Haymanot’s music constructs a compelling conversation somewhere between the avant-garde & the traditional, whilst her singing has an astonishing and diverse range which mesmerises her audiences. She performs solo & in duo with Iranian virtuoso percussionist Arian Sadr.
Haymanot’s repertoire is rooted in interpretations of iconic Amharic language songs & musical scales like Tezeta and Ambassel. Of these pieces, she says ‘when I sing these songs I always sing them differently depending on what I get from the musicians I play with and the whole atmosphere. I like to be free! So the way I sing is always new even if I’m playing on the same scale and using the same words. Sometimes I play something new which I don’t even remember when I leave the stage. I want to give my audiences the new me always. What makes me happy is that I know that I gave them something they can take with them. People tell me that my singing is therapeutic for them and they thank me for singing, but the truth is that I am also happy while I’m singing’
Haymanot’s 2019 debut album Loosening the Strings (Vacilando ’68) captures profound soul and enchanting spiritualism, connecting to a sense of deep reflection on her roots. The music is experimental, improvised and daring, & has that feeling of a field recording about it.
Haymanot’s unique style has won her well-deserved recognition as a star emerging artist on the UK African & World Music scene, with live performances for BBC Radio 3 at Free Thinking Festival SAGE Gateshead, London African Music Festival at VORTEX, for Sam Lee’s NEST Collective, at WOMAD Charlton Park, Celebrating Sanctuary Southbank & Rich Mix, Journeys Festival International Leicester, Platforma Festivals & Conferences Leicester & Manchester, Talking Gigs Sheffield, and in front of the House of Commons at a Partners for Change event.
‘The ambience of those performances is reflected on the album, and using only the krar and a drum, it’s a bold debut. Yet it doesn’t need anything else as it’s simply beautiful’ (African Music Guide)