Minyeshu: “Proud to be Ethiopian”

Reading time 3 min.

Minyeshu’s second album, Dire Dawa, is an introduction into a colourful world. Rich with folkloric influences and modern tones, the album’s repertoire ensnares the listener with Minyeshu’s suave and warm voice. A fully accomplished artist in her own right, she captivates her audience with bewitching dance steps. In an interview with Afrik-news.com the young artist talks about her music, her culture and her beloved country, Ethiopia.

jpg_MinyeshuDiredawa-3cc24-1.jpg Minyeshu’s musical adventure started in Adis Ababa some years back. After successfully graduating from a training course at the National Theatre as a full fledged artist, she packed bag and baggage and hit European capitals with an incalculable dose of motivation.

Her first album titled Meba was released in 2002 and is a blend of traditional Ethiopian music with modern Western arrangements. Six years later, October 2008, she is back with an invitation to discover yet another dazzling album, Dire Dawa. Just like her village of birth, which also goes by the name Dire Dawa – between the Ethiopian capital, Adis Ababa, and Djibouti – the artist’s second opus is vivacious, colourful, energetic and refreshing.

Minyeshu talks about her influences, her wishes as well as her hopes. Interview.

Afrik: You sing and dance effortlessly. Is it pure talent or did you learn to do all that?:

Minyeshu: Well I guess it’s a bit of both. I won the Addis Ababa local competition so that was why I got a chance to learn and perform with the National Theatre. At the National Theatre we had to train everyday very hard….. so a lot of sweat has to go together with the talent

Afik: What do you really sing about? – Love, death, life, friendship…?

Minyeshu: It’s mostly all very personal and close, the things that happen all around me… Although a song like “Buna” is about coffe that coffe originates from Ethiopia… We as Ethiopians should be proud of that. It’s actually a song to encourage my people to believe in themselves.

Afrik: Your songs are a mix of traditional Ethiopian, African and Arabic music with some modern influences. What is your music genre? Is it an embodiment of the Ethiopia culture?

Minyeshu: With the National Theatre I grew up and learned all about the local tribal music and dances and that really won my heart, I love local music …it’s a very spiritual thing and makes me proud to be Ethiopian. It’s also where I start when I write new songs as my music is firmly rooted in traditional Ethiopian tribal music. The western aspect is a logical way to make this music accessible for other people… not on purpose but since we have Sudanese, Malinese, American and Dutch musicians in the group it just grew very naturally on us. We’re really a group, a family.

Afrik: With all these rich influences I am wondering what kind of music you listen to?

Minyeshu: I really enjoy American songwriter music a lot… they are very reflective and personal but I also love dance music in general. In a nutshell, I just love music. When I see and listen to flamenco my heart goes boom ! Brilliant music wow! I also enjoy Jaques Brel.

Afrik: Any plans for the future?

Order Dire Dawa, Me & My, 2008

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