Check out the new Ethiopian Jewish Music Recording!

May 2014

Cover of Temesgen CDIf you enjoy world-Jewish music, check out the new CD, Temesgen (“Thanks to God” in Amharic) — the first-ever recording of worship songs from the Beta Avraham Jews of North Shewa, Ethiopia and their descendants in the Kechene neighborhood of Addis Ababa.

For generations, many of these songs were sung only in “secret synagogues”by members of this group who broke away from the Gondar-based Jews (known as “Beta Israel” — now largely in Israel) about 300 years ago. forced to live as hidden Jews like the Anousim of medieval Spain and Portugal, they practiced Christianity on the outside but preserved as many traditions as they could – especially their music – in private. Now, for the first time, these songs are available on a recording for the general public.

Many of the songs are hauntingly beautiful — try Senbet L’yuna (“Unique Sabbath”) and you can’t help but feel moved!

Led by Demeke ben Engida, all the singers are members of the community’s only open synagogue, which was started seven years ago.

You can get this album on amazon.com or iTunes, or listen to it on Spotify!

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