Meklit Hadero is an Ethiopian-American singer-songwriter living the cultural in-between, both in her own luminous compositions and as a co-founder of the Nile Project.

Why you should listen

Meklit Hadero's music is imbued with poetry and multiplicity, from hybridized sounds of Tizita (haunting and nostalgic music) drawing from her Ethiopian heritage, to the annals of jazz, folk songs and rock & roll. Hadero describes her music as emanating from “in-between spaces,” and the result is a smoky, evocative world peopled by strong bass, world instruments and her soothing voice.

In the Nile Project, founded along with Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis, Hadero set out to explore the music of the Nile basin, pulling influences from countries along the river, from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and finally to Egypt. The project brings together hip-hop, traditional and contemporary music, with instruments and traditions old and new. As she says, "My work on a lot of levels is about multiplicity." Their new record is Aswan

About her own music, here's what people say:

“Soulful, tremulous and strangely cinematic, Meklit’s voice will implant scenes in your mind — a softly lit supperclub, a Brooklyn stoop, a sun-baked road. Close your eyes, listen and dream." -- Seattle Times

"Meklit… combines N.Y. jazz with West Coast folk and African flourishes, all bound together by her beguiling voice, which is part sunshine and part cloudy day.” -- Filter Magazine

What others say

“Meklit is one of those rare artists with the power to bridge genres, geography and generations.” — Google Music

Meklit Hadero’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Meklit Hadero

Live from TED

The music of sign language, a computer of water drops: 21 TED Fellows share ideas that swim against the tide

August 28, 2015

Tides are strong. They move swiftly, sweeping all toward the shore. But TED Fellows refuse to simply drift with the water. They are innovators, advocates and artists who challenge the status quo and work in the spaces between disciplines. At the second TED Fellows Retreat — held from August 25-28, 2015, and themed “Swimming Against the Tide” — about […]

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Live from TEDGlobal

Human rights heroes: A recap of session 11 of TEDGlobal 2014

October 10, 2014

From a speaker helping to contain the ebola outbreak to an America lawyer standing up for rights in Afghanistan to a journalist cracking open the Nigerian media, Session 11: Fighters was filled with crackling talks. A recap: Fred Swaniker kicks off the day with a bold vision for Africa’s future, which, he argues, rests squarely in […]

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