Artist Bio

Dawit Firew Hailu is an Ethio-Jazz Artist from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is the son of Firew Hailu, a legendary vocalist and musician. The late Firew Hailu was one of the famous singer and instrument players who came to fame during the 1950's. Dawit had a very deep music interest from his childhood. When he completed his higher education, he went to Yared Music School and graduated with a Major Clarinet, minor Piano and traditional Masinko.

He then joined Ethiopian National Theatre and played Alto Saxophone and worked for almost ten years. Dawit, while working with Ethiopian National Theatre Modern Band played with so many Bands and one of them is the Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group, the latter Addis Acoustic Project. He played with the band and took part on 'Tewesta - Remembrance Album' where he has shown his extraordinary clarinet skill with Ethiopian touch.

He has performed at several jazz venue like the Jazzamba, the Coffee House and other jazz sessions. He also performed with foreign musicians like Supernova, The Either orchestra and famous Cuban American Clarinet Player Paquito d'rivera.

Dawit has released three albums, the first title of Dawit Firew's CD is 'Firew' named After his father Firew Hailu'. He later released his second album under the title 'Tila Kelelaye' which he dedicates to the most famous legend Ethiopian vocalist Tilahun Gessese. Recently in 2018 (2010 E.C) he released his third album entitled 'Ethiopiyawitua' which he named to his Clarinet.

Dawit has participated at different world music concerts and festivals. He performed in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, the Middle East and different parts of Africa. Dawit has a vision to work with International Music Bands and wants to play his part in promoting Ethiopian Music in order to reach audiences from around the world.


My Life & career

Before 1997


I grew up in a household with an accordion, enjoying my respected and well known father - Artist Firew Hailu - play in the house, and latter years watching my fathers music on the stage and on television.

My career began as a self taught musician in the early years of my primary education. Latter after graduating 12th grade in 1997 (1989 E.C), i joined the Yared Music School to major in Clarinet, minor Piano and traditional Masinko.



I joined Ethiopian National Theatre and played Alto Saxophone and worked for almost ten years. While working with Ethiopian National Theatre Modern Band I also played with other Bands.



My first album is entitled "Firew" named After my father Firew Hailu. 'Firew' also means 'offspring' and I'm the son of him.

09 May 2008


Addis Acoustic Project, formerly of Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group, is an acoustic band Comprised of Addis Ababa's greatest acoustic musicians that has revitalised songs from Ethiopia's 50s and 60s repertoire, by mixing them with jazz, Latin and East African sounds and rhythms. "The concept of the project is to capture and preserve the instrumentation of those days, but giving it a new twist."

The band, composed of Dawit Firew (Clarinet), Ayele Mamo (Mandolin), Shaleka Melaku Tegegn (Accordion), Girum Mezmur (Guitar/Arrangement), Henock Temesgen (Double Bass), Natnael Tessema (Drums/Percussions), and Mesale Legesse (Kebero/Percussions). Directed and arranged by guitarist Girum Mezmur.

The Addis Acoustic Project plays at the Jazzamba every Friday night, and is part of a rebirth of jazz music in the Ethiopian capital. Jazzamba: the Ethiopian capital's only permanent jazz venue. Jazzamba is attached to the city's oldest hotel, the Taitu, which was founded by Emperor Menelik's wife at the turn of the last century.

The group musicians played with several of the great Ethiopian vocalists: Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete and Aster Aweke as well as Angelique Kidjo from Benin.

01 November 2009


Addis Acoustic Project has been selected to participate at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) 2009 which is due to be held at the Concert Center (Koncerthuset) in the Danish city of Copenhagen, from October 28 to November 1 , 2009. The Addis Acoustic Band was chosen from the nine hundred bands that applied to participate at event, becoming one of only forty bands that will participate at the event. WOMEX is the most important international professional music fair of its kind.

Addis Acoustic band also took part on "Selam Africa Festival" which took place on November 6 to 9, 2009, in Stockholm, Sweden. The Addis Acoustic band is played with well known artists from all over the world.



With my Ethio-jazz group Addis Acoustic Project, we played in Denmark, Sweden, and in Germany at Rudolstadt Jazz & Folk Music festival 2010 and jazz venues in Cologne and Frankfurt in 2012.

09 August 2011


The Addis Acoustic Project group released its first debut album "Tewesta" - Remembrance on the world music label, Harmonia Mundi/World Village in August 2011. The jazz-group performed at world music and jazz festivals across Europe.

"The Album is an updated brand of old-school Ethiopian jazz that irritates, insinuates, then ultimately seduces with snaking clarinet, itchy mandolin and jaunty accordion doing most of the best come-hither work."- as many said

Making its World Village debut, the Addis Acoustic Project, transports Ethiopia's instrumental popular hits of the 1950s and 1960s into the 21st century. Inspired by EastAfrican, Jazz, and Latin musical styles, the group creates an intoxicating blend of sounds that Mondomix.com called, a gentle groove with carefully rounded edges, in its goal of bringing back the glories of lost traditions.



My second album is called "Tila Kelelaye" which i dedicates to the most famous legend Ethiopian vocalist Tilahun Gessese and it is gift for the special memory from Firew Hailu to Tilahun Gessese.



With my Ethio-jazz group Addis Acoustic Project, we played in France in 2014.



"Ethiopiawitua" is the name of my third album which is released on 2018. The Clarinet, especially Dawit Firew's Clarinet is a country, a human, a mother, a sister and is a friend to me. Thats why this album named 'Ethiopiyawitua' after, to indicate my Clarinet



"Ye Ethiopiawinet Ashara (Abay Lib Geza)" is the name of my fourth album which is released on 2021. This Album is dedicated for The Victory of Adwa and The Great Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia.

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