WOMEX Award to the creator of “Ethiopiques”

WOMEX (the World Music Expo), which organizes and hosts the largest annual world music conference each fall today announced that the 2011 Professional Excellence Award has been given to Francis Falceto, the originator and curator of the great Ethiopiques CD series and “the music of Ethiopia’s greatest champion”.

Some excerpts from the press release:

Falceto has single-handedly brought Ethiopian music to the forefront of world music consciousness. In addition to the CD series that now numbers 27 volumes, he has organized concerts and tours, an annual festival in Addis Ababa, published the book “Abyssinie Swing”, created a documentary film of the same name and brought Western musicians intrigued by the music to Ethiopia.


If Falceto’s work was limited to the curation of this brilliant series of discs, that alone would be a claim to fame and to our respect. But, much as he adores the legacy of those Golden Years, it is the living music that is most important to him. The brilliant orchestras that we hear on those Golden Era recordings have evaporated and few young musicians have emerged to take their place; drum machines and synthesizers are everywhere. Francis’ work in building a road out of this cultural dead-end street is perhaps his most important accomplishment. Aware of the impact Ethiopiques was having on musicians in Europe and North America, he has worked tirelessly to bring groups such as the Either/Orchestra, Le Tigre des Platanes, X, and the Imperial Tiger Orchestra to Addis to take part in festivals and to work with local singers and musicians. Ethiopians are astonished and stimulated by the fluency of these foreigners in performing their complex music.


For more information, check out:

Buda Records (Ethiopiques label)
Very Best of Ethiopiques compilation (extensive audio available)

Interviews with Falceto:
Afropop Interview Part I
Afropop Interview Part II

Francis Falceto on the Artist Gigi & Ethiopian music

NPR radio