less, relying on her powerful vocals in one of the brave attempts of song delivery by any Ethiopian singer to date. She has never done this before and if this was a running competition, Aster would be a champion who has just smashed another record – perhaps previously held by herself.
In this album, it is hard not to notice Aster’s admirable attempt to steer Ethiopian music back to its Ethiopian origins. At a time when the many young Ethiopian singers are regularly using reggae rhythms in their Ethiopian songs, Aster has chosen to go traditional Ethiopian and Eskista style – listen to songs number 1, 5, 8, 9 and 11.
Yes Aster was a great singer that was a household name in the 1970s, and yes she is now a veteran, but still a singer with her greatness intact in 2013.
Another example of Aster’s enduring presence is the fact that she is now on Facebook. In September 2013, she had more than 43, 000 likes.
If you like Aster, the least you can do is like her Faccebook page.
And if you would like to purchase her latest album, you can do so on iTunes Store.
Here is Aster’s new hit song that she is giving away on her Facebook page.
We give the album the following stars:
Befekir Kebede | Sunday, 29 September 2013
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