Earlier in the week, a friend tipped me off about the haunting solo piano music of Ethiopian nun, Emahoy Segué-Maryam Guébrou. An album by her is Number 21 in the magnificent Ethiopiques series of re-issues from the Ethiopian golden age (and you can listen to it on Spotify or YouTube). Remarkable music from a composer with a very personal style. She’s 93 now and lives in a monastery in Jerusalem.
What a dramatic life she has led. As a young woman, during Mussolini’s invasion of her country, she was a POW on the island of Asinara, off the coast of Sardinia. That titbit led me an unexpected discovery. During the same period, The Emperor of Abyssinia, Haile Selassie spent four years in exile in Bath of all places from 1936- 40.
What a contrast! The charismatic, exotic East African patriarch and his enormous retinue must have made quite an impression in that sedate, stately, rather sleepy Georgian spa town. My first thought was that he chose Bath as he was a great fan of Jane Austen. The truth is more mundane. The British government, who were trying to stay on the right side of Il Duce, felt that it was » Continue Reading.