In 1985 the fact that no African artists were invited to perform at Live Aid barely caused a ripple. Twenty years later when Bob Geldof organised the Live 8 concerts he did have to answer questions about why so few African artists had been invited. Even Keith Richards was asking, “Where are the Africans?”  Much water had flowed under the bridge, and society’s attitudes toward racism and toward other cultures had moved on. Apartheid had ended in South Africa. The Rolling Stones themselves had performed in Johannesburg in 1995. More and more people in the West had been exposed to African music. The case of Ethiopia is illustrative of just how much perceptions can change. In 1985 Ethiopian music was almost unobtainable in the West. Twenty years later a vast body of work was commercially available: music that was critically acclaimed and which provided abundant evidence that Ethiopia had as rich and exciting a musical heritage as any country in Africa.
The person who unlocked the door to the Ethiopian treasure chest was what the Ethiopians call a Ferenj – a white man. Frenchman Francis Falceto was hooked on the music from the moment when a friend played him a Mahmoud Ahmed LP in 1984.
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