It’s a bit after you start listening to this unusual music that you realize it’s trance inducing. This is different from the more familiar “trance-like”, which this music is not. This trance sneaks up on you, takes you unawares. There’s a repetition of voice and rhythm that engenders this effect. The music itself has a definite middle eastern sound, yet it is heavily jazz-influenced. The Ibex band is tight! In Mahmoud Ahmed’s native Ethiopia, the form is called “eskuesta”, ecstasy.
To get the full flavor of how this music can affect you, check out this you tube rendition of Ere Mela Mela. Note the elderly Mahmoud Ahmed – he’s still got it. You can also find a very old one when he was much younger.