de JONG, Holly

MMus University of Melbourne 2011 Pages: 126

Continuity and change : some aspects of Ethiopian music in Australia

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This thesis considers the music of Amharic-speaking Ethiopian people living in Melbourne, Australia, in the early twentieth century. It examines continuity and change in the azmari (minstrel) tradition, as well as Ethiojazz and Ethiopian Orthodox Church music briefly, by presenting descriptions of music-making in these styles in Ethiopia, and in Australia after migration.
The political turmoil in Ethiopia during the Derg regime (1974-91) led to a number of key changes in musical traditions, including the reduction of popular musical performances in evenings due to the eighteen-year curfew imposed, leading to the presence of a new generation of musicians with limited knowledge of the fertile musical decades prior to the period of the Derg regime. In addition, during this period the government attempted to censor musical performances and recordings, and used musical lyrics as propaganda. Through this period of musical change, the Amharic poetic device featuring double meanings called semenna werq – ‘wax and gold’ – was used for subversive dialogue and resistance. ...

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