Netsanet by Zelalem Negatu


“The hard lockdown was a difficult and confusing time for me and triggered some bad memories and feelings from my past.  I wrote this song on the second day of lockdown when I almost felt as if we wouldn’t get out alive!

Netsanet (Freedom is Expensive) ነፃነት ዋጋው ውድ ነው is based on a native Ethiopian scale and captures a mix of emotions I felt – anger, sadness and loneliness.

It captures the missing of human contact. It questions the meaning of freedom, the meaning of life.

It’s a prayer for better days.”

Netsanet (Freedom is Expensive)
ነፃነት ዋጋው ውድ ነው

Written by Zelalem Negatu
Drum Programming – Zelalem Negatu
Arrangement and Keyboard Solo – Zelalem Negatu
Bass Guitar – Chris Frangou 
Lead Guitar – Jack McCarty
Saxophone – Solomon Sisay
Vocals, Mixing and Mastering – Nhattnael Ayalew (Nhatty Man) at Milo Mix

ABOUT Zelalem Negatu

Ethiopian born contemporary jazz musician Zelalem Negatu came to Australia in September 2013 and has since established himself in Australia with Reggage and Ethiopian Jazz bands including Nhatty Man, JAzmaris, Lalibelas, JahKnow and Rasta Unity. Zelalem started playing music at an early age and graduated from the “Teferi Mekonin College, Art Department” in Ethiopia. He performed with numerous top bands in Ethiopia including Zemen Band, Mehari Brothers Band, Yeha Band, 251 Band, Meleket Jazz Band and Nhatty Man, who he has continued to collaborate with in Australia.

He is a consummate drummer and has also developed his talents with composition and production of music that bring traditional Ethiopian scales and rhythms together with jazz and reggae influences.

In his 8 years in Australia he has performed extensively on national and international music festival circuits including stages such as WOMADelaide, MONA FOMA, Arts Centre Melbourne, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Melbourne International Jazz Festival to name a few.

Image credit: Zelalem Negatu. Courtesy the artist.

Netsanet by Zelalem Negatu is created for Shelter 2.

Shelter 2 is proudly supported by VicHealth, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and Australia Council for the Arts.