Henok Temesgen: Jazzy Newyork To Hometown, Addis


Before working with famous Ethiopian musicians like Aster Awoke, Bizunesh Bekele, Tilahun Gessesse, and Tewodros Kassahun, Henock Temesgen, 54 studied at Howard University and earned a degree in Civil Engineering. He later went on to Berkley University, to shift his full attention to the music industry. Henok a co-founder of Jazzamba Music School, an institute dedicated to bring the next generation of Jazz musicians, with his long time friend and colleague Abegaz Kibrework Shiota, a famous composer.

Fortune: Key Priorities

HT: During the 1990’s, I went to Boston University. It was the time where my career as a musician began. So, at that moment the most important thing in my life was being successful in the music industry.

Things have changed a lot since then. I’ve moved back to my country, I got married and my perspectives changed. But still, the major thing in my life is achieving something enormous in the music industry.

I have so much passion to teach music. But, I want to be a great husband and father too.

What Tickles the Taste Buds?

HT: It has been almost 30 years since I become a vegetarian. I’m not the vegan type; I eat animal products other than red beef and chicken. While I was in New York, my favourite food was soya bean. However, after I moved back here, I started to favour Ethiopian meals consumed during fasting times, especially the one with different foods, Beyaynetu.

Evolution of Earnings

HT: I’m not comfortable sharing my income with the general public. But generally, back then, I only earned enough to finance my expenses. But, after my return, even though I don’t consider myself highly paid, I live in much better conditions when compared to older times. This is mainly because life is cheaper here in than in New York.

Splashing Out on Fashion

HT: I am not really that fashion conscious. Two decades ago, I used to wear these simple luxury clothes in New York, called Banana Republic. Presently, leather jackets are my most expensive clothing items.

Switching Off

HT: I used to spend my free time watching movies, riding my bicycle and roller blading. Nowadays, I enjoy playing tennis, riding my motorcycle and competing in horseback riding during my spare time.

Major Aspirations

HT: When I was young, my aspiration was to have a good wife. Now I aspire to make a positive change in the Ethiopian music industry.

Perception of Death

HT: It hasn’t really changed. But I fear death when I think of those people I would leave behind.

In Your CD Collection

HT: Over that period of time, I was a fan of jazz music, like ”Pass it On” by Yellow Jacket. At present, besides jazz, I also favour older music.

Your Inspiration

HT: In the past, I can say I was inspired by Jacob Pastores – an influential American jazz musician, composer, big band leader and electric bass player. But, nowadays, I’m inspired by my father ‘Temesgen Megnaqa”, since my lifelong goal is to be the best dad possible.

Tipping the Scales

HT: I used to weigh 65kg. However, at this moment I weigh 70kg.

Favourite Brands

HT: In the past, I used to love Seiko branded watches. Presently, I have started to favour hats and capes, especially since after becoming bald. This helps to protect my scalp from the sun and cold.

Lost Passions

HT: Back in the day, while I was in New York, I got the chance to see free concerts of famous musicians, like James Brown. I really miss those moments.

Celebrating Festivities

HT: Back then, I used to celebrate with my sisters and brother, who were in the US at that time. Nowadays, I spend my holidays with my wife and loved ones.

Published on May 03,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 835]



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