“This is not looking good.” That is what I was said to myself when I arrived at the venue in which Derege Degefaw album release party was to take place. I mean, it was close to 1 a.m. and there were only a hand full of individuals present. So, I was doubtful of a positive turnout, not to mention organizers had to switch the place to hold the event at the last minute. I took a seat along with my friends, and started to adjust my camera and look at the pictures I took earlier on that day, which took maybe about five minutes. By the time I looked up, I was shocked at the number of people that were present at the party. It was as if they all came out of one bus. “Maybe a shuttle had brought all of them from the previous location,” I joked with a friend. Nevertheless, Derege’s album release party was live and full of energy. With DJ Menge in control of the boards, this party showcased not only Derege’s strong vocals but also his ability to move the crowd.
Derege’s album release party in New York City was part of his North American tour promoting his sophomore album since coming to the United States, “Zimechelige.” He is an artist with over 20 years of singing experience and despite the fact he has been in the States for ten years, it was his first show in New York City. He stated, “I heard that there is not a large häbäsha crowd in New York, and given the fact that there was not a lot of time for promotion, I did not know what to expect, but a lot of people showed up and I had a very enjoyable time.”
In contrast to most of the new artists, Derege possesses vocals skills that are reminiscent of traditional Ethiopian sounds. This was evident during his performance as he moved the crowd to not only his songs, but also to other artists such as Mahmoud Ahmed and Teddy Afro. Derege’s latest CD is available in most Ethiopian Markets and it is definitely worth checking out!