The traditional Amhartic music of Ethiopia is infused with influences of soul, jazz, R&B, Italian pop and Islamic-style vocals by the Ethio Stars. Formed in 1981 by members of two bands -- Dahlek and The Shabelle Band -- the Ethios Stars continue to play their infectuous dance music in the hotel clubs of their homeland. Led by saxophone player Shimeles Beyerie, The Ethio Stars have recorded prolifically with their cassettes selling well in Ethiopian music stores. According to Beyerie, "When we compose and play a new song, we sell it to a music store. Then, they distribute it to the whole country. I don't remember figures of our released cassettes. There are so many, I don't count them". The music of the Ethio Stars is based on four pentatonic scales -- tizita, anchi-hoye, ambasel and bari -- and usually set to a waltz-time rhythm known as chikchika, although a much faster rhythm is occassionally used.
The Ethio Stars' best known album, Amhartic Hit, was split with a more-modern group, The Tukul Band. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi