It’s been a while since Mélat made an appearance on these pages, but the DopeHouse favorite has released her first offering of 2017, “Negn (I am).”
A video off of her late-2016 album MéVen, the song is acapella and in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia (and Mélat’s heritage). “In Habesha culture, it is incredibly common for people to have, what is referred to as a ‘house name,’” she explains. “A ‘house name’ can be described as a made-up name for a family member that sticks to him/her as if it’s their first name. For some people, their actual name becomes so secondary that there may even be members of your own immediate family who can’t quite recall what your name actually is. Usually this ‘house name’ is derived from a physical or character attribute possessed by a person at a young age. In my case, although most of my family and friends have always called me by my given name, Mélat, neither one of my grandmothers thought that was what I should be called.
“My father’s mother would call me “Addis Alem.” She called me this from the moment I was born. I was the first grandchild born overseas, away from Ethiopia, so she aptly named me “New World.” From my birth, until the time she left this earth, to her, “Addis Alem” was my name.”