Kuku Sebsebe

Kuku Sebsebe (surname also spelled Sebsibe) is an Ethiopian popular singer. She lived in the Washington, DC, area of the United States for many years but moved back to Ethiopia c. 2003. She generally performs with synthesizer and drum machine accompaniment, occasionally with the addition of traditional instruments such as the krar or other instruments such as the electric guitar. While she uses modern instruments and harmonies, her vocal style is essentially traditional, using modes such as tezeta.

Life and career

Kuku was born on December 8 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She spent a majority of her education at Nazareth school and graduated from American Mission. Kuku’s interest in music sprouted from a very young age. Since the age of nine, she used to entertain her classmates by mimicking all the popular artists of both Amharic and English music by using her lunch box as a drum. Her passion and love for music was nourished by her father, Dejazmach Sebsebe Shiberu’s jam sessions at their home and his musical/peptic background.

At the age 15, Kuku presented her father’s own property [as well as collections of other verses] to her favorite singer Muluken Melesse. The first time she performed on stage with was at her graduation party at Hilton hotel. Her classmates accustomed to her caroling pushed her on stage and set her way for a career in music. This musical act led her to work both with Ibex and Wallias band. She worked with Ibex band at Ras hotel for short time and went on to be the first female singer to perform at Hilton hotel with Wallias band appearing 5 days a week.

Shortly after her first gig, Kuku then joined Roha band at Ghion hotel, becoming the first vocalist of the group, and recorded her first hit single “ingidayenesh’’ with Alemayehu Eshete.

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Ethiopian Music, Kuku Sebsebe