Emahoy: The Fantastic Life of an Ethiopian Musical Genius

The story of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam can only be described as astonishing. From being the first Ethiopian woman to be educated in Europe to performing in front of Emperor Haile Selassie and racing around Addis Ababa in a horse cart to living barefoot and in virtual seclusion in a monastery for a decade – her non-musical exploits alone would fill a book.

Her musical genius has evolved with her, going from an accomplished classical pianist to developing her own style which has been featured in the 60s Ethiopian jazz collection Ethiopiques. Kate Molleson takes us on a roller coaster ride through Emahoy’s life and music. Click through to read the article, and then take a half hour to listen to the radio show featuring both Emahoy and Kate Molleson, as well as some of Emahoy’s hauntingly beautiful music.