Shewandagn Hailu to release New Album ‘Sitotash’

The new album, in which the country’s best musicians took part, will hit music stores soon. The album consists of 15 songs, of which the arrangement of seven of them done by the renowned arranger Abegazu Kibrework Shiota.

Abegazu also executed the mixing and mastering of the album. The rising arranger, Kamuzu Kassa, was responsible for the arrangement of five songs.

Girum Mezmur, arranger of Shewandag’s first album and former band mate, took part in the making of two songs while the young guitarist, Michael Hailu, participated on one song. Like the arrangement, the album bringing together a number of veteran and young lyricists and melody makers.

From the veteran Yilma Gebreab to the young Mesele Getahun and Tadese Geleta five lyricists are part of the album. Two of them, Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro) and Getesh Mamo shared Shewandagn’s profession. In addition to giving their lyrics, Teddy Afro and Getesh put their finger print on the making of melodies. Other singers Moges Teka, Bisrat Garedew and Getu (Omhaeriye) also involved on melody. Amanuel Yilma, Alemyaehu Demeke and Shewandagn himself contributed the rest.

Electra Music Records will produce and distribute Sitotatsh locally while Nahom Records take the responsibility of covering the foreign market.

A glimpse of Shewandagn

Shewandagn was born in Addis Ababa. He attended his elementary school at ‘Meskaye Hezunan’ and his high school at St. Joseph. He also had joined Addis Ababa University and was a third year management student when he decided to drop out and pursue his music career.

Shewandagn was nurturing his music talent at early age singing to his classmates and friends in school and at his neighborhood. During his high school stay at St. Joseph, he joined the school band as a singer.

The school administration used to encourage music as an extra curricula activity and support the members of the school band.

The then administration also bought music instruments for the band and recruited a music instructor. Though Shewandagn’s stay in St. Joseph’s music band didn’t not exceed more than two years, the support he had got in the school had laid the strongest foundation for the level where he reached today. At St Joseph, Shewandagn was highly recognized for his English songs but he also used to sing Amharic ones especially those of Getachew Kassa.

When Shewandagn joined university, he did not quit of playing music. He rather joined Ethio-Star Band where he used to sing twice a week. Getting the opportunity to perform on various stages Shewandagn grew his professional skills and proved himself as an accomplished musician. As his fame grew bigger, he moved to the then top bands, ‘Sevance’ and ‘Express’, and performed on big stages.

During his stay in the two bands, Shewandagn had got a chance to play along with renowned singers such as Tewodros Kassahun a.k.a. Teddy Afro, Tigist Belachew, Abdu Kiyar, Shimeles Ararso, Tsedenya Gebre Markos and many others. Shewandagn and Teddy Afro was not only shared stages but grew close friendship through time. They along with the well respected guitarist Girum Mezmur later formed ‘Afro Sound Band’. The three worked together for years and managed to gain more fame with the band.

The remake of Girma Beyene’s ‘Tsigereda’ was Shewandagn’s first single. The clip of the song, which was recorded live on the Ethiopian Television Studio, was a hit. The popularity of the single brought him the opportunity to perform in Djibouti, Kenya, Italy and Dubai. The positive response of the audience for his single was serving as gauge of the success of his first album ‘Sik Alegn’.

Following to the success of his album, he toured in Egypt, South Africa, Bahrain, UAE, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, and England and above 12 states of USA. Eight years after the release of his album, Shewandagn still invited to perform in local and international stages.

For three years, Shewandagn spend good time with “Zion” band. With various bands, he performed on the popular local stages of Buffet De Lagare, Illusion, Hilton, Sheraton Gas Light and Harelm Jazz. His unique way of performing able to attracted a number of fans. In 2004, Shewandagn together with Tsedenya G/Markos and Hadey Haile represented Ethiopia and competed at Kora, South Africa based music award competition.

Beside his profession, Shewandagn grew the interest of managing night clubs since the release of his first album. As they did on “Afro Sound Band”, Shewandagn and Teddy Afro ventured on the business of managing night clubs after the success of “Sik Alegn.” They rented the then popular hangout place, “Lion Club”, and turned in to the number one music destination of the city.

The six month short lived but most successful trial of the night club business encouraged Shewandagn to fully engage on this area. Along with his three friends, he opened the well known “Fahrenheit” club, located adjacent to Bole Medhanialem, six years ago. Beyond his managerial position in the club, every week he is performing twice. Shewandagn is a keen participant of concerts, social and fundraising events.

Though for major part of his music career Shewandagn used to play English music and his original works also consists modern styles, he also has a popular local touch. Shewandage is often mentioned among the singers who are credited on their creation and influence on the modern styles of the Ethiopian music industry.

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