Muluken Melesse (born 1954) is an Ethiopian singer and drummer. He later abandoned his music career to involve himself in the Pentecostal Church.
Melesse was born in Gojjam, a province in northern Ethiopia. When he was six, he moved to Addis Ababa with his uncle. In 1966, aged 12, Melesse began his musical career singing at night clubs and in groups founded by night club owners, with his first song to be performed on stage, Enate Sitewoldgne Metchi Amakerchign.
His first song on vinyl was Hedetch Alu, which was recorded in 1972 by Girma Bèyènè (piano and arrangements), Tesfa Mariam Kidane (tenor sax), Tekle Adhanonm (guitar), Fekade Amde Meskel (bass), Tesfay Mekonnen (drums) and Melesse himself. In 1975, he recorded his second song, Wetetie Mare and Ete Endenesh Gedawo, with 'Equator Band'. While the rest of the band emigrated to the United States of America, Melesse remained to join the Pentecostal Church in the 1980s, having ended his musical career.
While he remained one of the best voices of the Ethiopian 70s, unlike other performers of the time, Muluken never seems to have been taped by the official state television.
Sometime in the early 1980s Muluken became a born-again Christian, mostly associated with the Ethiopian Evangelical movement.
Muluken has supposedly been repeatedly approached to return to his secular music roots but his refusal has, as of February 2014, been steadfast.
Muluken is married and resides in Washington DC metropolitan area. He ministers by traveling all over the world. Famous songs by Melesse include "Yeregeme lebe", "Kumetish loga neu", "Wedijesh Nebere" and "Tenesh Kelbe Lay". His song "Nanu Nanu Ney" was an old favorite.
- An album of his music, Muluken Melesse Vol. 1'' is available from AIT Records.
- Contributing artist
- The Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia (2004, World Music Network)