Seifu on EBS - Interview with former Idol judge Feleke Hailu part 2. When it came time to record, Page admits he had no master plan - "I made it up as I went along" - although he did envisage the resulting music would be a mix of the "golden age" of Ethiopian music from the early 60s to early 70s, some jazz, and the 70s dub and reggae style similar to that of his favorite band The Abyssinians.
Harper and Page recruited local musicians for the project, including saxophonist Feleke Hailu, and singers Tsedenia Gebremarkos (a pop star in Ethiopia), and Sintayehu "Mimi" Zenebe (a night club owner in Addis who is also known as the Ethiopian Edith Piaf).
Hailu especially has a lot of respect in his home country because his father used to be the main trumpet player for Ethiopian great Mahmoud Ahmed, who also plays Womad this year.
Page recorded at Harper's home studio out the back of his house. He calls these rough-and-ready sessions "urban field recordings" because the songs are riddled with many environmental and background noises.
"There were people washing clothes, kids playing, dogs barking and cats chasing rats under the roof while we were recording," he laughs. From there he took the tapes back to the swanky recording studios of Peter Gabriel's Real World label in Britain and brought many of the Ethiopian musicians to London to finish off the songs.