"Part mystery, part road novel, part philosophical enquiry, [this] is a dazzling journey to discover the meaning of music and its immense power over the human soul." – Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness and The Devil that Danced on the Water
"Unbury Our Dead With Song is not merely a literary and a musical masterpiece but an artistic triumph." – Zukiswa Wanner, author of The Madams and Men of the South
"If you are someone who is stirred by the sound of a song, or feel an ache in your heart over a farewell, and you enjoy a well-crafted and honest book – please put this one on your reading list."New African Magazine
"...the first time you heard a Tizita that was yours, you fell in love with it. You never forget your first love; you never forget your first Tizita."
In the heart of Nairobi, four musicians – The Diva, The Taliban Man, The Corporal and 70-year-old bartender Miriam – gather for a once in a lifetime competition, to see who can perform the best Tizita. In the audience is tabloid journalist John Thandi Manfredi, who is enthralled by their renditions of the Ethiopian blues.
Desperate to learn more, he follows the musicians back to Ethiopia, hoping to uncover the secret to this haunting music. Manfredi's search takes him from the idyllic Ethiopian countryside to vibrant juke joints and raucous parties in Addis Ababa, set to a soundtrack of stirring Tizita performances.
From the humble domesticity behind the Diva's glamorous façade, to the troubling question of the Corporal's military service past, Manfredi discovers that the many layers to this musical genre are reflected in the lives and secrets of its performers.
A love letter to beauty, music and the imagination, Unbury Our Dead with Song captures how it feels have an encounter with the sublime.
The tale of the Tizita is the essence which binds the story, but as you turn the pages, stratums of Africa are revealed in all their beauty, cruelty and hope. If you are someone who is stirred by the sound of a song, or feel an ache in your heart over a farewell, and you enjoy a well-crafted and honest book – please put this one on your reading list.
The New African