Art & CultureNews

Artist Ali Birra Laid to Rest in His Hometown

ADDIS ABABA – The legendary Ethiopian Artist Ali Muhammed Musa also known as Ali Birra was laid to rest in his hometown of Dire Dawa on Tuesday afternoon.

The artist passed away on November 6, 2022, at the age of 75 after a long illness.

Affectionately nicknamed Adeero – meaning uncle – he was part of a golden generation of Ethiopian musicians.

Born in Dire Dawa City in 1947, Ali’s six-decade-long music career began at the age of 13 with Afran Qallo band.

The multi-talented artist released his first album in 1971 and went on to compose hundreds of musical works mainly in Oromifa but also in five other languages.

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.

The artist received several awards from many international and domestic organizations as well as honorary doctorates from Dire Dawa and Jimma Universities.

On Tuesday, many paid their last tributes to him first in Addis Ababa Friendship Square and later in Dire Dawa Stadium in the presence of senior government officials, colleagues, friends, and relatives.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed referred to Ali as ”a light that does not go off” adding that his death was ”a loss for Ethiopia” because “he promoted unity, perseverance, and culture in his songs”.

Many others also paid similar tributes to him as a legend, Ethiopia’s most influential artist, a freedom fighter, a voice of justice and unity, and a cultural icon, among others. Musical expert Sertse Firesbhat called him “a genius”.

Ali Birra was laid to rest at the Leghare Muslim Cemetery in Dire Dawa on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.