Born in Addis Ababa, Girma Bèyènè is an Ethiopian lyricist, composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist. Active in what is known as the golden era of Ethiopian music, he recorded from 1969-1978. As a vocalist he only recorded four songs, but as an arranger he composed more than 60 titles and collaborated on at least 25 other tracks.
Girma left Ethiopia during the Derg military dictatorship (this being the military junta that ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987) to live in the United States, where he disappeared into the diaspora and ceased to play music. Many years passed, and it wasn’t until 2017 that he released a new album as part of the Ethiopiques collection.
Originally released in 1969 on Ethiopian label, Ahma Records (shared by greats such as Alemayehu Eshete, Bezunesh Bekele, Mahmoud Ahmed, Hirut Bekele, Mulatu Astatke), Ene Negn Bay Manesh is an enchanting song performed by Girma Beyene and arranged by Mulatu Astatke! As most of Beyene’s songs were instrumental, this track an unusual occurrence for him as it features his super soft vocals. Understated and subtle, but rich in depth and colour, this song is marked by elegant guitar, organ and horn lines. It’s a beauty!
In 2015 Mr Bongo reissued this track alongside Alèmayèhu Eshèté’s Telantena Zaré, so if you fancy grabbing yourself a copy, you can find that here. Listen above.