Samuel Yirga

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This article contains a Habesha name. This person is addressed by his given name, Samuel, and not as Yirga—the given name of his father.

Samuel Yirga is a young Ethiopian musician[1] and composer signed to the world music label Real World Records[2] owned by Peter Gabriel[3] the founder of WOMAD.[4]


His debut album, 'Guzo' means journey in Amharic (the official working language of Ethiopia). Samuel was accepted into music school in Addis Ababa in his 20's. He has gone on to become one of Ethiopia's most promising young musicians and composers and in recent years, and has gained wider international recognition through his touring and recording with Dub Colossus fusing traditional azmari music, ethio-jazz, dub, and reggae. Recorded partly in Addis Ababa and partly in the UK at Real World Studios[5] Samuel's influences are music of his roots and the outside influences of American jazz (particularly Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock), Latin, and classical music. It explores the traditional musical history of Ethiopia. On Guzo Samuel has enlisted instrumentalists from Ethiopia, Europe and the Caribbean.

Featured vocalists are the Creole Choir of Cuba,[6] a Cuban choir whose songs go back to their Haitian roots; Mel Gara, a British singer whose origins are in Iraq; and Nicolette, a Nigerian-British singer, famous for her collaborations with Massive Attack.

Guzo was produced by Dubulah (aka Nick Page), the British musician and producer behind Transglobal Underground, Syriana and Dub Colossus.

Samuel is also a member of a new Ethiopian Funk band called Nubian Arc.

"Incredible ... this album has absolutely blown my socks off!" Gilles Peterson - BBC 6 Music


Contributing artist


External links[edit]