The Face of God’s People | Malka Ingedashet

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 20:07 PM EDT, 16 April 2014

Malka Ingadeshet, Ethiopian Israeli Singer/Vocalist

TEL AVIV, Israel - One evening while writing and listening to a cool internet site that features music from the African Diaspora, the dulcet sound of a soulful vocalist captured my attention. I minimized my screen and quickly caught the end of an intoxicating and melodic video.

An avid connoisseur of world music in general, and neo-soul in particular, her passionate rendering and bending of the language, was intriguing, especially since I admire an artist's ability to shape music beyond the pitch and tone, through phraseology, words, rhythms, and cultural context.

I am captivated by the music of singers like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Les Nubians and Floetry; so when I heard this vocalist's voice, I was certain that I had not heard the song before, nor was it performed by one of these musicians. Each of the aforementioned vocalists has a very distinctive and recognizable sound, and this was equally so.

To my surprise, I discovered that the song playing was sung by an Ethiopian Israeli vocalist named Malka Ingedashet. With so much negative news out of Israel, particularly about the human rights abuses, and the fate of Ethiopian Jewry who seem to suffer under a system of discrimination reminiscent of the pre-Civil Rights Era in America; it was nice to hear something positive and enjoyable.

After some research, I was able to locate a site where one can download a MP3 version of her music, as well as listen to all the clips from her album. Like many people, it takes a lot for me to buy a CD, because the songs often promoted on radio, videos, etc., are usually the strongest cut and the rest of the tracks are fillers. I was pleased to hear that each and every track was as strong as the video below which is titled, "Under Your Eyes" when translated from Hebrew to English.

Malka's sister, Ayala is equally talented. It is incredible that G-d would bless one family with so much talent, such diversity of sound, an incredible story of survival and arrival, as well as the ability to communicate fluently in Amharic and Hebrew two ancient languages spoken in biblical times.

In an effort to learn more about this family of vocalist, I discovered a wonderful article written about Malka in The Jerusalem Post, titled "An Independent Aliya" by Nathan Burstein.

I liked the fact that the writer chose to focus the article on Ayala's Aliya, the term used when a non-Israeli is granted citizenship based upon being Jewish. Mr. Burstein managed to communicate her story without getting into the politics of Judaism, the Right of Return, or the issues surrounding the assimilation of Ethiopian Jewry. It is truly an article written about the artist and her art.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SJFz2ptPHc]

Ayala's song titled Memaheret "איילה אינגדשט - "ממהרת which translates as "Hurrying Up" is equally intriguing.  A reader was kind enough to provide me with a brief translation of this song which is "sung in Hebrew (like her other songs), but there are some short verses in Tigrinya." ~ Rachel

Where are you rushing to, why are you giving up? Doesn’t matter what will be tomorrow, live the now, that is what is left, stick to love, going with the flow is allowed Leave something, leave some strength… Not everything fits to your expectations Don’t hide the light, raise your face Your whole life is ahead of you.

Ayala and Malka have a another sister named Meri who is also a vocalist. Below are links to all three singers MySpace pages:

It is my hope that you enjoy the music, and inspire you to learn more about African/Ethiopian Jewry. Contrary to popular belief, Jews come from every nation and every people. The link above will take you to an article about the Lemba tribe in South Africa who through DNA have been confirmed as Jews. I encourage you to conduct your own research and come to an informed conclusion about these ancient, noble "People of the Book".

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Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor-in-Chief: @ayannanahmias