Fantahun Shewankochew


Fantahun Shewankochew is a krar player, vocalist, and composer/arranger inspired by Tilahun Gessesse to pursue a musical career. A graduate of the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa, he worked as the music department coordinator of the Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa. Shewankochew has toured widely, from China in the East, to Venezuela in the west, and recorded profusely, including an album of Ethiopian love songs with the popular young singer Gigi. Since his arrival in Toronto in 2011, he has performed at Harbourfront Centre, the Music Gallery, and most notably with an all-star collective at the Glenn Gould Studio and the Luminato Festival.

Fantahun made Toronto his new home in 2011 and he has since collaborated with fellow Ethiopian and other Canadian musicians. In the same year he arrived in Toronto, for example, he got himself busy serving as artistic director of a spiritual concert & drama organized by fellow artists in collaboration with the choir of the Toronto Membere Birhan Saint Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Cathedral to raise fund for the construction of the Church’s new cathedral. The show was a complete sell-out and a phenomenal success.

Regarding his plans in music, Fantahun has a keen interest to introduce Ethiopian traditional music which he says has gained more and more popularity in many European countries but not so much here in Canada. In addition to his many personal projects in the pipeline, he plans to introduce to Canadians Ethiopia’s distinct modal system that is pentatonic called qenet, of which there are four main modes: tezeta, bati, ambassel, and anchihoye and other additional modes which are basically variants of the four modes.


Track artwork
Fikru ፍቅሩ Tadesse
Ethiopian Music: Fantahun Shewankochew - Kiraren Bikagnew
CAToronto, Canada


Fantahun Shewankochew
Profile added by Stanley Gazemba on 23 Sep 2015