Mekanisa is a district in the south-western part of Addis Ababa. Around 1961, American Lutheran missionaries and Ethiopian believers started worship in the mission’s guesthouse and rented one and a half years later a hall from the government. With the support of the then leaders and pastors of the congregation, Nathnael Abebe, James Gobena, Seyoum Gebreyes and others founded the congregation’s first (i.e., “A”) choir around 1972. It has also been one of the oldest choirs in the Mekane Yesus Church in Addis Ababa.
Mekanisa “A” Choir has produced gospel songs that were used hitherto in congregational worship across the country. The main songwriters were Sisay Habte, Seyoum Gebreyes and Nathnael Abebe. The choir benefitted from the nearby seminarians and theologians who contributed to the spiritual nourishment of the choir members.
Apart from their much-loved songs, the Mekanisa choir is remembered for using the saxophone. It was played by the late ex-pop singer [who is it? Seyoum Gebreyes?] who also wrote such powerful songs as Ya-Amlaake kaal ayaarijm (‘The word of my Lord never grows old’). This song was so popular that communist cadres converted the lyrics into “the words of the communist leaders won’t get old” and released their propaganda song over the government-controlled radio. Time, however, witnessed to which rendition remains true as the Mekanisa Choir and their songs outlasted the communist regime ousted in 1991.
The Mekanisa choir published five albums between 1979 and 2007. These cassettes advanced the choir’s singing tours to encourage persecuted Christians throughout the country. The choir is still serving mainly at the Mekanisa congregation with occasional invitations to sing at conferences in other congregations in Addis Ababa and its surrounding.
(1) የአምላኬ ቃል አያረጅም (‘The words of my Lord never grows old’). Cassette released by Mekane Yesus Cassette Ministry, Addis Ababa 1979.
(2) ቶሎ ብዬ እመጣለሁ (‘I will come soon’). Cassette released by Mekane Yesus Cassette Ministry, Addis Ababa 1980.
(3) አለኝ ወዳጅ (‘I have a Friend’). Cassette released by Mekane Yesus Cassette Ministry, Addis Ababa 1984.
(4) የሰማይ አምላክ ያከናውንልናል (‘The God of Heaven will give us success’). Cassette released by Mekane Yesus Cassette Ministry, Addis Ababa 1984.
(5) አለኝ ወዳጅ (‘I have a Friend’). DVD produced by the choir and released by Emana Book Center, Addis Ababa 2015.
Songs in hymn book
» Read manuscript (approx. 115 songs collected in the early 1980s)
Q: Are there sharp pictures of the choir (preferably before 1991)?
For further reading
Akineda Gebremedhin (1980). The Origin and Growth of Evangelical Christianity at Makanissa and Lideta. B.Th. Thesis. Addis Ababa: Mekane Yesus Seminary.
Launhardt, Johannes (2004). Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919-1991): With special reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Addis Ababa Synod (Studien zur Orientalischen Kirchengeschichte, 31). Münster: LIT Verlag. [p. 218-220 on Makanissa MY congregation]
Magarsaa Guutaa (2011). From a Humble Beginning to Advanced Standing: A History of Mekane Yesus Seminary (1960-2010). Addis Ababa: Mekane Yesus Seminary.
Q: Other literature (e.g., magazine for an anniversary, article in a Christian magazine or a B.Th. Paper)?