Haymanot Tesfa's official bio
Amharic singer & traditional krar player Haymanot Tesfa was born & raised in Ethiopia and now lives in England, and is emerging as a rising star on the world music scene.
Although her music is inspired by deep reflection on the dramatic ancient landscapes and meditative social & religious music of her Ethiopian roots, the sound of Haymanot’s voice is the true song of a free spirit, fearless and intensely experimental.
The songs Tezeta & Ambassel are the first recordings in a series of vibrant new interpretations of iconic traditional Ethiopian songs that will be released as her debut solo album CD later this year.
Haymanot performs solo & with her trio, and also with two London-based ensembles Mook & Newanderthal. Live performances include at WOMAD Charlton Park, Celebrating Sanctuary Southbank & Rich Mix, at Journeys Festival Leicester, Platforma Festival & Conference Leicester & Manchester, Talking Gigs Sheffield, and in front of the House of Commons at the recent Partners for Change Ethiopia event.
About her music:
Author & critic Catriona Troth comments:’Haymanot Tesfa’s range is extraordinary – at times deep and powerful, underpinning the rest of the music, and at times dancing across the top of it..her voice wraps itself around table after table, drawing them into her spell…people close their eyes, the better to listen and pick out the different strands of the music’
Haymanot herself says: ‘I remember it was in Manchester, after I played a gig a man said to me..’now I want to go home and sleep while having your voice with me. I don’t want any other distraction’.. I imagine he is carrying my voice somewhere in his brain and looking after it on his journey.
All my songs are in the Amharic language. Most of the time I sing in pentatonic scale. Songs like Tezeta and Ambassel are old and public songs which were played by many people.
When I sing these songs I always sing them differently depending on what I get from the musicians I play with and the whole atmosphere. I like to be free! So the way I sing is always new even if I’m playing on the same scale and using the same words. Sometimes I play something new which I don’t even remember when I leave the stage. I want to give my audiences the new me always. What makes me happy is that I know that I gave them something they can take with them. People tell me that my singing is therapeutic for them and they thank me for singing, but the truth is that I am also happy while I’m singing’