The fact that Tsehay Yohannes (ፀሃየ ዮሃንስ) has not been featured on the voluminous Ethiopiques series is a testament to the richness of Ethiopia's musical history. Born in 1961, Yohannes (also spelled Yohanis) started singing for the Kebur Zebegna band at age 14 and recorded his debut album, Tey Munit, in 1974. He later played with the Roha Band and Dadimos Band. Having grown up in Tigrai but born in Gondar, Yohannes sang both in Amharic and Tigrinya and promoted cultural unity in his lyrics. Great dissension remains today between separatist Eritreans, Habesha, and Ethiopians alike. Because Amharic is considered an invasive language to the other cultures, illiteracy is a complicated issue in Ethiopia. Yohannes' hit song "Berta Zemede," a tribute to activist Edeget Beheberet Zemecha, became the official theme for the the "Manbebena Mestaf" and "Meseret Temehert" movements which almost doubled the literacy rate of the country in the 70s and 80s. He released a new album in 2007 and continues to perform today. The videos below range from fried psych funk to the more traditional and show this electric performer's full range as well as his special way of singing with his hands.
***• See more of the amazing Tsehay Yohannes hear, hear, hear, hear, and hear.
• Wade deeper into Murky Recess' ongoing ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ series.
• Visit the man's lionizing website.
• A partial discography is posted in the Comments Section.