CARNEGIE HALL DEBUT ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22 AT 8:00 PM
|On Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 p.m., Carnegie Hall presents African music icon Mahmoud Ahmed in his first solo performance in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Celebrated for his richly textured vocal power, Ahmed performs traditional Amharic music from his homeland in Ethiopia, masterfully blending African pop and jazz styles for an ear-opening, one-of-kind musical experience.
Ahmed was at the forefront of Ethiopian music’s golden era in the 1960s and 1970s and is still one the country’s most eminent musicians. His body of work—including landmark recordings like Almaz, Alemye, Ere Mela Mela, and Tezeta re-released on éthiopiques series—have become an essential benchmark of Ethiopia’s musical history and cultural heritage, earning him the prestigious BBC World Music Award in 2007.
About the Artist
Ahmed has been a star in Ethiopia since the day he began performing. His swooping vocals with his multi-octave voice, complemented by the freewheeling jazz of the Ibex Band (with whom he recorded his masterpiece, Ere Mela Mela), are very different from what is normally lumped into the broad category of Afro-pop. The rhythms are repetitive and intense, similar to Fela Kuti’s, but a little less hard. But Ahmed’s voice—swirling high notes that sound as if they’re chasing one another, impeccable tone and phrasing—is the distinguishing element. By singing in this style, Ahmed has attempted to fuse the past and present. He’s not an elitist when it comes to singing older Ethiopian music, but he hears the similarities in Ethiopian pop that have thrived over time and is keen to bring them together.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Image at top of release by Adrian Boot