Zion Roots Blame it on the new xenophobia, but lately "world music" has an unfortunately low profile in the U.S. This haunting German import is a new… Zion Roots Blame it on the new xenophobia, but lately "world music" has an unfortunately low profile in the U.S. This haunting German import is a new… 2003-12-09 Abyssinia Infinite
Review

Zion Roots (2003)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Dec 09, 2003; Lead Performance: Abyssinia Infinite

Blame it on the new xenophobia, but lately ''world music'' has an unfortunately low profile in the U.S. This haunting German import is a new project by Ethiopian expat Ejigayehu ''Gigi'' Shibabaw, whose 2001 CD ''Gigi'' -- and its dub remix follow-up, ''Illuminated Audio'' -- contained some exceptionally forward-thinking international music. While they colored the hypnotic grooves of Ethiopian pop with unusual jazz voicings and electronics, this is a folksy, nearly unplugged affair, with Shibabaw's trilling soul-queen phrases (sung mostly in Amharic) propelled by hand claps, hand drums, flute, sax, and kirar, a small traditional harp. But with cohort Bill Laswell coproducing, even rootsy arrangements have an otherworldly glow. MY ADDIS ABABA The 15-volume ''Ethiopiques'' series is a consistently dazzling (and often very funky) history of Ethiopian pop.

Originally posted Nov 21, 2003 Published in issue #738 Nov 21, 2003 Order article reprints
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