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Samuel Yirga Audio CD

Price: £11.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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"Stacks up well to the music of Swinging Addis. Huge fluid as Keith Jarrett in Koln." ****- Downbeat magazine, spring 2013

Samuel Yirga's musical life so far has been full of obstacles: social restrictions, family regulations, hurdles thrown up by the reality of life. Yet in the face of all of this, the gifted young pianist who grew up in the capital of Ethiopia ... Read more in Amazon's Samuel Yirga Store

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Guzo + Addis Through The Looking Glass
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Abet Abet (Punt Mix)Samuel Yirga 5:13£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Tiwista (Tinish Mix)Samuel Yirga 5:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Firma Ena WereketSamuel Yirga 6:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Yeh Bati KoyitaSamuel Yirga 8:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Nou Se SoleilSamuel Yirga, The Creole Choir of Cuba0:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. I Am The Black Gold Of The SunSamuel Yirga, The Creole Choir of Cuba, Nicolette 5:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Dance With The LegendSamuel Yirga 4:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. My HeadSamuel Yirga 5:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Drop Me ThereSamuel Yirga 8:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. The Blues Of Wollo (Dessye Mix)Samuel Yirga 4:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. African Diaspora (Bonus Track)Samuel Yirga, Nicolette 6:43£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Debut solo album from Dub Colossus' Samuel Yirga inspired by his Ethiopian roots, American jazz (particularly Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock), Latin, and classical music. Features guest vocals from the Creole Choir of Cuba, Mel Gara, a British singer whose origins are in Iraq; and Nicolette, a Nigerian-British singer, famous for her collaborations with Massive Attack. Samuel Yirga knows a thing or two about determination and overcoming obstacles. As a child and teenager growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, all he dreamt about was becoming a musician. His parents were strictly against this and wanted him to study to become a doctor or engineer. When they forbid him to attend music school auditions his sister luckily helped him to sneak out. Aged 16 at the time, Samuel stepped into Addis Ababa's Yared School of Music for his auditions never having actually touched a musical instrument in his life. He managed to pass his entry exam regardless - with a coin tapping out rhythms on the top of a piano! Once he was admitted he picked the piano as his instrument to study - but the head of department took one look at his hands and said it wasn't possible. "She said my hands were too small," Samuel explains. But he persevered; he was determined that he was going to be the best pianist in Ethiopia. Despite still being in his 20s and only having left music school relatively recently, Samuel has developed at a pace, both as a player and a composer, remarkable for someone of his age. He has gone on to become one of Ethiopia's most promising young musicians and in recent years, Samuel has gained wider international recognition through his touring and recording with Ethio-fusion group Dub Colossus. 'Guzo', which means "journey" in Amharic, is Samuel's debut solo album (out on Real World Records on 9 July). Recorded partly in Addis Ababa and partly in the UK at Real World Studios, it is the product of his years experimenting with the music of his roots and the outside influences of American jazz (particularly Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock), Latin, and classical music. It explores the traditional musical history of Ethiopia, the more modern Ethiojazz that has brought his country's music to international attention, ventures into big-band brass ensembles, moves through soul and funk, and then simmers with the deeply impassioned solo piano tracks. Whilst the solo piano pieces are introspective and deeply felt, Samuel has enlisted some great singers and instrumentalists from Ethiopia, Europe and the Caribbean. Featured vocalists are the Creole Choir of Cuba, a Cuban choir whose songs go back to their Haitian roots; Mel Gara, a British singer whose origins are in Iraq; and Nicolette, a Nigerian-British singer, famous for her collaborations with Massive Attack. "His world is opening up," says Dubulah (aka Nick Page), the British musician and producer behind Transglobal Underground, Syriana and Dub Colossus and also producer of 'Guzo', "He's feeling his way around and this recording is a statement of where he's intending to go and what he has to offer. I think the result will surprise people." 'Guzo' is both bold and sensitive. It is the start of Samuel Yirga's musical journey and a platform to showcase the extraordinary skill as both musician and composer of this emerging young talent. The album's roots might be firmly in the Ethiojazz of Samuel's homeland, but this young man from Addis has opened up a whole new door on a musical genre and region.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional debut! 22 Nov 2012
