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Getachew Mekuria is one of Ethiopia’s well known saxophone players who got world wide acclaim. Although he is well known for playing the sax, when he begun his musical journey, Getachew started out playing traditional Ethiopian musical instruments such as the Kerar and the Masenqo.
According to his biography, the musician started his professional career in 1949 as a part of the Municipality Band in Addis Ababa. In 1955 he joined the house band at Haile Selassie I Theatre now known as National Theater, and in 1965 he joined the then famous Police Orchestra.
He was also one of the first musicians to record an instrumental version of shellela, a genre of traditional Ethiopian vocal music sung by warriors before going into battle.
A concert in honor of Getachew was held at the National Theater on Tuesday October 14th 2014. The concert entitled “Tribute to Getachew Mekuria” was done by different artists such as Getachew himself along with The Ex who are a well known Dutch band and dancer Melaku Belay.
The Ex is a band that was formed in 1979. Using guitars, bass, drums and voice as departure points The Ex have continued up to the present day to musically explore undiscovered areas.
Since their establishment, The Ex have released over 26 full length albums of musical experiments and numerous collaborations blending punk and free jazz with styles of folk music from all over the world.
Tuesday’s concert was not the first time for Getachew Mekuria and The Ex to perform on stage. Since 2004, they have been collaborating occasionally and have performed on several Jazz, World music and Rock festivals all over the world. Along with other artists, Getachew and The Ex have recorded two albums; “Moa Anbessa” in 2006 and “Y’Anbessa Tezeta” in 2012.