Dereje Kebede (Dr)

Dereje Kebede was born in Addis Ababa in 1957/58. Dereje grew up shouldering family responsibilities since his parents passed away at an early age and his elder brother, songwriter Million Kebede, was killed during the Ethiopian Revolution. A song of the Mulu Wongel Tsion Choir, “Heal me Jesus”, transformed his life and aroused in him the desire to serve God as a singer. Dereje joined the choir of Meserete Kristos Church in Bole (a subcity of Addis Ababa) and started solo singing some time later.

Dereje Kebede was the first gospel singer to publish an audio cassette. He was also the first soloist to present the electrical keyboard (album no. 3) and Ethiopian traditional instruments (album no. 4) as accompaniment. Dereje introduced new musical styles to Ethiopian gospel music. He served as a solo singer at the nation-wide Evangelical Churches Fellowship Conference in Nazareth in 1976 as well as at regional conferences in Hawassa, Wolaytta Soddo, Jimma, Debre Zeyt, etc. In the late 1970s, Dereje Kebede joined Mekane Yesus Church (Entotto congregation).

The military regime pressured Dereje to compose revolutionary songs. However, he continued expressing his resistance against the official atheistic ideology. As a consequence, Dereje was imprisoned for six months. In the early 1980s he moved to Kenya and six years later to the U.S.

Dereje holds a BA in Agriculture (Addis Ababa University), an MA in Religious Education (Luther Seminary), an MA in Addiction Science (University of South Dakota) and a Doctor in Health Science (Nova Southeastern University). He was a nurse for several years and is now working as a Private Health Policy Consultant and Drug and Alcohol Addiction Therapist.


(1) የለም ይል ጀመረ (“He began to say He [God] does not exist”). Cassette released by xxxx, Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

[Cf. lyrics of vol. 1 (አንደኛ ፡ ካሴት) on ???]

(2) ገና በእኛ ወንጌል ዓለም ይለወጣል] (“The World Will be Transformed in our Gospel”). Cassette released by Addis Ababa Meserete Kristos Church Cassette Ministry, Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

Vol. 2

(3) በምስጋና ሆ! (“Hurray in Praise”). Cassette released by xxxx, Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

(4) እግዚአብሔር ሰው ቢሆን (“If God becomes Mere Human”). Musically accompanied by Alemayehu Fanta on Masinko, Krar and Washint. Cassette released by The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus – Yemisrach Dimts [YDCS], Addis Ababa, 1980 [1972 AM] (Accompanied )

[Cf. lyrics of vol. 4 (መንግሥተ ሰማይ; Mengeste Semay) on ???]

(5) ልስገድለት ይሄም አነሰበት (“Let me bow for Him, and this too is too small”). Cassette released by YDCS [first released by Abel Kebede and Nigatua Kebede], Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

(6) ዝም አልልም (“I Shall Not Be Silent”). Cassette released by YDCS, Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

» Read lyrics of selected songs on

Vol. 6 (image from

(7) ሕይወት ይሻለናል (“Life is Better for Us”). Cassette released by Abel Kebede and Nigate Kebede (Kaleb Music and Books Distributor), Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

Vol. 7

(8) ብሩህ የድል ጠዋት (“Bright Victorious Morning”). Cassette released by xxxx, Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

(9) የአድናቆት ቀን ለእግዚአብሔር (“An Appreciation Day for God”). Cassette released by The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus [YDCS?], Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

» Read lyrics on

Vol. 9 (from

(10) አዳኜ የሱስ (“My Savior Jesus”). Collection of previous songs; cassette released by Kebron Spiritual Music Shop, Addis Ababa, 19xx [19xx AM]

» Read lyrics of album no. 10:

» Press bottom right button for magnification (full screen)

Songs in hymn books

Mert Mazmurat (1975ff)

Vol. 6:25, 6:27

Waa’i galaxxamona (2013)

No. 580 (music; Hadiyya lyrics by Amaanu’eel ko’ayer, Amburse’e)

Songs in other hymn books



» Follow Dr Dereje Kebede on Facebook

» Visit Dr Dereje Kebede’s official YouTube channel


» Listen to selected albums and songs


» Watch selected worship services and interview


(year ?)

(Please add pictures of gospel singer Dereje Kebede in the 1970s and 1980s)

For further reading

Tekletsadik Belachew (2002). Theology of Dereje Kebede: An Ethiopian Soloist. Term paper submitted for the course “African Theology” at EGST, Addis Ababa.

» Read Tekletsadik Belachew’s pieces on
the theology of Dereje Kebede

Tekletsadik Belachew