Ethiopian vocalist of Gurage descent born May 8, 1941 in the Mercato district of Addis Ababa. First began singing professionally in the early 1960s at the Arizona Club: a semi-legal establishment in Addis Ababa where he worked in maintenance.
Though his singing career flourished after Emperor Haile Selassie I. began to ease restrictions on music production, he and his fellow musicians were forced back underground domestically after the Derg coup in 1974 (which eventually resulted in forced dethroning of the Emperor and imprisonment of the imperial family). He continued to play to foreigners, and travelled internationally extensively in the 1980s. He is now a widely-recognized musician at home and abroad, winning the BBC World Music Award in 2007.