Mahmoud Ahmed, the legendary Ethiopian singers, will open the Duke Performances’ 2015-2016 concert season in Durham, North Carolina. The performance will take place on Thursday, September 10 at Reynolds Industries Theater (Duke University). Ahmed will perform with a 10-piece ensemble.
In the early 70s, Ethiopia experienced a golden age of popular music with the rise of “Ethio-jazz” — a mesmerizing blend of zigzagging modal melodies and diminished harmonies played against a funky six-beat groove. At the center of the scene was vocalist Mahmoud Ahmed, who has been hailed as “one of the most exhilarating singers of the past half century” (The New Yorker). Ahmed’s 1975 album Erè Mèla Mèla is a classic release from the golden age of Ethiopian music and was the first East African release from that era to be embraced by a broad Western audience.
In the late 90s, dozens of Ahmed’s recordings were reissued on the popular Éthiopiques compilations–four volumes featured Ahmed exclusively– and he became his country’s foremost musical ambassador. In concert, his enigmatic multi-octave voice “seizes on a note, brief or sustained, and makes its pitch tremble as it its urgency could barely be contained” (The New York Times). Count on Ahmed and his ace ten-piece band to open Duke Performances’ 2015/16 season on an exultant note.
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015
Time: 8:00 pm
Reynolds Industries Theater
Bryan University Center
125 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708