The Sound Cafe
'Netsa' Is The Latest Album Set To Be Released By Ethiopian Virtuoso Minyeshu
By Glenda Rush.
Netsa is the latest album from Ethiopian virtuoso Minyeshu and sees its release on August 26th, 2022. Following her acclaimed 2018 album Daa Dee, Netsa – meaning ‘free’ in Amharic – could well be considered the culmination of Minyeshu’s creative voyage, at least so far.
Like much of the world, 2020 gave Minyeshu pause for contemplation. There was one resounding answer for every question she asked herself: music. While music has given her so much, and she to music, theirs could be considered a symbiotic relationship, for they very much exist in one another. Music is a part of her, her heritage, and her heart. Minyeshu repays this blessing by sharing her talent with the world, and Netsa is her latest gift.
Netsa is a collection of songs that explore themes of unity, love, exploring oneself and the natural world and appreciating the beauty in all of them. The opening track Fidel (meaning alphabet) bounces with youthful exuberance and features the intriguing sound of the chechezeya, one of Ethiopia’s most mystical traditional instruments. In contrast, the gentle tones of Qulef (The Key) and the haunting melody of the balladesque Fiker (Love) slow the tempo and allow for reflection. The album bursts back to life, with most songs having a high-energy, celebratory feel. Bold beats are prominent throughout, with Qhakaza Thando (Shine Up Love) evoking an almost reggae feel alongside its clearer jazz and ethnic inspirations.
Born in the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa, Minyeshu’s family relocated to the capital, Addis Ababa, when she was still a child. Aged fourteen, she attended her first live concert. This event fully ignited a passion for the performing arts and set her on a path of creative expression, entertainment and exploration. Just a few years later, she joined the Ethiopian National Theatre, where her natural talents were enhanced by sharing learning experiences with like-minded souls and expressing their dedication to the rich traditions of Ethiopian culture through the artistry of music, song and dance. Through her studies, she unearthed deep inspiration from her homeland and discovered composer Mulatu Astatke - the father of Ethio-jazz. His indelible influence can often be felt throughout many of Minyeshu’s works. With her studies complete, her thirst for new experiences took Minyeshu to Europe, living in Belgium before eventually settling in the Netherlands.
Her personal growth was matched professionally as she carved out a career as a performer, gaining recognition as an actor, producer, dancer, choreographer and perhaps most relevantly, a singer. Her travels have undoubtedly helped her musical style evolve, as she delicately blends worldwide influences with her Ethiopian heritage to produce distinct and stirring sounds, evocative and impressive in equal measure. Her considerable talent has led Minyeshu to release four acclaimed albums, with Netsa the eagerly awaited fifth. All significant milestones on Minyeshu’s musical journey.
By blending spirited vocals, worldwide influences and instruments such as keys, drums, bass, violin and piano with traditional sounds of the masenqo, washint, kirar, and the captivating chechezeya, Minyeshu has created a vivid, vibrant and ultimately uplifting listening experience. An experience that is sure to set you free.