First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest sorrow and extend my heartfelt condolences to Ali Birra`s close family and to the large Ethiopian community who adores the iconic legend. I wish him the best in the next chapter, the inevitable, which is human beings’ final destination.
It never fails for a memorable song to take us back in time to the first place we heard them… more so if they have catchy tunes. They remind us the people we were with when we heard the particular song, the ambiance, the mood of the specific time – sadness (if we were depressed facing rough time) or happiness (if we were in celebration, deep in love euphoric state in cloud nine).
Like millions of Ethiopians, I grew up listening and enjoying Ali Birra`s unsurpassed fantabulous music. Personally, AMALÉLÉ, AWASH and all his HARRARI songs are etched deep in my memory to remain there forever – for me to pull out of the cache at my luxury whenever I feel nostalgic to virtually travel without leaving the comfort of my seat wherever I maybe at the time. I`m indebted to Ali Bira for that.
Understanding the meaning of the word he says in his songs taking the back seat, as irrelevant, we hum or whistle when alone – when in group in tandem we raise our voices loud and sing along in harmony, raising arms up in motion moving side to side. As we speak I`m humming his tune celebrating him.
Ali Birra was a consummate advocate of human rights. He was voice for the voiceless. Through his songs he touched souls, he stirred the dormant creating awareness, goes deep into the conscious of the power to be of the time and demanded fairness while promoting the concept throughout the years he never compromised his love for one motherland Ethiopia.
Personally, while admiring his aforementioned quality besides the love, we share for one motherland we attended the same school even though at different times – in Addis at Nativity Boys school (he was at the high school) and in Los Angeles at Santa Monica College where I took courses in drawing, music and theatre as elective courses along with my other core study courses he studied as his core course music. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Washington DC. Albeit, he departed from his loved ones physically… through his songs Ali Bira will always be with us. Rest in Peace brother Ali Birra – we love you – Ethiopia loves you.