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Archive for July, 2009

Recently, I got in touch with one of my childhood friends, after more than 20 years. While talking about many things, he mentioned to me that he had been to Ethiopia recently and had a wonderful time there. He also introduced me to modern Ethiopian popular music, which was melodious and wonderful.
 
Listening to it, reminded me of the old times when we lived in Ethiopia in the middle of Addis Ababa – of our home in a street filled with bars (there was one in the front of our apartment complex itself!), of the bar girl who was tall and beautiful, who befriended our family and whose favourite I was (I was later shocked when I discovered her profession), of a tall, friendly man who used to roam the street talking to everyone (his height was under dispute in our family – estimates varied from 7 feet to 20 feet!), of the coups that happened, when soldiers with stenguns used to knock at our door in the middle of the night and search our house, of handsome strangers who used to admire my sister and try to befriend her when we were on our way to school (they were all harmless, innocent admirers, of course), of my Ethiopian friend called Mamush (all young Ethiopian boys were called Mamush then) who said that he was always in fourth grade (he gave the same answer, when I was in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades!), of Tzigay, a dark and beautiful girl, who was another of my Ethiopian friends, with whom I used to play and fight every weekend, of the watchman of our housing complex and a good friend of mine, Assefa, who had the biggest biceps I have ever seen and who introduced me to ‘Thalla’, an Ethiopian drink which tasted like beer, of Injira and Shuro – the delicious Ethiopian national dish, of my street friends who used to roll old socks to the size of a football and then play a football game on the streets dribbling the makeshift football like Maradona (I was the worst player there – I could only admire them. How does one dribble a football made of socks?? It takes the likes of genius, which my street friends really were, to do that!), of our family friends Almaz, Nami and their mom who liked wearing Indian sarees (my mom used to lend them) and who used to lend me Tintin comics (that is how I discovered Tintin), of Amon, my Ethiopian friend, who started smoking when he was in 4th grade (I tried it too, but didn’t like it), and who had an Italian stepfather who had a World War II motorcycle (it was better than a Harley Davidson, an Enfield or any of the Japanese bikes!) which he used to oil and get ready once in a year and then ride it on the street with all the boys including me, cheering and running after him – those were wonderful days 🙂
 
Thought I will share the Ethiopian song, by singer Berhanu Tezera, that my friend sent me. It is there at :

 

 

Hope you enjoy listening to it.

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One of my friends introduced me to the music of a Russian singer called Vitas. I liked very much, his song called ‘Opera 2’. It is there at :

 

This is the live version and my favourite. It has Russian and Chinese subtitles too.
 
Another version of the song is there at :

 

This is the recorded version for the album.
 
It is notable for the way Vitas raises the pitch of his voice like an opera singer. The album version even shows glass shattering because of that.
 
Hope you enjoy listening to the song and watching the video. If you know a little bit of Chinese or Russian, you can try figuring out the meaning of the lyrics from the subtitles 🙂

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After a long time I was following Wimbledon, not by just reading the newspaper reports the next day, but by following the key matches live. Today was the women’s seminfinal day and the first match was between Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva. Serena was probably the favourite going into the match, but from my perspective as a tennis fan, there was little to choose, because I have admired the Williams sisters for years – for their accomplishments, for taking women’s tennis to a different level and for their grace under pressure – and out of the Russian girls Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva were my favourites. So I sat back with a cup of tea and a bowl of nuts to enjoy the match. (more…)

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