Born in Atlanta, USA to parents from Ethiopia, rising star Amain Berhane’s second album has been a long time coming – but it’s well worth the wait.
Amen: The Nomad’s Dream, which dropped in October, is 12 tracks of genre-busting poetry.
It blends the sounds of the Ethiopian roots of the artist – who goes by the stage-name of Berhana – with the music he loved to listen to when growing up in the USA.
“This album was all about how do I make the blend that sounds the most like me,” says the singer-songwriter.
Quote Message: If you listen to songs like Amen, Someday and the Nomad’s Dream, there’s a through line with some of the melodies from the Ethio-Jazz classics from the 1970s. But you’ll also hear auto-tune, things that feel like this is present, this is my world.”
If you listen to songs like Amen, Someday and the Nomad’s Dream, there’s a through line with some of the melodies from the Ethio-Jazz classics from the 1970s. But you’ll also hear auto-tune, things that feel like this is present, this is my world.”
The LA-based artist, who is also a screenwriter and filmmaker, burst onto the scene in 2016 with his self-titled EP.
Three years later, Berhana released his debut album Han.
The track, Janet – a tribute to actress Janet Hubert, who played Will Smith’s aunt in Fresh Prince of Bel Air – went viral. And Grey Luh was featured on the hit TV comedy series, Atlanta – about the hip hop scene of his hometown.
The second album is a different direction for Berhana and was sparked by his first-ever trip to Ethiopia in late 2019.
He travelled with his mother, who hadn’t been back to her homeland since she left 47 years ago.
“That experience was really powerful – this is the place I heard about every day and now I’m here, now I see everyone that looks like me.”
The album is “a deep dive in terms of my own self, my culture and my family”.
Berhana sees the album as “a proclamation of acceptance, acceptance of everything life has to give”.
Berhana now travels back to Ethiopia as often as he can.
He premiered the short feature film he made as a companion to the album in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It features six of the 12 tracks and, like the album, explores the duality of his experience as a first-generation immigrant living in the States.