Every generation has a talent so prodigious that they define the essence of their era. Such is the melodic timbre of Zeritu Kebede who is to Ethiopian music what Lauryn Hill was to rhythm and blues. Of course I am biased, I have been listening to Zeritu for close to two decades now and throughout that time she has kept redefining herself in ways that challenges conventions and pushes all who followe her work to broaden our perspective.
I first started listening to her during my heartbreak phase; a song she sang titled “Sinibit”, which means goodbye in Amharic, was both my balm and my crucible. At times I would listen to her belt that ballad and I felt as though I was the one saying avoir while other times I would take in her croon and be choked up knowing that I was the one being dismissed. There are some songs that sing to your wounds, there are others that take you on a ride and give you multiple dimensions of hurts that purify you each time you press play.
An introduction to Zeritu’s music through crushing grief that led me on a journey of discovery; the more I listened to her, the more I felt enchanted by her soulful renditions. She transformed from my sorrowful anthem to my soundtrack of inspiration. I could tell by her presence and the persona she exuded on stage that her life was full of the bitter fruits peddled by hardship and consumed by artists who seek above all else to turn their anguish into meaning. The ones who are given the most adversity are the ones who have the ability to transform pain into paint strokes; with each distress, creative souls transmute their ennui into sinew that pushes them forward...continued...
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Brilliant article! Thanks for sharing. I saw her live a couple times about a decade ago. She's one of my favorite singers.