Sunday, May 10, 2009

Addis Journal: Girma Yifrashewa Premieres CD of 'Hagere' by Gebre Kristos Desta, May 14

“The work of poet Gebre Kristos Desta is to be translated into music in a new CD composed by the noted pianist Girma Yifrashewa. The poem 'Hagere' (My Country), Girma’s first composition using works of the eminent poet, would be premiered at the Italian Cultural Institute on May 14, 2009. Girma told Addis Journal that he has been thinking of converting Gebre Kristo’s poems into music since he discovered the work in an anthology published three years ago. Girma said that it was a thrill for him to come across such a fine poet but a heartbreaking experience to learn about his poignant life that ended in a foreign land without getting due recognition. 'I just felt I should do something to pay homage to this great man,' said Girma.

It was a painstaking process to convert the poem into a rhyme scheme that people would like but a worthwhile experience, according the pianist. The event which was sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute would be held on Thursday evening and around twenty people would participate. Poets and actors would be doing a series of readings of the late poet and their own on Thursday night on the occasion. Fikadu Teklemaryam, Haymanot Alemu, Getnet Eniyew are among those who would participate in poetry recital. Girma would lead the musical show, with participation of saxophonist Aklilu Zewde, flutist Yohannes Afework, drummer Amahayesus Assefa, sound engineer Nistsuh Yilma , and sopranoist Ruth Duencan. The vocal performer is a young musician. Genet Demessei and Mekbul Jemal would the do the dance. Gebre Kristos’s 'My country' was written during the poet’s stay in Cologne, Germany in the 1970’s and was described as one of the most patriotic Amharic poem ever penned. Gebre Kristos passed away in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1981. [Girma Yifrashewa (b. 1967) is an Ethiopian composer and pianist who is profiled at]

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