Yegna: The all-girl band taking Ethiopia by storm

About a year ago, I saw a music video called “Taitu”. The song is about Empress Taitu, King Menelik II’s wife. While I enjoyed the music, I had no idea about the people behind it at the time. I played it a few times, and once Teddy Afro came out with his hit song, of course I moved on to that and forgot all about it. I came across the song again and the dynamic band behind it, Yegna, recently.

Yegna translates as “ours” in Amharic. Yegna is a radio show revolving around five adolescent girls. The girls are also a band; and have been steadily gaining popularity in the past two years. Yegna were behind the hit song “Taitu” with the famous star Aster Aweke, and have come up with numerous other hit songs since then. Their radio show addresses social issues like child marriage and abduction. While shows that talk about different issues women face are quite common, what I did not expect at all is how creative I found Yegna to be. I found it absolutely entertaining and effective. It is not filled with the usual hum and drum about how harmful traditional practices are; instead the girls use music, humor and touching stories to get their message across. You have no choice but to love them and empathize with them as you listen to their lives. Yegna attempts to empower women and girls, and teaches that women can realize their dreams if they stay strong.

Yegna has also made it to the big screen- a film was made based on the radio show and it aired on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation about a month ago. As I was seeing it, I honestly felt inspired to do better with my life, and I can only imagine what the effect must be like for someone facing a lot of challenges. If you are not in Addis Ababa and can’t be glued to the radio on Sunday afternoons like me, you can always try to search for their show online; but in the meantime, you can enjoy one of my favorite songs from the movie. Adios!