This week’s music spotlight belongs to an amazingly talented Ethiopian singer named Etsegent Mekonnen. While I was writing the last article, I had YouTube set on autoplay and listening to a mix of Ethiopian and American music. The article I was writing took me back to a time where life was no walk in the park. Feeling a bit whimsical, I decided to listen to some Ethiopian gospel music to lift my mood. I went back to writing only to stop clicking on the keyboard the minute I heard the very same music I used to listen to in the midst of my hardest time.
Except, this song was being sung in Amharic, which is my native language from Ethiopia. Hillsong was once my blanket that gave me warmth and my gabi that gave me comfort when the cold ways of the world had me mired in hopelessness and distress. Songs like Hosanna and Cornerstone gave me hope for a future even as my present was clouded by ennui and sadness. You can then imagine my surprise when I heard these same songs that I used to listen to in English being sung in my native language Amharic.
I stopped all that I was doing in order to listen to Etsegenet singing these songs that were once my beacon during my darkest nights. She had dual challenges, to sing songs live and translate these songs in Amharic is a rare feat. Etsegenet not only succeeded, she soared. These same songs I used to listen to bracketed by tears of sorrow, I listened to in the comforts of my home with tears of happiness. I encourage everyone to pause for a minute and reflect on life. We all have these journeys we go through; let’s take a break from politics and listen to each others songs.
In the process, listen to the song that is all about us. Check out Etsegenet Mekonnen below and make sure to subscribe to her YouTube page HERE or by clicking on the subscribe icon below the videos. You can find a link to her pages below the video. This is the beauty of music; we don’t have to understand the words nor understand each others dialects in order to hear our songs. May this message be heard by more and more people and may the music of Etsegenet and the prayer that she is singing reach many more. This I pray too, may God protect us and watch over us all. This is the gift of music, fitting Etsegenet means gift in Amharic. Poetically beautiful. #GiftOfEtsegenet
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” ~ Psalms 30:5
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.