Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Ethiopian Gospel Singer Muluken Melesse and former songwriter and drummer passed away.

Ethiopian Gospel Singer Muluken Melesse passed away

Biography of Muluken Melesse

Muluken Melesse (Amharic: ሙሉቀን መለሰ, 1954 – 9 April 2024) was an Ethiopian singer and drummer. He later abandoned his music career to involve himself in the Pentecostal Church.

Muluken was born in Gojjam, a province in northern Ethiopia now a Zonal Administration in the Amhara regional state. When he was six, he moved to Addis Ababa with his uncle. In 1966, aged 12, he began his musical career singing at night clubs and in groups founded by night club owners, with his first song to be performed on stage, Enate Sitewoldgne Metchi Amakerchign.

His first song on vinyl was Hedetch Alu, which was recorded in 1972 by Girma Bèyènè (piano and arrangements), Tesfa Mariam Kidane (tenor sax), Tekle Adhanonm (guitar), Fekade Amde Meskel (bass), Tesfay Mekonnen (drums) and Melesse himself. In 1975, he recorded his second song, “Wetetie Mare and Ete Endenesh Gedawo”, with Equator Band. While the rest of the band emigrated to the United States of America, Muluken remained to join the Pentecostal Church in the 1980s, having ended his musical career.

While he remained one of the best voices of the Ethiopian 1970s, unlike other performers of the time, Muluken never seems to have been taped by the official state television.

Sometime in the early 1980s Muluken became a born-again Christian, mostly associated with the Ethiopian Evangelical movement.

Muluken was supposedly repeatedly approached to return to his secular music roots but his refusal has, as of June 2023, been steadfast. Recently he has had some interviews where he decried he was misquoted by magazine editors in Ethiopia. He came out on EBS TV to set the record straight.

Muluken was married and resided in Washington D.C. metropolitan area. He ministered by traveling all over the world. Famous songs by Melesse include “Menew Kerefede”, “Yeregeme Lebe”, “Lebo Ney”, “Kumetish Loga New”, “Wedijesh Nebere” and “Tenesh Kelbe Lay”. His song “Nanu Nanu Ney” was an old favorite.

One of Muluken’s qualities as a musician was to work on the lyrics given to him by the songwriters. He never took every word as was presented to him. He changed a lot of the writing to suit his style, sometimes to the point that he seems to have co-written the music. He was lucky that most of the writers understood him to consent to his whims. Tesfaye Lemessa and Alemtsehay Wodajo are among the most celebrated song writers whose work he performed.

Melesse died on 9 April 2024, at the age of 70.

Source: Wikipedia

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