Home > City Journal > Gebre Kristos’s poem becomes a song

Gebre Kristos’s poem becomes a song


The work of poet Gebre Kristos Desta is to be translated into music in a new CD composed by the noted pianist Girma Yifrashewa.

The poem “Hagere”(My Country), Girma’s first composition using works of the eminent poet, would be premiered at the Italian Cultural Institute on May 14, 2009. Girma told Addis Journal that he has been thinking of converting Gebre Kristo’s poems into music since he discovered the work in an anthology published three years ago.

Girma said that it was a thrill for him to come across such a fine poet but a heartbreaking experience to learn about his poignant life that ended in a foreign land without getting due recognition.

“I just felt I should do something to pay homage to this great man,” said Girma.“The inspiration for this work came from the beauty of the poem. It expresses the love for our country and I, like many other Ethiopians, exactly feel the way the writer feels. The images used touched my heart and I decided to write music for the poem, not necessarily to be performed by me,” says Girma.
It was a painstaking process to convert the poem into a rhyme scheme that people would like but a worthwhile experience, according the pianist.

The event which was sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute would be held on Thursday evening and around twenty people have been working hard to make it happen.

Poets and actors would be doing a series of readings of the late poet and their own on Thursday night on the occasion. Fikadu Teklemaryam, Haymanot Alemu, Getnet Eniyew are among those who would participate in poetry recital.

Girma would lead the musical show, with participation of saxophonist Aklilu Zewde, flutist Yohannes Afework, drummer Amahayesus Assefa, sound engineer Nistsuh Yilma , and sopranoist Ruth Duencan. 

The vocal performer is a young musician. Genet Demessei and Mekbul Jemal would the do the dance. 

Gebre kristos’s “My country” was written during the poet’s stay in Cologne, Germany in the 1970’s and was described as one of the most patriotic Amharic poem ever penned.

Gebre Kristos passed away in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1981.

Categories: City Journal
  1. Ester
    May 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    This is a commendable work. But why only Gebre kirstos? Why not Eskunder Bogohossain?

  2. ab
    May 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I agree. Why not Tsegaye Gebremedhin, etc? The problem is that you cannot force inspiration.

    I would love to hear how Girma came across the story of GebreKristos. Did you read it somewhere? Or hear of him in Germany?

  3. Selamawit
    May 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    The poetry book was published 3 yeard ago. One can find Gebre Kristos poetry on this site. http://web.missouri.edu/~asfawa/GKD.pdf

    Hagere “My country” in on page 41.

    You can also read his other poems on :http://web.missouri.edu/~asfawa/ta.html

    He iz an amazing poet. Timeless poetry.

  4. Selamawit
  5. Tizita
    May 15, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Thanks Arefe for letting me know about the event.It was a beauitiful magical evening.
    Hope to read your review in the weeks time.

  6. Miki
    May 15, 2009 at 6:01 am

    wow Endet Yemiamir mishit neber.
    Ebakachu endihi aynet zigigit beden adrgu.

  7. May 15, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    To see gkdesta’s materpieces go to the website

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: