Meklit Hadero: The Great Harmonizer

Meklit Hadero of Ethiopia (Photo: Montreal Mirror Magazine)

Montreal, Canada – With a voice as fresh as the flower that’s always tucked into her hair, Meklit Hadero mixes genres and styles, as comfortable with Ethiopian jazz as San Francisco coffeehouse folk. Always active, she’s releasing two albums this year, is a TED senior fellow (a title bestowed upon “young world-changers” in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design) and has put together the Arba Minch arts collective, a group that aims to create cultural links between Ethiopia and the rest of the world, so named for a town in Southern Ethiopia. But that’s not all. With the Nile Project, Meklit wishes, through music, to draw together the countries, cultures and communities that lie on the famed African river. No wonder, when asked for a description of herself and her work, Meklit replies, “I like being a paragraph rather than a sentence,” laughing.

In advance of her second appearance in Montreal, Meklit spoke to the Mirrorabout music, community and her love for our city. 

Mirror: You have East African influences, but your music is also jazzy and folky. How would you describe your music?

Meklit Hadero: Pretty much how you just described it. That’s pretty accurate. I usually talk about it as sitting at the intersection of jazz, folk and some Ethiopian influences, especially in the way that I sing and

the vocal style. So it’s all three of those things together in an improvisation. 

M: Your show at last summer’s Nuits d’Afrique was very well received.

MH: I completely fell in love with Montreal. I really, really did. And I hope that I get to spend an extended period of time there at some point. The thing that I really liked the most and the thing that was inspiring was I felt like there was an openness to music there, and an openness of the audience to really go with you as a performer. It’s actually really rare in terms of all the touring that I’ve done, and I just found it to be a very special place. The people were just so warm, and it was amazing. Read More