Traditional Songs from Ethiopia
Vocal & Krar Chawatah (Lyre/Harp)
„Living for the Krar“
Martha Teferra Mekonnen plays a very special and rare type of Ethiopian music: the “Krar-Chawatah” (Krar playing).
The daughter of the famous pianist Teferra Mekonnen was born in Addis Abeba in 1972 where she visited the Yared Music School and studying Krar was part of her education.
From 2005 to 2009, she had a lot of concerts in front of a large audience in Addis Abeba.
Since June 2010, she is living in Berlin where she performed at the Karneval der Kulturen. In Cologne, she played at events of the DAESAV, German-Ethiopian Union of students and graduates.
Her big idol is the Ethiopian artist Asnaketch Worku who was the first woman and actress who performed on a theatre stage in Addis Abeba. Since then female characters had always been played by male actors. Later Asnaketch Worku mainly concentrated on Krar playing and died 2011. Till than (1970) female roles were acted always by male mimes.
The instrument Krar origin lies in the region of the Amhara and the Tigray. To European ears an amazing, mystic world of sounds emerges when you are listing to the Krar playing which uses four different scales with five tones respectively. The Krar player faces only one problem that for changing the scale the whole instrument needs to be tuned. In Ethiopia it is custom that during those so forced breaks the audience, while discussing the lyrics of the songs being sung at length, is served coffee, Tejj and Tlla.
The lyre of the Amhara and Tigray
6 strings, 4 scales: Tizita, Bati, Anchi, Hoye Lene and Ambassel
Tizita – the first of the four five-tone-scales
Tizita means to gain courage to live from past experiences. One could expect that in this form the lyrics dictate the tune.
Bati – the second of the four five-tone-scales
Bati is the sound of a place by the same name situated in the central Ethiopian highlands.
Anchi Hoye Lene – The third of the four five-tone-scales
Ambassel – The fourth of the four five-tone-scales
Ambassel is also the sound of another place in the central Ethiopian highlands by the same name.