Ethiopian musician Samuel Berhanu, popularly known as Sami Dan, is set to release his debut full-length album, Keras Gar Negeger (speaking with oneself) in May.
Samuel has had passion for music since childhood and his music career began while he was in high school, playing with the band Eldan for five years. He then took a break from music to focus on his education at Addis Ababa University. After graduating with a degree in Construction Technology and Management, he joined Hasset Acoustic Band and played with them for three years. Through Hasset he had the opportunity to be part of Sydney Solomon and Imperial Majestic Band, playing with them for a year.
In 2014 Sami Dan started his own band, Zewd Acoustic. That year he released a four-track promotional CD, including the singles ‘Anchi Yene’ and ‘Shegitu’, which got overwhelmingly positive feedback on radio and online.
Now with an intention to approach the entertainment world with a unique sound and style, Sami Dan has written all 13 tracks on the new album, songs that address critical social issues in Ethiopia like legislation and work ethics. Keras Gar Negeger is released by Blue Media PLC, the company better known for organising the Taste of Addis Food Festival and the Addis Beer Fest.
An energetic live performer, Sami says his new album contains his own deep ideas and life experiences. He believes that artists are leaders in society and therefore need to address issues that affect the society, while also pointing out problems in the society with a view of encouraging positive change. “The ideas and the experiences I have acquired over the years in my career are interpreted in the album. I hope they will help someone learn from my challenges and successes,” he says.
Reggae is the dominant genre on the album but Sami says that as a versatile artist he has also included other genres. He reckons that reggae in Ethiopia is growing, but based on the history of the genre it has not yet attained the status it deserves. He is hopeful that a new crop of artists will take Ethiopian reggae to greater heights, and that his new album will contribute to the growth of reggae in the country.