Girma Yifrashewa - Love & Peace

Girma Yifrashewa— Love & Peace

Unseen Worlds, 2014

Girma Yifrashewa’s first release outside of Africa, Love & Peace is made up of five solo piano works that strike a balance between Ethiopian folk, Jazz, and Western Classical music. These pieces are beautifully delicate and intricately conceived, all influenced by the composer’s life in Ethiopia. Yifrashewa provides a little explanatory epigraph for each work as part of the liner notes — definitely worth reading, since they contextualize the tracks within the Ethiopian musical landscape.

RIYD: Keith Jarrett, Max Richter, virtuosic solo piano


1. The Shepherd With The Flute — ●●●●● Super delicate piano textures, easy n slow with some nice flourishes and ornamentation. Influenced by Ashenafi Kebede’s “The Shepherd Flutist.”

2. Chewata — ●●●●● From liner notes: “Chewata means fun times, friends gathered round the table and exchanging their views on a story which made them all very sad.”

3. Elilta — ●●●●● “Elilta is the fascinating vocal custom through which Ehtiopians express their deepest joy.” Feels to me like a happily-ever-after.

4. Sememen — ●●●● “Sememen means half asleep, half awake, half dead, half alive.” No idea how to decipher this, but the music is haunting and ethereal.

5. Ambassel — ●●●●● “Ambassel is the mountain in the northern part of Ethiopia (Wollo), the name also given to one of the four scales (modes) of Ethiopian music.” It’s a peaceful work, tranquil; you see mountain landscapes and alpine flowers.

Will Gottsegen