Ethiopian Gospel Music

Abraham Habte Selassie. Saint Yared and Ethiopian Ecclesiastical Music. Washington, D.C.: Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church, 1999.

Balisky, Lila W. Songs of Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Gabbiso: Singing with Understanding in Babylon, the Meantime, and Zion (American Society of Missiology Monograph Series, 37). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2018. [Google Books]

Charter, Vernon. “Contested Symbols: Music, Revolution, and Renewal in Ethiopian Protestant Churches,” EthnoDoxology 3 (2006): 1-13. [faculty page]

Damon-Guillot, Anne. “Toucher le cœur des schismatiques: Stratégies sonores et musicales des jésuites en Éthiopie, 1620-1630,” Le Jardin de Musique 6, no. 1 (2009): 65-99. [Online version; p. 127: English summary]

Ferran, Hugo. “Construction nationale et mouvements évangéliques: deux facteurs de professionnalisation musicale en Éthiopie (de 1860 à nos jours),” Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie 25 (2012): 75-92. [Online version]

Ferran, Hugo. “Chanter et dire l’identité. Les ambivalences identitaires des Maale évangéliques de 1960 à nos jours,” Journal des africanistes 84, no. 2 (2014): 124-136. [Online version]

Getachew Haile. The Different Collections of Nägś Hymns in Ethiopic Literature and Their Contributions (Oikonomia, 19). Erlangen: Lehrstuhl für Geschichte und Theologie des christlichen Ostens, 1983.

James, Wendy R. “Uduk Faith in a Five-Note Scale: Mission Music and the Spread of the Gospel,” in Vernacular Christianity: Essays in the Social Anthropology of Religion: Essays in the Social Anthropology of Religion Presented to Godfrey Lienhardt, eds. W. James and D.H. Johnson, p. 130-145. Oxford, New York: Lilian Barber Press, 1988. [SIM began mission work in the Sudanese border area in 1938]

Lee, Ralph, and Lila Balisky. “Ethiopian hymnody,” in Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, eds. : J.R. Watson and E. Hornby. Canterbury Press, 2015ff. [Online version only; subscription barrier]

Nilsson, Marianne. “Evangelical Hymns in Amarinya: The hymnbook Yegubaé Mezmurat, 1881 described and compared with the songbook Mrṯ Mezmurat 1, 1975,” Swedish Missiological Themes 91, no. 1 (2003): 81-172. [Online version]

Nilsson, Marianne. Melodies of Spiritual Songs from Ethiopia: A Consideration of the Tunes in Mert Mezmurat 1-6. Nordingrå (Sweden): Marianne Nilsson Bokförlag, 2019 [Purchase at]

Oden, Thomas C., with Curt Niccum, eds. The Songs of Africa: The Ethiopian Canticles. New Haven, CT: ICCS Press, 2017.

Peter, Burkhard. Kulturelle Identität und Religiöses Bekenntnis: Synkretismus bei den Hadiyya Südäthiopiens (Perspektiven der Weltmission, 27). Hamburg: Verlag an der Lottbek, 1999.

Shelemay, Kay Kaufman. “Zēmā: A Concept of Sacred Music in Ethiopia,” The World of Music 24, no. 3 (1982): 52-67. [Online version; subscription barrier]

Shelemay, Kay Kaufman, and Peter Jeffery, eds. Ethiopian Christian Liturgical Chant: An Anthology; vol. 1 (1993): General Introduction and Dictionaries of Notational Signs; vol. 2 (1994): Performance Practice and the Liturgical Portions; vol. 3 (1997): History of Ethiopian Chant (Recent Researches in the Oral Traditions of Music, 1-3). Madison, WI: A-R Editions. [Preview Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 (Google Books)]

Steinhovden, Jan Magne. “Mäzmur and Zäfän – within and beyond the Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia,” in Movements in Ethiopia, Ethiopia in Movement: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, vol. 1, eds. E. Ficquet, A. Hassen and T. Osmond, p. 299-314. Los Angeles, CA: CFEE, IEA and Tsehay Publishers, 2016. [Online version]

Tesfaye Gabbiso. In Those Days: Memoirs of Religious Persecution in Yirga Alem, Ethiopia. Tr. Minas Biruk. Addis Ababa: SIM Press, 2020. [Available from SIM Book Shop; Amh. original: Beziyan gize. Addis Ababa: Mulu Wongel Church, 2002 A.M. (2010 A.D.)]

Tibebe Eshete. “Evangelical Christians and Indirect Resistance to Religious Persecution in Ethiopia,” The Review of Faith & International Affairs 8, no. 1 (2010): 13-21. [Online version; see esp. 18ff, “Gospel Music as Resistance”]

Van de Loo, Joseph, with Bilow Kola. Guji Oromo Culture in Southern Ethiopia: Religious Capabilities in Rituals and Songs (Collectanea Instituti Anthropos, 39). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1991. [Pp. 291-331 contain Pentecostal songs; lyrics according to Robe Sheleta from Gosa Wotiye.]

Yonas Gorfe. Music and the Protestant Church in Ethiopia: The Controversy of Zefen and Mezmur. Transl. by Ephrem Endale and Yonas Gorfe. Addis Ababa: independently published, 2022. [Purchase at; Amharic original published in 2016]