All Female Rock band on the Horizon
It is a dream that came true for Mistre Getahun, moving her sticks fast to bang the drums and rock in Janinites all-female rock band, the first and the only such band in the contemporary Ethiopian music industry.
When she dropped out of the Mathematics department of theAddisAbebaUniversityand joinedYaredMusicSchool, she was confident to realize the dream she had had since childhood. Unfortunately, after her graduation, she found herself teaching children in a primary school. She has moved on to another profession, which she does not want to be identified, but still unrelated to music.
“Unwanted journey,” she says.
Looking every opportunity to get in to the music sector, she exerted efforts a lot but unsuccessful.
“Even if I have the potential, it was very hard to get recognition in any of the bands in the city to play,” she remembers.
It was the same for Messeret Gezahegn, the band’s base guitarist. She was looking for any crack to inter to the music scenario and meet what she says is her destiny.
She graduate fromYaredMusicSchool, and started out as a DJ, went on to become a full time reporter at Fana Broadcast Corporate (FBC) as well as playing guitar at the band. Determination does a lot for Messeret.
“It has been eight years waiting for such a chance,” she says.
The band has now nine members, three vocalists, Emnet Gezahegn, Hermon Baraki, Melat Bogale; two lead guitarists, Betelehem Engda and Abaynesh Abach, a base guitarist, Messeret Gezahegn, Tegest Sime on the keyboard and Mistre Getahun on the drum. All of them come together six months ago under Jananites, formed by Addis Gessese to play Ethiopian music with rock flavour.
Addis Gessese has been in music since 1980, when he first saw his younger brothers perform on stage inChicago,USA. The brothers would later form the Dalol Band.He says that music has taken him fromChicagotoNew YorkandJamaica, where he was involved with Ziggy Marley and the Melody makers and Lauryn Hill.
He was involved with Ejigayehu Shobabaw (Jiji) and Tedy Afro. He had been manager of Tedy Afro for six years.
Coming back toEthiopiafour years ago, he started to move ahead forming his own bands.
“Each generation has its own sound, and I want to bring that out,” he says.
And the first band was Jano, formed 16 months ago. The band was formed of young men and a female, all new to the music industry.
This band has been rehearsing for several months in the same villa house where the new band, the Jananites, is rehearsing.
“Girls can rock too,” is the simple message that he wants to get across through the Jananites.
On Friday afternoon, October 26, 2012, the new band was performing their rehearsal at the villa located offChurchill Street, surrounded by old trees. With no audience to watch their performance, they rehearsed their own songs and other local and international songs like there was an audience in front of them.
“We feel like we have been a band for years,” says Emnet. “This is a great success story I have encountered. It is all about rock.
For Mistre and her friends, it looks like the moment they had been waiting for years has at last come.
“We waited for long time,” she says.
Yeshi Demelash, a singer and a one time Ethiopian Idol judge, compliments Mistre.
“They will soon be models for those who are at school,” she says.
The ladies are happy for the moment that they are rehearsing in private in a villa, instead of playing in clubs where there is a lot of partying.
The Jananites are the first all-female band for years, since the Wubit Band, of three ladies. Their style and power will be up for public judgement when they release their albums. Work on this album is to begin in two months.
By YETNEBERK TADELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER