The Ethiopian harpist Alemu Aga in session as well as all the latest sounds from around the world with Lopa Kothari.
All the latest sounds from around the world with Lopa Kothari including the sublime sound of Alemu Aga's Ethiopian harp, in session. Called the "bèguèna" in Amharic, some believe the instrument to be a direct descendant of King David's harp
Alemu Aga was born in1950 in Entotta, near Addis Ababa and is an Ethiopian musician and singer and a master of the bèguèna (a ten-stringed member of the lute family, also known as "King David's Harp"). Alemu went on to become an acknowledged master of the instrument, first recorded in 1972 by Cynthia Tse Kimberlin for a major UNESCO collection, and performing and broadcasting around the world. In 1974, however, the Derg military junta came to power in Ethiopia; their anti-religious policies also included the banning of the harp from radio broadcasts, as well as the teaching of the instrument. As a result, Alemu Aga decided to open a souvenir shop in Addis Ababa's Piazza district.
For a time he played only in private, but the collapse of the Derg's régime led eventually to a change in state policy, and Alemu again began to teach and perform in public.