Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Aug 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Sisterhood of the Traveling Performer

music_MeklitHaderoEthiopia-born singer Meklit Hadero puts multicultural spin on jazz

Even through the haze of jetlag and cross-continental cellular static, Meklit Hadero’s presence is remarkable. Whether mesmerizing audiences in America or in her home country of Ethiopia, the singer/songwriter traces her confidence and charisma to her migrant life.

“I think moving around did two things: one was that it taught me how to make friends with a big variety of people and connect with people who didn’t have much in common with me, and it also taught me how to be comfortable in a huge variety of situations,” explains Hadero. “It gave me a real flexibility of living that I use all the time, and I also think it was great preparation for life on the road as a touring musician in general.”

Throughout her life, Hadero has called a dozen cities and three continents her home, and the mellow fluidity and multi-generational appeal of her songs seem to embody the best of all the cultures she’s been a part of. “It sits at the crossroads of North American songwriters, the jazz tradition and Ethiopian music,” she says of her musical style. “In Ethiopian music there’s a sort of super vibrato where people hover around a note instead of grabbing a note and holding onto it—it’s just kind of how my voice was and is, I can feel that my voice comes from that place.”

As a child, it was clear that Hadero had a passion for music—“My mother will tell stories of me being three years old and asking people in the elevator if they wanted to hear me sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’” she admits—but her career as a musician didn’t blossom until she moved to the Bay Area.

In San Francisco, Hadero found an audience at the Mission Arts and Performance Project, a community-based grassroots art event, where artists from around the world collaborate.

“That whole community showed me how to be a singer and a musician that was actively engaged in the community, but also inspired by the other artists around—not just musicians, but visual artists as well,” she says. “I’m not so much about being a particular kind of musician as I am about experimenting with sound and bringing genre-bending music to a new place.” That experimentation is evident on both her EP, Eight Songs, and the full-length record, On a Day Like This.

At the center of it all is her warm and expressive voice, which she says is the result of her fascination with the intricacies of vocal expression. “The voice is an instrument that has such a subtlety to it—it responds to your moods, it’s different all the time … it’s made of you,” she explains. “Just as you grow and shift, so does your voice, and you have to learn how to relate with it. I don’t think that the voice can be mastered—I don’t like thinking of it as a kind of mastery—it’s more about learning how to steward its moods and personalities, and that really takes a long time so I take voice lessons as often as I can.”

As a Senior Fellow for TED—a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas—and founder of the Arba Minch collective—a cultural exchange program that connects Ethiopia and the world through arts—Hadero is a strong believer in the ability of music and arts to unify: “There’s a moment in shows that doesn’t always happen,” she says, “where the audience that is made of 100 different bubbles becomes one big bubble—that’s something that [as people] we look for, but a lot of us don’t know how much we seek it.”


Meklit Hadero plays at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $13/adv, $15/door. 603-2294.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual