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Ethio-jazz artist Meklit Hadero (Meklit) is collaborating with Women’s Audio Mission to record, produce, and present a new collection of traditional Ethiopian folk songs titled When the Compass Points Towards Home.

Meklit will work closely with the Ethiopian poet/songwriter Alemtsehay Wedajo, the only Ethiopian female lyricist to have written for all of the major singers of the 1960s and 70s “Golden Era of Ethiopian Music.” Wedajo will pass on the tradition of Ethiopian poetry/lyricism to Meklit, and their work together will culminate in a performance and professional album, recorded and produced at Women’s Audio Mission’s studio in collaboration with its female producers and engineers.

Meklit was born in Addis Ababa and fled with her parents to the United States to escape the violence that followed Ethiopia’s 1974 revolution. A student of Ethiopian traditional music and jazz, she sings in both English and Amharic. Meklit has performed all over the world, is a major star in Ethiopia, and has released three full-length solo albums and three collaborative albums. Recently she was named Chief of Program at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Over the last 16 years, Women’s Audio Mission has commissioned more than 300 artists and ensembles from 21 countries to create, record, and present new works to the public, and has worked on award-winning projects with Kronos Quartet, Angelique Kidjo, and many others. It also trains more than 2,000 underserved women and girls each year in music production, performance, and the recording arts, a field in which women are chronically underrepresented.

Image by: Tessa Shimizu