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(April 2014) If you enjoy world-Jewish music, check out the new CD, Temesgen ("Thanks to God" in Amharic)! This is the first-time-ever recording of ten worship songs from the Beta Avraham Jews of North Shewa, Ethiopia and their descendents in the Kechene neighborhood of Addis Ababa.

Cover of Temesgen CD

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 Anusim of medieval Spain and Portugal, for generations they practiced Christianity on the outside but preserved as many traditions as they could — especially their music — in secret. Now, for the first time, these songs are available on a recording for the general public. Led by Demeke ben Engda, all the singers are members of the community’s only open synagogue, which was started seven years ago.

Many of the songs are hauntingly beautiful — try Senbet L’yuna (“Unique Sabbath”) and you can’t help but feel moved! You can get this album on amazon.com, iTunes, or Spotify. If you click here, you can read the album insert which has more information about the recording.

We hope you enjoy it! Share your thoughts on the album at www.facebook.com/kulanu - the singers and community members would love to know what you think!

Thanks to Lucy Steinitz for notifying us of this recording and sharing the album cover, insert, and links.

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