1961 – ETHIOPIA
Aster Aweke is often called “Africa’s Aretha Franklin” and has in the past few years been based in America. She was born in Ethiopia into the family of a well-to-do government official. In the mid 1970s the young Aster began to orientate herself with the music of her homeland, and sang with several local groups until 1977. She was backed by one of the leading figures in the world of Ethiopian music, Ali Tango, not least financially. Aster Aweke began to sing with the established group, Roha Band, but broke up with them after a short time when Ethiopia was thrown into political and economic chaos at the time of the revolution. After a few years of traveling around she settled down in Washington, USA. Aster Aweke is a very competent vocalist who sings in an American-influenced style but who nevertheless has preserved an undiscovered core of Africa.
Aster Aweke must be heard!
KABU Triple Earth/1991
Aster Aweke has an international sound and a backing band with a rhythm section and brass instruments, together with keyboard. This album is a blend of traditional songs with modern arrangements and Aweke’s own songs. Despite the modern backing, Aster Aweke resembles a traditional African singer, to this listener, anyway. She underlines the rhythm rather than the melody. It sounds rather funky, Aweke’s formidable voice sitting above the backing like another instrument. Modern and traditional at the same time. She succeeds best on the gentle, easy tracks as for example the traditional “Bati”, that also includes a flugelhorn, and not least the title track that alone is worth the price of the album. Good lyrics in English accompany the album.