Beraki, Tsehaytu – “Selam” – [Terp Records]
This is not revolutionary music – it is the music of a revolution. When the people of Eritrea fought for, and ultimately won, independence from Ethiopa, the songs of Tsehaytu Beraki were part of the struggle. Although she eventually fled, shrapnel-damaged, to Rotterdam, she and Eritrea were inseparable. Rediscovered by Terrie Ex (of The Ex), who built her a new krar, the traditional five stringed lyre-guitar of the region, she began for the first time to record her music after a lifetime of playing and writing. This double-CD set is the result. The music is warm and intoxicating, and the krar often sounds like several instruments instead of one. The songs have a timeless, haunting quality, and although the range of style is not large, the sound does not wear thin. Read the booklet for a fascinating background, plus translations of all the tracks.