Place of Birth: Gondar, Ethiopia
Genres: Ethiopian music
Labels: Buda Musique, Columbia/SME Records
Goodwill Ambassador since: 2010
Renewed in: 2013
Works with UNICEF on: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
Discography: 1989 Aster, 1991 Kabu, 1993 Ebo, 1997 Live in London, 1999 Hagere, 2002 Sekuar, 2004 Asters Ballads, 2006 Fikir, 2010 Checheho, 2013 Ewedihalehu
"I am glad that I can do things for children with UNICEF that I could not do on my own."Aster Aweke was born in Gonder, near Lake Tana, in Northern Ethiopia and raised in the capital city of Addis Ababa. At a very young age, Aster realized her passion for singing. As a teenager in a society that did not place a high premium on the singing profession, her decision to undertake a musical career was a difficult one to make. She knew that her choice to pursue a high-profile role in music, especially as a woman, would mean traveling a long and lonely road.
Aster launched her professional singing career at Hager Fikir Theater. In the late 1970’s, she began performing at Addis Ababa night clubs, cultivating her songwriting and singing technique and emulating Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer and other Western vocalists whose records were popular in the local discos. She performed at various clubs and hotels, including Hotel D'Afrique, Wabi Shebelle and Ras Hotel, accompanied by the Continental Band, Shebele Band, and Ibex Band (before they became known as the Roha Band).
To date, Aster has released a total of 23 albums, six of them on CD – Aster, Kabu, Ebo, and Aster Aweke Live in London, Hagerë, Sugar, Aster’s Ballads, Fikir and Checheho. While eight of the CDs were recorded in various studios, the Live CD was recorded on September 16, 1996, during a sold-out concert at the prestigious London club, Hammersmith Le Palais, celebrating the Ethiopian New Year (1989 A.D.). A music video of this concert has been made, as well. Since her first CD release, Aster, she has performed for audiences at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, and various European festivals. Aster has shared the stage with renowned singers and performers, including Hue Masekela, Maria Makeba, Mano Dibango and Bradford Marsalis.
Checheho, her 23rd album, was released in 2010. This electrifying album has delighted long-time and new fans alike. Aster released her latest album Ewedihalehu on September 10th 2013.