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Ethiopia’s Magical Music Culture: Documentary on Music, Religion and Ancient Tradition of Lalibela

By wocomoCULTURE

A fascinating glimpse of the music culture and ancient traditions of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christian culture – where music, religion and everyday life are bound closely together.

In the documentary “And David Danced: The Magical Music of Ethiopia”, the filmmakers capture their impressions of music festivities, rituals and ceremonies stamped with Ethiopia’s links to far older civilizations than that of the Christianity it has embraced, to the Jerusalem of King Solomon and the Egypt of the Pharaohs. 

The musical journey begins in the medieval settlement of Lalibela at the time of Timkat, the greatest ceremony of the year. Lalibela is a place surrounded by myths. It is the site of eleven rock-hewn churches, built in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century, often ranked among the wonders of the world. Here the liturgies are celebrated in the same ceremonies that were performed thousands of years ago. At the end of the celebrations, a daptara, one of the learned shamans of the priest caste, sets off to visit other holy places and to give healing and comfort to those in need.

The first stop is a village where a young, childless couple seeks help. Rituals, including an exorcism, the sacrifice of a sheep, and the recitation of magic poems, are carried out. The film captures fragments of life, telling its own story of rituals, festivities, people and beautiful landscapes. 

Original title – And David Danced

Directed by Gernot Friedel (1998)

Musicians: Afememiar Alebachew, Yilak Mezgebu, Yilak Alemu, Kindanu Derebew, Binyam Belachew, Afework Negusu, Shewaye Wondifraw, Sheshi Negussie

Video : embedded from wocomoCULTURE Youtube channel
Cover photo : screenshot from the video



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