Spotlight: Ethio-American Artist Meklit Hadero’s New Radio Show “Movement”

“Movement,” which is also a podcast and live show, is created and produced by Meklit Hadero, along with producer Ian Coss and editor Julie Caine. (Photo: Yolk Images)

PRI

“Movement,” a one-hour special from The World, tells stories of global migration through music. Co-hosted by The World’s host Marco Werman and Ethiopian American singer Meklit Hadero, the show blends song and narrative in a meditation on what it means to be American.

We follow a once-undocumented singer in San Francisco on a long-awaited trip back to Mexico, reflect on the experience of exile with a Syrian DJ, and hear a Sudanese American artist play his first-ever show in Sudan — all guided by Hadero as she reflects on her own American story.

“Movement,” which is also a podcast and live show, is created and produced by Hadero, along with producer Ian Coss and editor Julie Caine.

For singer, composer and cultural activist Meklit Hadero, her Ethiopian identity was often expressed at home through food and language and music. Hadero left Ethiopia with her family when she was just under two years old, and they came to the United States as refugees, settling in Brooklyn, New York.

Hadero recalls how her parents often played old, garbled tapes of Ethiopian music from legends such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Aweke and Mary Armede. Inspired by these sounds, Hadero went on to pursue a music career based in Oakland, California, that has redefined the Ethiopian jazz genre.

With an electrifying stage presence, Hadero has graced venues from New York to Nairobi and beyond. She skyrocketed to fame in 2015 for her TED talk, “The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds,” watched by more than 1.2 million viewers. Her latest album, “When the People Move, the Music Moves Too,” pays homage to her “sonic homeland,” fusing Ethiopian traditional folk and jazz with American beats.

In 2011, Hadero manifested a long-held dream to return to Ethiopia, to play a concert with other Ethiopian American musicians in the northern city of Gondar, famous for its castles and rich history. That trip affirmed a sense of belonging for Hadero in Ethiopia. “That night, at the foot of the castles, something clicked,” she says. “You are made of the motion between two countries.”

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