The best introduction to Bay Area musician Meklit is through her 2015 track, “Kemekem (I Like Your Afro).”
Filled with bluesy electric guitar, and buttressed by an enthralling music video about an in-office attraction, “Kemekem” is a perfect example of Ethio-jazz, a style of music that fuses Afro-funk, soul, Latin, and jazz, and dates back to the 1950s.
In fact, “Kemekem,” Meklit says, is “an old, old song.”
“It’s a traditional song,” she says. “I was really excited about interpreting it because it was an opportunity to be very Ethiopian in an expression, while speaking across the diaspora.”
But, she adds, she also liked it because it’s a song “you could sway and bop and dance to.” It doesn’t “hit you over the head and feel like somebody’s trying to teach you a lesson.”
Rather, Meklit’s tunes are beautiful, mellifluous works of art, which you can hear in her first album, On a Day Like This. Her third record, When The People Move, The Music Moves Too, comes out June 23.
Catch Meklit at 9 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at Rickshaw Stop.