Finding one’s voice in any field can be a lifelong pursuit. For many, it is a constant searching that may be resolved only over time. For a very lucky few, it occurs naturally and early on. Meklit Hadero, who played at the Skirball Center April 3rd, (and is continuing on in New York with an artist residency for the Institute of African American Affairs at NYU) has found her voice early on. And by that I mean her voice, quite literally, is distinct. Give one listen to “Negrume da Noite” and you will hear a full-fledged vocal artist, who expresses her Self with color and dynamics, and knows her instrument well. Her persona does not scream for attention; it simply smiles and attracts it.
Although I have chosen two traditional non-English songs to present here; one in Portuguese and another in Amharic — and she has that ethnic name — Meklit has lived all over the USA, was nurtured by the San Francisco art scene, and is as much affected by it as by her own Ethiopian heritage. Many of her original songs are in English and have a distinctly pop sound. But my own bias is to take pleasure in those songs which to me have deep roots, and Meklit embraces these so totally that it is a pleasure.
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