Favorite Songs of 2016!
As the resident HabeshaLA music writer, I was pleased to have so many gems to choose from when ranking my favorite Ethiopian and Eritrean songs of the year. We live in blessed times where music is more accessible than ever before–platforms like YouTube, LYE.TV, DireTube, ArifZefen, EBS, and ETV present modern and classic Ethiopian/Eritrean tracks in (mostly) HD fashion. Very exciting stuff! For a second year in a row (check out my picks for 2015 here), I’ve ranked my favorite songs (!!!) of the year. It was no easy task but cry/eskista/laugh here:
40. “Bede” – Dina Anteneh : Ah, the 40th position. Admittedly these subsequent songs are more fillers to wrap up this list in a pretty, even-and-whole-numbered bow. But the “oh ho ho bede” line has been stuck in my head an unspeakable amount this year #catchy
39. “Zeringne” – Selam Akilelu : Selam’s light voice glides this amazing beat so well!
38. “Lefo Lefo” – Dagne Walle : Dagne released possibly one of the best Gojame songs ever and he was back with a party starter with “Lefo Lefo.”
37. “Tekebel” – Getish Mamo : This was definitely a fan-favorite, bringing azmari vibes~ to the forefront this year.
36. “Kora Bel” – Genet Mulugeta : If you ever needed a song to big up your man (and one over a Gondere beat), this was it.
35. “Aegba” – Mykey Shewa : This year was major for Gurage songs and this was no exception; “Aegba” was of the hype variety, as they usually are.
34. “Eshkem” – Maditu Weday : Though a late entry in the year (just released last month!), I could tell this will continue to get major plays into 2017 🙂
33. “Ende Bethelhem – Amsal Mitike : Even if you were brought up remotely Ethiopian, you most likely have heard this instrumental– Amsal offers a fresh take on a classic.
32. “Lelisie” – Tesfaye Tilahun : Such a cute love song <3 and also, I love saying “berede beredu bereda” lol
31. “Ene Negn Derash” – Betty G, Dawit Tsige, Esubalew Yitayew & Sami Dan : A welcome message of humanity for what was truly an ugly year.
30. “Gena Gena – Mehanenity” – Mesfin Berhanu : So, a bearded man singing in Tigrinya in a music video produced by Mido Productions (sound familiar?)… Maybe it’s a formula that works?
29. “Irrikum” – Remedan Chimesa: Another song you might recognize if you were brought up even vaguely Ethiopian is “Erikum”… here is its lovely, Orominya update.
28. “Ershrshu” – Defaru Getnet : This one is strictly for the dance lovers… and can we get into the line “hulet Ejun taTbo Amlak sile serat” (basically that God washed both of His hands clean before creating the singer’s boo)???? What kind of compliment?!
27. “Zebenay” – Workye Getachew : I don’t know if it’s because I saw this video filmed in person (!!!) or because the singer is just miskeen to me, but I adored this song maybe more than I should have. I’ll eskista to it anyway.
26. “Sanday” – Assefa Gebremichael : I adore Assefa’s super traditional voice; catch me at my own wedding getting all the way down to this!
25. “Wanko” – Jacky Gosee : After a silent earlier half of the year, Jacky made his appearance with “Wanko,” a song that probably made its rounds at parties in the latter half of 2016. I just love his voice in it… now release an actual album, Jacky!!!
24. “Wub Aynama” – Fikadu Girma : Another modern spin on a classic by Tilahun Gessesse– I would love to see a dance battle to this Gondere song!
23. “Ajeba” – Jote Deresu feat. Getachew : A mix of modern and traditional voices is what makes this Shaggoyee song lovable.
22. “Firdey” – Binyam Yemane : The palpable emotion in this song is reason enough for “Firdey” to be on this list. Also, please peep his extraness in the video #loveit
21. “Shaggooyyee” – Nasra Yusuf feat. Iskiyas Mezemir : NO IDEA what’s being said (someone teach me… maaloo!) but it sounds heartwarming nonetheless.
20. “Siriwe” – Ashenafi Zeberga : Zebergas are good at this, huh?
19. “Jiwa Jiwe” – Abdu Kiar : This was one of the (perhaps unintentionally) funniest videos of the year for me by one of my favorite artists of the past year and a half. Here’s another relatable song from Abdu… so fun to sing along to.
18. “Seme Nesh” – Yedenekachew Mekonene feat. Eyerusalem Abereham : The lyrics are SO cute. Who wouldn’t want a love like this?
17. “Shrboki” – Seare Debesay : My only regret in 2016 is never having an opportunity to shim shim to this song at a function.
16. “Ney Ney” – Kaleabe Zelalem: Another banger I’d like to see a battle to! Even the singer can’t help to dance to his own song lol
15. “Finiina Kiyya” – Aadam Kawo : This song brings up many “feels” for me; a great, no-nonsense Oromo dance track.
14. “Yene Mar” – Abdu Kiar: Like “Senay” by Teddy Afro before it, this ultimate lover’s ode is everything <3
13. “Amootee” – Abbush Zallaqaa: Another freakin’ B O P from Abbush. He consistently has a fresh and unique sound.
12. “Ababiya Lome Tera” – Gezahagn Israel: No other song made me want to dance as much as this one this year!
11. “Awdamet” – Kassahun Eshetu & Konjit Shanko: Ethiopian New Year festivities were certainly marred this year and I for one was in no real mood to celebrate with this song; I have this gem for next year, God willing.
10. “Teregagi” – Tsinat Lisanu: This song is my ishhhh (Tsinat is also so OD, which I love) and the video gets an A+ for cinematography because WOW.
9. “Gere” – Brouk Rack feat. Melaku Bireda: January started off with a bang with “Gere” and yet, I still don’t know how to dance to Guraginya 🙁
8. “Jemereni” – Eden Kesete: Besides the fact that this song is amazing, Eden is my “spirit twin” because this is exactly how dramatic I’d be in a music video as well.
7. “Mekonenye” – Yohannes Gebre: “Essssssssey!” That’s all.
6. “Amadiwe” – Melaku Bireda: Come through, Melaku!! One of my favorite “voices” for Guraginya songs with his most fun song of the year.
5. “Zemedewa” – Mokshez: Wollo had some bangers to claim this year and “Zemedewa” was the biggest. Another mix of traditional and modern that goes (sensing a pattern here…)
4. “Sebonti” – Debebe Adame: My favorite Oromo song of the year from one of the loveliest of voices.
3. “Dendasho” – Asgegnew Ashko: Go anywhere in Ethiopia and you would’ve surely heard this hit. Also, fun fact: a wedding I was at this year in Addis Ababa played this song 4 times and I wasn’t mad.
2. “Wezamey” – Dawit Nega: The absolute go-to in Tigrinya songs this year and with good reason. Congratulations to Mr. Hitmaker Dawit Nega on yet another outstanding single, for real. I think I’ve contributed to 1/3 of this video’s views, by the way.
1. “Washew Ende” – Alemayew Getachew: Each year has its “Feta Feta” or “Sela Bey” and “Washew Ende” was it, no doubt. With my #3 song of 2015 in “Bey Kora” already under his belt, Alemayew is clearly going places.