feature: meklit’s new jazzy offering is anything but “slow”

March 19, 2014

Meklit Hadero’s latest single “Slow” premiered on the Wall Street Journal. The track, taken from her brand new album We Are Alive, was funded via crowd-funding site and released through music label Six Degrees Records. The album was recorded completely onto tape. To do this, the entire band had to record together in the studio. So the album is essentially a live sessions project without the distraction of an applauding audiences and shouts for an encore. The end result should produce a deliberately organic manifestation of Meklit Hadero’s art.

By Ayara Pommells, AFROPUNK Contributor *

If you’ve checked out the AFROPUNK documentary series ‘The Triptych’, a three-part series about visual artists, Barron Clairborne, Sanford Biggers and Wangechi Mutu, you will have already heard a sample of Meklit’s music as it is featured in one of the videos.

“Slow” sees Meklit’s silky tones glide over the pulsing trumpets of Darren Johnston. I especially love the live performance of this song. We get to witness Meklit’s, sensual moves and bright beaming smile and she sashays across the stage, enhanced with her unique, fluttery hand dances. Nothing slow about Meklit’s stage presence.

“Slow is about life taking its own time… about shattering the expectations we write out in lists and throwing the clocks out the window while dancing our way through the living room.” – Meklit

There is a warmth about Meklit Hadero which filters through each and every one of her songs. Watching her, she comes across as an artist who makes music for her own pleasure and does not cater it to any particular audience. She wants to share her love of music and her stories with an ear willing and open to listening and absorbing her own special brand of folk-jazz. “It’s A Small Town” playfully highlights the gossipy nature of many small communities. There can be so little to do that you each become you neighbor’s entertainment. I’m from a island. I know what that’s like.

We Are Alive is available now. The 13-track album features Ethiopian composer and ethio-jazz musician Samuel Yirga.

Here’s why Meklit says AFROPUNK readers are going to love We Are Alive:

We Are Alive is 13 songs and the simple sentiment…. As hard as it gets, and as sweet as it gets, we are alive. The record walks the road of hyphens. It has a songwriter’s sensibility in that every word counts. It’s built on jazz and grounded in improvisation. It’s dusted with Ethiopian influence, as with the song “Kemekem (I like your Afro)”, which is a real countryside tune from Ethiopia, as well as in this particular vibrato, that I can’t help but sing even in English. The record also comes with a liner note essay by Walter Mosley, a great friend of mine. He spent some days with us in the studio while we were making this music and wrote so beautifully about the sounds! “

You can purchase your copy right here.

Upcoming shows:

March 20 – The Mansion Strathmore Bethesada, MD

March 21 – Subculture, NY

March 22 – David Friend Recital Hall Berklee -Boston, MA


Twitter: @MeklitMusic




* Ayara Pommells is Owner of UK website and a music writer for, & Follow @YahYahNah.