March 1, 2021

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From Tea House Harmonica to Dahlak Band

7 min read
From Tea House Harmonica to Dahlak Band

From Tea House Harmonica to Dahlak Band

“From Tea House Harmonica to Dahlak Band”

Written by  – Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher

There are some songs that suddenly flood the whole of Addis Ababa. They tape it in every bar, bar, or cafeteria. Cassette tapes can also be heard singing.

Along the way, teenagers whistle. Women sing for themselves while washing clothes or cooking. Children sing along the way… occasionally rubbing only their feet.

Babies who have just opened their mouths are also being bullied. Village drunkards also stumble. In short, it will be the song of the city.
A few months ago, “Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on!” The people of Addis Ababa sang:


A colleague of mine: She is three and a half years old. one day,
“Daddy! That ‘ko’ is her name, ”she said. Pointing to a circle.
“Are you sure?” She said,
“Yes,” she said; “If you want, it’s time to say, ‘Come on, let’s go!’
After my friend told me this, he said, “If I had known that whole thing, they would have played it.”


Muluken is a short, thick, very red, twenty-eight-year-old boy. He talked to us for about two hours, and I guess he was the one who spoke the whole thing. I mean, there is no need to worry, “If I say that, it can be interpreted as this.”


“Why did they call you by name?” We said.
“My sister took me out. My mother calls me ‘full’. They had aborted her before me. But when my four older brothers were born, she was in great pain. But when I was born, that was not a problem. That’s why she says ‘complete’. ‘Their name,’ Dad says. There was a land dispute. He had enemies. It means their names. ”


Muluken Melese was born in 1946 in the village of Dama Kidane Mercy in Anded Woreda, Gojjam State. When his mother died when he was ten, his uncle, who lived in Addis Ababa, brought him to study.

Paul went to school in the neighborhood. But he did not learn much. He was upset because his uncle hated him.
So there was a retirement home. On one side was a nursery. Hearing that there was someone to help, he went all the way and asked. Accept it.
“The manager loved me. They called me ‘Elvis’.

For two months they brought me clothes like this. They told me that I was going to teach you abroad. They cared for me. I loved them. I remember their gratitude. ”
A music school opened there. Tefera Abune Wold was the teacher.

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After spending almost six months in school, his sister became ill and returned home. That’s when he found out he had an aunt in Addis Ababa. They took him, and he began to live with them.

Their home is that of Michael. Muluken did not return to the music school.
His aunt is a soldier’s wife, and he trades in the dark. Their lives are miserable. The boy is not comfortable.
One day he went to the Army Music Department. To be hired. You did not receive it. But they helped him make tea.


“The stove was electric. I was electrocuted three times in one day. ”
After working for about six months, he left. He wandered for a few months.
There was a café down from the statue of Abune Petros.

The owner of the tea house loves Muluken; It helps. Harmonica has a friend who plays. Sit down at the cafeteria and play the harmonica with your friend. He sings all day long.

One evening, Muluken and his friends were playing together, and at three o’clock they got up to escort one of their friends. When you arrive at Dejach Wube, you will be amazed by the colorful lights of the beautiful desert.

One house is more beautiful than the other. When his friends asked him what the house was, they said it was Patris Lumumba Night Club, where he played the “fast track”.
Go to the store in front of you,
“Who owns this nightclub?” They asked.


“Mrs. Asegedech is not beautiful,” said the shopkeeper.
“Will they give me a job?” He asked.
“Write and ask,” said the shopkeeper, handing him a piece of paper and a pen.


He stood there and wrote the letter. His friends struggled with fear and entered a wonderful house. He handed the letter to the head of the orchestra.
He read it and laughed.

“What is it?” They sat down.
The man told them. They accepted the letter and read it.
“Test him. If it’s over, I’ll give him another job. ” The boy’s appearance and demeanor may have caused him to feel sad.


At that time, Muluken sang like Tilahun and sang like Alemayehu Eshete. He came out on the stage barefoot and in shorts and sang ‘I’m going to die, Alsasam for my soul’ and ‘Weeds’.

The women of the night club (too many) liked the song and donated one hundred birr.
“The next day I bought some khaki clothes; I measured wool. I put on Beetles shoes and washed my feet! ” he said.


He was given the same room. Food is from there. He started singing.
More and more people are coming to the nightclub. Mrs. Asegedech signed a contract with Muluken. He would sing at night, and they would pay him ninety birr a month.
“Ninety Birr! I think I’m a millionaire! ” We have.
Next to the American Library was the Zula Night Club.

The owners of this Zula came and talked to Muluken. Let us pay you three hundred birr a month, and sing to us. He agreed and left.
The woman was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief. Third police station. When one of the policemen slapped Muluken to please him, they became very angry.


“You are threatening me, not hurting me,” they said.
A bed was made for him, and the officer in charge of the room slept with him. He was released the next day. Zula Night Club enters.
“I watched both Gash Solomon Tesema’s ‘Eternal Sleep’ and Abubakar Ashake’s ‘We Have Never Seen It’.”

Addis Ababa began to recognize Muluken.

Police Orchestra Advertiser Major Workeneh Zeleke (nicknamed ‘Continued’);
“Let’s pay you four hundred birr, come with us!” They said.
He agreed and left. His monthly salary will come – only one hundred birr! When he said he was going to leave, he said, “You have signed!” They threatened him. She’s a kid!


During the three days Mekele was hired by the Police Orchestra, the Mekelle orchestra performed a beauty pageant with “Mrs. Tigray”. He sang the whole song of Tilahun Gessen. The people loved him.

  • The orchestra members also called Muluken “Makiku” because Alemayehu Eshete had gone to them.
  • Tesfaye Abebe sang three songs (“When my mother gave birth to me” and “Childhood”).
He became famous for his songs. He wrote in the newspaper: "Star player."
He spent three years with the Police Orchestra… He started playing nightclubs again.


Today we are singing at the Gion Hotel accompanied by Dahlak Band. About a dozen full-length clay pots have been removed. Since the revolution, the songs have been taped.
Which of your songs do you like best? We asked.
“I see them as equals. But “I am very satisfied with the melody and the song…” her body “and” my stomach is your enemy “… ……

In terms of quality and performance, Msoto’s instrumentalists and singers with Dahlak Band ‘Che Belew’ and ‘Wubit’.”
Who do you admire from vocalists? We said.
“I did not see the fruit. The standard is very high. He has more musical knowledge than any other singer.

We all sing normally, but he is superior to us in knowing music. Professional International (International Professional) Singer is someone I am proud of.
“We don’t have a singer like Menelik. It is the voice of an opera singer: Tilahun, Alemayehu, Menelik, Bizunesh, Hirut,

Mahmoud – these vocalists must grow. This is the responsibility of the country: I love this profession when it is abundant.

The more you learn, the more you learn. There is no stopping… I know music not by education but by habit.
“There is no single singer. It cannot exist.

It can be called the ‘Star of the Year’ at most, but each singer has his or her own unique talent. ”
(Interview with Muluken Meles, by Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher, A.D. 973)
Source: (“Kinet Column”; Spring Magazine, November 10)

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