Ethiopia being labeled as a nation of warriors, most of the songs and the stories in the past revolved around patriotism. Whenever there is a mention of freedom-fighters, there were also great musicians in the background inspiring and lifting up their morale.
The musicians gave courage to the warriors before these went to the battle through shellela (traditional pep song). The first instrumental recording of the shellela was done by Getachew Mekuria, a veteran saxophone player. With the unforgettable stage performance, in his lion’s mane headgear, he takes the audience on a journey and tells the unique story of patriotism and heroism of fellow countrymen. Despite a negative attitude towards the musicians at the time, Getachew enrolled in the music career in1948. Many musicians describe him as “exceptional” with the ability to perform long hours on the stage. He is also perceived as someone innovative, as he brought back the old sounds into a new flavor. Through the years, he produced unforgettable works like Akale wube, shellela and others. Now shinning on the world stage, Getachew is touring the world with his sax and unique style of music. Inspired by his music, a French music group named their band after one of his songs “Akale wube”. Back from one of his big concerts in London, Tibebeselassie Tigabu of The Reporter takes a peek at his six decades of musical journey.