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Almaz Yèharèwa
by Gétatchèw Mèkurya
Gétatchèw Mèkurya (1935 to 2016) was an Ethiopian 'jazz' saxophonist. Gétatchèw Mèkurya was born on March 14th 1935, in Yifat, Ethiopia. He began his musical studies on traditional Ethiopian instruments such as the 'krar' and the 'masenqo', later moving on to the saxophone and clarinet. Upon reaching adolescence, he began his professional career in 1949 as a part of the 'Municipality Band' in Addis Ababa. In 1955, he joined the house band at the city's "Haile Selassie I Theatre", and in 1965 joined the famous 'Police Orchestra'. Mèkurya was also one of the first musicians to record an instrumental version of 'shellela', a genre of traditional Ethiopian vocal music sung by warriors before going into battle. He recorded an entire album in this style in 1970, called "Negus of Ethiopian Sax" and released on 'Philips Ethiopia'. He continued to work alongside many of the biggest orchestras in the Ethiopian capital, accompanying renowned singers Alemayehu Eshete, Hirut Beqele, and Ayalew Mesfin. His fame went international when his album was re-released as part of the "Ethiopiques" CD series. Mèkurya next became aware of the Dutch 'avant-garde'/'punk' band 'The Ex', and invited them to play with him, which they did from 2004 onwards. He also asked them to be the backing band for his 2006 album "Moa Anbessa". To support this release, they toured The Netherlands, Belgium and France together in 2006 and 2007, followed by the United States in 2008 and Canada in 2009. He also collaborated with numerous other contemporary artists, including British 'Tamil' singer Susheela Raman and the Boston 'jazz' ensemble 'Either/Orchestra'. In later years, he still regularly performed in the Sunset Bar at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa. Gétatchèw Mèkurya died in Addis Ababa on April 4th 2016, from a leg infection caused by diabetes. He was 81, and is survived by nine children (his wife Ayalech had died in 2015). http://www.tadias.com/04/05/2016/king-of-ethiopian-sax-getatchew-mekurya-passed-away-at-age-81/
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getatchew_Mekurya
Posted: 9th May 2016
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† REST IN PEACE †
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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