The statuesque Aster Aweke really shines on her 23rd album, Checheho, the title of which represents a small town in Gonder, Ethiopia.
While the rhythms range from complex Ethiopian styles to smooth jazz-funk, Aster's voice displays a remarkable variety of modalities, from yearning to rapturous and from coaxing to celebratory. The songs - a mix of traditional Amharic tunes and Aweke's own compositions - are highly distinctive.
Aweke was born in Gondar, Ethiopia, some time between the late 50s and 1961, depending on which account you believe. She grew up in the capital city of Addis Ababa and began singing as a teen, working with several groups, most notably the Roha Band. As Ethiopia entered a period of unrest following the death of iconic leader Haile Selassie, Aweke left for the United States. She became increasingly popular within the Ethiopian community in the States, performing in restaurants and clubs, particularly in her adopted home of Washington, D.C., one of the largest Ethiopian expat communities in the country.
You will have fun listening her new album, "Checheho"!