Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dereje Kebede, Volume 9

By Fikru Helebo

After a hiatus of more than a decade, Dr. Dereje Kebede, the preeminent Ethiopian Christian singer/songwriter of our time, has put out his long awaited latest album Ye-Aadnaquote Qen Le-Egziabhare (A Day of Praise to God) this past summer. The album contains 11 tracks with thought provoking lyrics. Two of the tracks are a timely and necessary admonishment to materialistic church leaders who abuse their trust. With the exception of one track, I do think that all the songs in this album have original sound and their melody is infectious. Here is a sample of my favorite track from this CD which is titled Egziabhare Yetaal Lemin Tilegnaleh (Why do You Say There is No God?):

If you are not familiar with Dereje's songs, give him a try. I am sure you will enjoy his songs. Here is a track from his last album (vol. 8) titled Yibeqanaal Mezenatelu (Enough with Tearing One Another Apart) where Dereje exhorts about the ills of ethnic division:

You can find the lyrics for his latest album by clicking on the album cover picture at the top. You can also find my two previous postings on Dereje's songs here and here. Enjoy!

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Unknown said...

Ato. Fikru Helebo, please stop preaching about pente

enset said...


Sorry you felt preached to. I did not mean to offend you. But, I feel that Dereje addresses some of the most important issues that our troubled homeland is grappling with better than most of the singers out there and I feel that my readers would do well to listen to his songs, preaching or not.


Ephrem Madebo said...


I beg you to be open minded and accept good ideas where ever they come from. Good ideas are important to all of us more than the their source.

Getnet said...

Hi Fikru,

Not necessarily a strict protestant Christian but I grew up listening to Dereje Kebede and his marvellous songs. By the time I was ten, I had already agreed with myself that Dereje Kebede, Ali Birra and Alemayehu Eshette were the most original musicians in Ethiopia.

Dereje’s songs are not only timeless but most importantly, as you said, thought provoking. Listen to his first few albums again, produced decades ago when the Ethiopian music scene (both Christian & non-Christian music) was in its infancy (some people would disagree with this, citing the 60s) and you can truly appreciate his gift. His lyrics are always sharp, pictorial, and of course though provoking. He is also a very good story-teller. His voice is unparalleled by anyone. I have yet to hear anyone sing with such twisting and turning, rising and falling, trickling and flooding voice. The melodies are always breathtaking and original; some are simple and soothing, others are complex and jam-packed with multiple pieces. His is the truest of true callings. He was the pioneer of Christian music in Ethiopia. With that MasinQo he spread the gospel and at the same time tormented the authorities who denied the very existence of God. Then, with the guitar, he spoke to the youth of Addis Ababa and other cities and towns. He reached millions with his message. And throughout the years he did his best to ensure that the message was by far the most important than the messenger.

I am yet to listen to his latest album. His last album was brilliant, modern, and very different, where he utilised the latest music technologically to create those tracks filled with amazing vocal gymnastics. Ali Birra and Alemayehu Eshette have faded but, I told you, this man (probably in his 50s now) is still ahead of his time.

Thank you for the lyrics you posted.


enset said...

Hi Getnet,

It looks like you and I have similar taste in music. Ali Birra and Alemayehu Eshete both are at the top of my list for my favorite Ethiopian musicians. Of course, Dereje comes at the top for me, not only because of singing prowess, but also his gift for writing and composing music. I just wish he collaborated with other musicians like the guys from the Toronto church in this video. It would also be nice if he could give couple of concerts a year so that more people can get to appreciate his talents.


Unknown said...

I am not against any religion especially Pente, I respect Ato. Ephrem Mdebo and follow he’s writing and speech. Some times he tends to push his religion to his audience (may be I am wrong). I personally go to church every Sunday (I am orthodox Christina). At the same time I now many Ethiopian who are Muslim but respect Ato Ephrem political view or stand and I feel it is wrong advertising any realign. Don’t take me wrong, I respect any one who practices any religion. I fell, as a public person (representing Ginbot7) Ato. Ephrem shouldn’t push any religion.