Capital: Addis Ababa
Official Language: Afan Oromo, Afar, Somali, Tigrinya, English
Location: The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a landlocked country in eastern Africa; it has a long frontier with Somalia in the Somali peninsula portion of the Horn of Africa.
Area: 1,133,380 sq km (437,600 sq miles).
Current Population: 100,829,000
Climate: Ethiopia lies within the tropics but the wide range of altitude produces considerable variations in temperature conditions, which are reflected in the traditional zones of the dega (the temperate plateaux), the kolla (hot lowlands) and the intermediate frost-free zone of the woina dega. A main rainy season covers most of the country during June–August, when moist equatorial air is drawn in from the south and west.
Money: Ethiopian birr
Main Religion: The Ethiopian Orthodox (Tewahido) Church.
Music has played an important role in Ethiopian life, in a variety of locales and social contexts, past and present. Since music is so often embedded in distinctive rituals and life cycle events, ethnic boundaries reinforce and emphasize the emergence of regional musical styles. The hierarchical nature of historical Ethiopian society had a powerful impact on the social organization of music, particularly in the highlands, where patronage played a critical role in perpetuating most musical traditions, sacred or secular.
The dabtarā is a non-ordained church musician who trains in church schools for 15–20 years. Each dabtarā masters the zēmā sacred musical system and learns the melekket system of church musical notation while performing the liturgy as an oral tradition. Most dabtarā specialize, one becoming an authority on singing the music of the deggwā (hymnary), another being an expert in aqqwāqwām (liturgical dance).
The azmāri is usually a male professional musician who sings and accompanies himself on a masēnqo (one-string lute) at the behest of patrons, whether in the historical court, in ṭej bēts (local taverns), at weddings and festivals associated with the church calendar, in contemporary urban hotels or on the radio. In the past, the azmāri played an important role as a social critic, improvising sophisticated texts of praise or criticism. The azmāri is closely associated with the rousing shillēlā song genre. The subcategories of shillēlā are described by Kebede (1971): the fukerā praises the achievements of a great warrior while denigrating enemies; the kerera inspires a warrior in battle; and the fanno memorializes a dead hero.
The lālibēlā are a hereditary caste of singers who carry the stigma of leprosy. Lālibēlā improvise songs of praise in exchange for food and alms outside the homes of wealthy urban Ethiopians during early morning hours. The lālibēlā are associated with several types of song, including strophic songs performed at weddings (māsse and awello). Some lālibēlā also compose and perform songs sung at tazkār, a memorial service.
(3): Country Profile (Ethiopia), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 08 July 2021 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/et.is.1
(4): Shelemay, K., & Kimberlin, C. Ethiopia, Federal Democratic Republic of. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 12 Jul. 2021, from https://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/grovemusic/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-0000042063.