The popular singer who fought and won the worst aspect of life


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The popular singer who fought and won the worst aspect of life. Bitsat Seyoum was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She attended ‘Felege Yordanos Elementary School’ (starting at the age of 4) and ‘Shemeles Habte Secondary School’. She always loved singing and was encouraged by many friends to perform. One thing led to another and Bitsat found herself beginning her singing career in an ‘Azmari Bet’ (a traditional venue where musicians {azmaris} alongside dancers and instrumentalists, perform traditional Ethiopian music). Her music was discovered by many and soon, she was touring internationally.

 

For 20 years, Seyoum ran a successful nightclub in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, named Bitsat (her name translates as 'gift of god' in the Amharic language) where she regularly performed. Bitsat Seyoum is well known in the local Ethiopian community and to fans of her renowned Footscray restaurant in Addis Abeba. But before settling in Australia five years ago, she was a famous performer in the Ethiopian capital.

 

Seyoum’s other specialty at her Addis Ababa club was performing a uniquely Ethiopian style of improvised poetry called 'wax and gold', in which the words have two meanings – a superficial meaning, the 'wax', and a hidden meaning, the 'gold'. Popular with lovers sending secret messages to each other or used for fooling censors, its double entendres and wordplay are much loved in Ethiopia. It was a style that required the listener to be well-versed in Amharic and familiar with the cultural references.

 

Having visited Australia as a guest of the Ethiopian community in 2007, when she was invited to perform for the Coptic millennium celebrations, Seyoum sought refuge there after encountering a problem with the government back home. She went on to create a successful career for herself abroad and has performed at numerous festivals, among them Emerge Festival alongside other Ethiopian greats.

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