Samuel Yirga Opening Up

Samuel Yirga – Guzo
Samuel Yirga

Guzo (Real World Records CDRW190, 2012)

Real World Records’ A&R department certainly has the magic touch. The renowned British world music label is known for producing state of the art albums and discovering some of the best new international talent. Now is the turn for one of the finest pianists in the international jazz scene. Ethiopian musician Samuel Yirga is in his 20s, but he’s already demonstrated that he is a major force in jazz and world music alike.

The talented musician has already gained international recognition thanks to his participation in the excellent Ethio-fusion group Dub Colossus. Now, international audiences will be able to experience more of Samuel Yirga’s music. The folks at Real World Records have released Samuel’s debut solo album titled ‘Guzo ‘, which means “journey” in Amharic.

Guzo contains a primarily original compositions by Samuel Yirga, combining Ethio-jazz with Ethiopian traditional music, fusion and very interesting transcontinental collaborations with Grupo Vocal Desandann (the Creole Choir of Cuba) and singers Mel Gara (British singer whose origins are in Iraq) and Nicolette, a Nigerian-British singer, well-known for her collaborations with Massive Attack. Guzo was recorded partly in Addis Ababa and partly in the UK at Real World Studios.

His world is opening up,” says Dubulah (also known as Nick Page), the British musician and producer behind the groundbreaking Transglobal Underground, Syriana and Dub Colossus and also producer of ‘Guzo‘, “He’s feeling his way around and this recording is a statement of where he’s intending to go and what he has to offer. I think the result will surprise people.”

The lineup on the album includes Samuel Yirga on piano, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes and MIDI keyboards and whistlinhg; Missale Legesse on kebero; Endris Hassan on thiopian one-stringed fiddle called messenqo; Frew Mengiste on bass; Yonas Yimam on percussion; Genet Masresha on vocals; Tewodros Alula on trumpet; Yishak Dawit on trombone; Aklilu W. Yohannes on tenor saxophone; Ben Somers on saxophone, flute; Bernard O’Neill on double bass; The Creole Choir Of Cuba; Clark Tracey on drums; Dubulah on guitars, background vocals, programming; Feleke Hailu on tenor saxophone; Greg Freeman on hand percussion; Jonathan Radcliffe on trumpet and flugelhorn; Mel Gareh on vocals; Nicolette on vocals; Neil Waters on trumper and flugelhorn; Nick Van Gelder on drums and cuica; Paul Chivers on congas, percussion; Robert Dowell on trombone; Toby Mills on tambourine, handclaps, congas; Toby Milles on jembe; and Winston Blissett on bass.

Guzo presents a wide range of introspective and vibrant Ethio-rooted music styles composed and performed by one of the most talented emerging artists from Ethiopia.

Buy Guzo in Europe

Buy Guzo in North America

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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