Known for bringing Ethiopian folklore into the mainstream, up-and-coming folk singer and songwriter Wegdayit, real name Dawit, is one such talent whose music is geared towards resonating with the inner souls of the majority of the nation.
The musician from Addis Ababa has spent years experimenting with the indigenous sounds, rhythms, and tales that have shaped much of his existence and is steadily developing his sense of self. In addition to building a greater sense of self, the jazz singer is rewriting the tunes that helped define a nation. The vocalist is an avid devotee of the 6th-century Aksumite musician Saint Yared, who is credited with being the first to establish traditional music in Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as most of the music in the early days of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Wegdayit’s desire to connect with indigenous artists from around the continent reflects his admirable pride in his roots. The dude prioritizes weaving Ethiopian and African traditional sounds into audible retellings of Africa’s life force and spirit. It encapsulates what you would label the sound of reggae, jazz, hip-hop, Ethiopian music, and a sprinkle of Christianity mixed together.
A self-proclaimed “Ethiopian and African folklore singer and writer,” Wegdayit’s passion for honouring what came before him and building on it has helped unearth bodies of work that many in his community have long forgotten.