Moges Seyoum began his musical education in Ethiopia at the age of eight. He soon became an accomplished singer himself, and an expert in the various genres of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian chant, sacred dance, and associated instrumental practices.
- Ethiopian Orthodox Singing
- Arlington, VA
From the Brothers Burton
Taylor says: Most people who know me know that I am all but obsessed with Ethiopian music, and this is a rare chance for me to get my fix in person! For anyone familiar with the Ethiopiques series, this is a rare chance to see tradition in action, and witness the roots that gave way to such an amazing and diverse musical culture.
Scott says: This man is dedicated, and with all the secrets he’s willing to share about Ethiopian music, it’d be a shame to miss this stuff.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest of all Eastern Christianities. A defining characteristic of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the elaborate singing or chanting which takes place often for hours before the service. The son of an accomplished church musician, Moges Seyoum began his musical education in Ethiopia at the age of eight. He soon became an accomplished singer himself, and an expert in the various genres of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian chant, sacred dance, and associated instrumental practices. By the time he arrived in the United States in 1982, joining the quickly growing Ethiopian communities of Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, he could perform from memory the complete Ethiopian Psalter, as well as other liturgical books such as the Ethiopian Hymnary. In 2006, he recorded and published a collection of six CDs containing the most complicated musical sections for the annual liturgy. Moges is also an expert on the Ethiopian Christian notational system, the only indigenous system of music writing in Africa, which has 600 signs. He is viewed as the master of an elaborate style of movement of the prayer staff (takla), and is known as the only such practitioner living in the United States. Today, while holding down two jobs, he leads the performance of the musical liturgy at the Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church in Washington, DC, at services that are often attended by more than 2,000 worshipers. Moges has taught many members of the church the ancient songs of St. Yared, written in the 6th Century.