By S Bazaar - Published on
Format:Audio CD
This is a stunning first album by such a young, shining talent! Wow. Samuel Yirga plays -- and composes -- with such nuance and subtlety, and his assortment of influences makes it a very interesting and varied album that hangs together so nicely because of his amazing ability. His cover of the psychedelic soul classic "I Am the Black Gold of the Sun" with the Creole Choir of Cuba on vocals is a shimmering delight.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Ethiopian jazz album 22 Nov 2012
By Stuart James - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
An exquistely balanced flow of the style that derives from the modern renaissance of Ethiopian music, abstracted into jazz without losing its distinctive characteristics. Similar to the way that Abdullah Ibrahim' s playing changed the piano into an instrument that expressed an African musical sensibility, Samuel Yirga has made the piano an Ethiopian instrument. There are some lovely melodies, and it is an album the rewards play after play. Masterful, with depth of beauty.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Colorful Palette of Samuel Yirga 29 May 2013
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A debut recording of an artist often consists of a variety of styles to demonstrate versatility and broad talent. This is both an asset and problem, since musical coherence in an album usually is a superior approach. Samuel Yirga, young and brilliant keyboardist, presents here pop arrangements and also jazz stylings of Ethiopian music. As a jazz fan, I prefer the Ethiopian melodies and riffs in modern jazz format, yet funky fusions and brassy percussive beats bring one delightful surprise after another. A large number of musicians in Ethiopian and the UK were involved in this project (25 plus a choir); mixing from both sites was done only for track 10. Track 4, Ye Bati Koyita, has Yirga playing solo piano; an entire album of such Keith Jarrett-like solo explorations would be wonderful. Someday perhaps. For me, this track sells the album. The two following pieces with the Creole Choir of Cuba provide a big band or cinematographic feeling. Dance with the Legend is another solo piano track of passionate Ethiopian scales. My Head may be a statement of all the musical forms that compete in Yirga's noggin: a stew of soul, funk, Latin, traditional Ethiopian, and jazz. The swirling is set aside with the third solo piano work -- a slow, quiet, and gentle meditation. The Ping-Pong alternation continues with The Blues of Wollo, which begins mysteriously with the Ethiopian messenqo bowed lute and features vocalist Genet Masrehsa. This track has an amazingly original sound that is traditional and jazzy with a touch of classical mood. Nicollete, who appeared earlier, sings the final track, African Diaaspora, a pop piece. Experienced in jazz, classical music, and African fusion, Yirga has a bright solo career before him
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite album I've heard all year! 4 Dec 2013
By limerick42 - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Music like this is the sonic equivalent of food. I'm a musician with pretty eclectic tastes, and I'm pretty choosy about what I listen to. This is my favorite thing I've heard all year. It's rich, well-crafted, musically interesting, unique, and fun to listen to, with multiple layers of musical flavor. Should I go on? I've already bought it as a Christmas present for another musician friend. If you're looking for something new to listen to, and you don't want it to sound like every single thing you've already heard, check this out! I'll be on the lookout for more albums by this artist.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 22 Feb 2014
By azquim - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of fusion, jazz or world music, check this album out right away.

Samuel Yirga is a fantastic pianist and composer, at times channeling Mulatu Astatke and Keith Jarrett but most often sounding exactly like himself. 'Guzo' covers a wide range of styles, from haunting piano solo pieces to more upbeat moments like 'My Head' or opener 'Abet Abet.' Strong rhythms are common throughout and there are a couple of fantastic vocal numbers, provided by guest singers.

Probably my favourite purchase from the year.
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