ADDIS ABABA – Dr. Ali Birra, Ethiopian Artist best known for his Legendary Oromo songs, is undergoing treatment at Adama General Hospital.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the ailing artist of multiple talents on Wednesday in the hospital.
The PM visited the Artist together with first lady Zinash Tayachew and region President of Oromia Regional State Shimelis Abdissa.
Born in Dire Dawa City in 1947, Ali Mohammed Musa began his music career at the age of 13, joining Afran Qallo band.
He went on to get his stage name ‘Ali Birra’ meaning ‘Ali the spring’ in Oromifa – through the singing of the ’Birra dha Barihe’ song.
Ali produced his first album in 1971, the first in the history of Oromo music, according to MusicInAfrica.
He then recorded successful hits such as ‘Hin Yaadin,’ ‘Asabalee,’ ‘Ammalelee,’ and ‘Gamachu.’ His albums included Sudanese songs such as ‘Al-Habib Ween’ and Harari songs such as ‘Yidenqal.’
Speaking about his musical philosophy to travel book Culture Trip in 2016, he said: “I believe in small incremental changes to my music while staying faithful to its origins”.
“I have tried to use new technological means while respecting the past,” he added.
Ali said his music study in the US has enabled him “to better analyse music and its scales”.
“At the same time I can play many different instruments,” the artist said. “Many new musicians today are only vocalists or they can only play one instrument.”
The legendary Artist received an honorary doctorate of music degree from Jimma University in 2010 for his outstanding performances and unique songs whose messages touched the hearts and minds of millions.
Next year, Ali – singer, composer and poet – will celebrate his 60 years in the music scene of the East African nation.