How to describe a Meklit Hadero performance? Warm, bluesy upright bass; bright trumpet and saxophone. Elements of classic '60s folk by way of acoustic guitar, a lean toward R&B and soul, lyrics that blend personal and political, the intimate and the universal. The unmistakable influence of the music of Ethiopia — the singer's country of birth — shapes her music as it darts between genres. But what sucks you in, what keeps your eyes and ears locked on Meklit, what makes an unselfconscious Damn start to grow at the back of your mouth is her voice: Lilting, sensuous, capable of the leap from staccato jazz-cat to honeyed songbird, she conveys both fragility and great strength in a single line.
Meklit, who often goes by her first name, grew up in Washington DC, Iowa, Brooklyn, and Florida after her family moved to the US when she was just shy of two years old. Throughout the moves, she was always singing. "As a kid I saw two paths...[one] that led to a kind of cult of fame, which wasn't really my thing. The second path was a more academic approach to music, which I also didn't like," she says. "I was interested in music that engaged with the world around it, and artists who were cultural voices that mattered."
Waiting For Earthquakes Slow In Sleep Overgrown A Train Bring On the Night Kemekem (I Like Your Afro) [feat. Samuel Yirga] Far Away Stuck On the Moon Plume In Love With Love Rest Now We Are Alive