Israeli singer reclaims Ethiopian roots

Ethiopian-Israeli artist AvevA Dese is a powerful R&B singer and a songwriter whose Afro groove sound incorporates the Ethiopian rhythms of her heritage.

Dese’s parents are Ethiopian Jews who made a harrowing journey on foot from Ethiopia to a refugee camp in Sudan in 1984 during a famine. From there, they and thousands of other Jews were airlifted to Israel as part of Operation Moses.

Dese was born in Israel four years later. Growing up in Nazareth Illit, she rejected her Ethiopian heritage, along with the Amharic language. Her parents spoke Amharic to each other at home, but when her mother spoke to her in Amharic, Dese insisted on replying in Hebrew.


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