Unseen Worlds presents new recordings of solo piano pieces by Ethiopian composer Girma Yifrashewa, the first release of Yifrashewa's music outside of Africa. Born in Addis Ababa in 1967, Girma Yifrashewa is a worthy new torchbearer of African pianism. His highly personalized approach to the piano likens him to Ethiopian composer Emahoy Tsege Mariam, while his use of Ethiopian pentatonic scale within the Western Art Music format places his compositions in conversation with more academically minded work. Traditionally Ethiopian in melody, cinematic in vision, and deep in beauty, his compositions occupy a lyrical middle ground between classical and jazz that is supremely listenable yet defies easy classification.
Beginning his musical life at a young age with the traditional krar (influenced by Ethiopian folk legends like Kassa Tessema) Girma did not discover the piano until he was sixteen years old. He enrolled quickly thereafter in the Yared Music School, eventually earning a scholarship to study at the Sofia Conservatory in Bulgaria. Despite a short period as a refugee in Italy following communism's demise in Bulgaria and the consequent loss of his scholarship, Girma completed his conservatory training in Bulgaria gathered through charitable organizations in direct recognition of his talents. Following the passing of Ethiopian composer Ashenafi Kebede in 1998, Girma moved beyond his conservatory repertoire and began his career as a composer, penning the composition "The Shepherd With The Flute" - an homage to Kebede's most famous work, "The Shepherd Flutist." Since then, Yifrashewa has established himself a pre-eminent composer of Ethiopia, touring Africa and Europe extensively on cultural commissions. The emotional directness and unique quality of his work make it destined for wider popularity, still.
Linen CD wallet
Track annotations by Girma Yifrashewa
Edition of 600: 300 black vinyl, 300 colored vinyl
Your choice of the following formats:
MP3 - 320kbps
FLAC - 24/96, 16/44.1
ALAC - 24/96, 16/44.1
"a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence" - The New York Times
"Gorgeous solo piano studies from Ethiopia... along with a meditative take on jazz that recalls George Winston" - Uncut Magazine
"On his first US release, Love & Peace (Unseen Worlds), Yifrashewa comes off as a fluid hybrid of Erik Satie, Vince Guaraldi, and Matthew Shipp at his most restrained. The performances are tonally rich and subdued, with Yifrashewa's folksy melodies given alternating emphasis—grandiloquent and hushed." - Chicago Reader
"The newest release on Unseen Worlds is a breathtaking collection of solo piano pieces by Ethiopian composer Girma Yifrashewa, who crafts a unique blend of hauntingly melodic works that recall Erik Satie, Keith Jarrett, and Debussy, but filtered through the Ethiopian pentatonic scale, tipping its hat toward the worlds of both jazz and classical music simultaneously. Easily one of the year's most engrossing classical/ambient works, this is vital music by an incredibly gifted composer and musician. Absolute highest recommendation." - Other Music
"A thoroughly engaging set of five solo piano settings ... Adding to the recording's appeal, each of the pieces conveys a satisfying sense of completeness, and to his credit, Yifrashewa consistently opts for emotional directness" - Textura