Afework Nigussie is an Ethiopian musician and singer from the Gondar region in North Ethiopia, who grew up in the capital Addis Abeba. He is a master of the masinko, a claret shaped violin with thick snares and goat skin which gives a strong sound that trembles into your belly and bones. He also plays a wide range of traditional Ethiopian string, wind and percussive instruments. His musical background is that of the ancient Azmari tradition, the wandering minstrels who carried the latest news and social criticism in loud songs from village to village, from door to door. Yet in his case, he chooses not to copy the old Azmari lines, but rather recreate his own songs that belong to current times, whether in secular or spiritual folk styles. Nigussie is a contemporary songwriter and composer who prefers to look forward instead of back.
Since several years, Nigussie lives in Rotterdam, a city with a blooming Ethiopian and Eritrean community. Over the years he has collaborated with Ethiopian jazz greats such as Mulatu Astatke and Getatchew Mekuria and with Dutch punkband The Ex. If not
At what age did you start playing the masinko violin and why did you pick this instrument?
I love the masinko as it was the best instrument to take. I studied music from 13 years old and I started playing the masinko w