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Singer Minishu Kifle singing “Buna” on EBS

Minyeshu, an Amhara native who was raised in Dire Dawa in Eastern Ethiopia, relocated to Addis Abeba at the age of nine. When she was fourteen years old, she went to her first live concert with a friend. She was immediately hired as a singer in a band after giving an audition. She was hired as a dancer in the Ethiopian National Theatre at the age of 16. Her desire to pursue a career as an artist was rejected by her parents, and she soon moved in with her aunt. In an interview, Minyeshu described her experience: “We as artists were degraded to puppets of the regime; the board was replaced by people who didn’t know what they were doing.” Minyeshu continued to sing and dance while also listening to the band Ambassel. She went to Europe in 1996 with this band to play a few shows. She made the choice to apply for asylum in Belgium out of fear for her safety back in Ethiopia. After hearing Minyeshu sing, San Graatsma, the Dutchman behind the Mosaique Vivant foundation, invited her to join Africa-Unite as a vocalist in 1998. Ethiopian, Sudanese, and Somalian musicians made up the Africa-Unite band. Under the name Mosaique Vivant, they distributed the CD Africa-Unite. Soon after, Minyeshu relocated to Eindhoven. A while later, she made the decision to start Chewata with other ex-Africa-Unite band members. She participated in the Friends for War Child concert in 2003 by singing alongside Marco Borsato. She performed in several cross-cultural collaborations, including Perles d’Amour and Maliblu, a project with Anton Goudsmit and Zoumana Diarra. At the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam’s New Year’s concert in 2007, Minyeshu performed alongside the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble.

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