Singer Dawit Alemayehu with Fegegita react

Ethiopia has a long-standing oral history of music that dates back centuries. Microtonal scales and simple melodies depict the struggles of the nation’s turbulent past. Ethiopian popular music has changed tremendously over the years, losing some of the more obnoxious characteristics of the ancient songs while preserving a significant place in the hearts of ordinary Ethiopians. The Ethiopian highlands, where the powerful oral-literary tradition was born, are where the country’s music can be traced back to. The majority of the traditional musicians in this region are azmaris, or traveling musicians, and they are respected members of their community. Depending on the regional customs, culture, and religion, this type of music adopted elements of the areas it invaded as it steadily moved across the nation. Ancient Christians in the Yared region embraced these customs and embellished them with stories from the bible.
In the northeastern lowlands, the Muslim musical genre known as manzuma emerged. Originally sung in ancient Amharic, manzuma eventually made its way to Harar and Jimma, where it is today sung in Oromo.

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