Review: Aster Aweke's Fikir

By Arefaynie Fantahun

July 17, 2006

Fiker (Love) is the name of a new music album by the renowned female artist, Aster Aweke. Fikir contains 14 tracks, out of which the lyrics of 12 of them were written by the artist herself. Aster also has co-authored a song with Sossina Tadesse,a poet with credit for much of Aster's all-time love songs. Nasser Hassan wrote the other song.

As opposed to the artist's chik-ka style in her last album, this one delivers a mélange of slow, reggae and funky dance beats. Of the 14 songs, Fikir, the name of the album, is perhaps the most club-friendly.

It is a musing on 'I am in love, a woe on to me' and features the artist's distinct timber with her best-known-for clear and smooth voice. The song is also sung with a girlish delicacy, so to speak.

And Adreggen is a plea to God for making the nation one, Sewenetie, a rebuke for a forgetful lover, and Azezo is nostalgia for village life. The song Emeye is a tribute to her mother. Some of the songs sound sort of recycling of her albums of the 7o's and 80's.

But the new production seems to have better rhythm and 'feels' than her previous one, according to Feleke Hailu, a lecturer at Yared Music School and one of the juries in the popular Ethiopian Idol.

"In one of her songs, Aster has used seven-voice scale, contrary to the five scales customary in Amharic music," he told The Daily Monitor, implying there was some sort of experimentation in Aster's new album.

He also said the album proves Aster's uncanny ability to shift from bright to dark tones, from higher to lower voice, allowing the listeners to feel a dozen different shades of each emotion.

In Yikerta, she busts in with an excellent solo, with great improvis. But from the character and arrangements in which the album is done, it can be said that it appeals to, and was meant, for the local rather than the international market, Feleke added.

Eyassu Negash, a college journalism instructor said of the album as one where no attempt was made to explore new and important issues. "The songs seem to me a rework of her past songs, and they are vague," Eyassu argued.

All the same, I think the album display's Aster's beautiful voice and talent many up coming artists can only dream about.

Source: The Daily Monitor