Berhana’s “Latest Musical Triumph” (BET) Is An Odyssey of Self-Discovery Through the Ethiopian Diaspora

Photo by Girma Berta
October 21 2023


“His latest musical triumph.”


“Impressive...a blend of sonic elevation and cultural elevation.”


“Icy cool while simultaneously nice and warm.”


“A cosmic aria a la The Neptunes.”


Gone (Abebe Bikila)
Like a Habit
Break Bread
The Nomad’s Dream
Don’t Go
Going Home

Amén የዘላን ህልም (The Nomad’s Dream)” is out now, buy/stream it here.

Today, Berhana delivers the sprawling, revelatory Amén የዘላን ህልም (The Nomad’s Dream), a high-concept meditation on heritage, romance, family, and individuality. The album releases via EQT Recordings and is available to stream now. Stream Amén የዘላን ህልም (The Nomad’s Dream) here.

Berhana also announces The Nomad’s Tour, a run of North American headlining dates kicking off this Spring. Tickets are on-sale here.

Across Amén የዘላን ህልም (The Nomad’s Dream), Berhana — pulling from his own experience as a first generation immigrant — takes listeners on a journey of personal and romantic maturation, searching for connection with his ancestral land whilst simultaneously forging a meaningful life in America. Through trips to Addis Ababa and deep dives at Ethiopian record stores, he began to foster a deeper appreciation for his culture — and for the East African diaspora at large.

The project is the result of that self-discovery: a multilayered triumph of sounds, textures, experiences, and indeed lessons to be absorbed by any child of the diaspora and beyond. Cinematically-paced and vividly-colored, the album heavily incorporates Ethio-jazz melodies and instrumentation while also pulling from 90s neo-soul, vintage house, modern Afrobeat, and the resurgent ongoing conversation between modern hip-hop and jazz music.

BET describes it as “his latest musical triumph…featuring instrumentals and melodies rooted in the Horn of Africa while joining forces with more modern and direct R&B production,” while Wonderland says it’s “impressive…a blend of sonic elevation and cultural exploration.”

Lead single “Gone” — which LA tastemaker station KCRW describes as “icy cool, while simultaneously nice and warm” — pays tribute to Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian Olympic marathoner who, while running barefoot, won Gold medals in back-to-back Olympics in the 1960s. Listen here, and watch Berhana break down “Gone” in depth for BET’s #Unboxed series here.

Rolling Stone deemed “Like A Habit” a Song You Need To Know — the track falls somewhere between the momentous push-and-pull of vintage vocal house and the lush soundscapes of Janet Jackson’s more club-centric Y2K-era hits. Watch the “Like A Habit” video here.

Meanwhile, Clash describes “Break Bread” is “a cosmic aria a la The Neptunes.” Listen to “Break Bread” here.

Alongside the album, Berhana releases a short film The Nomad’s Dream, a work that is in its own right as layered and mesmerizing as the music it accompanies. Film screenings have been held in London, New York, Los Angeles and indeed Addis Ababa, all to critical reception. Inspiration for the film was taken from 1966 student film Have A Coke, which was put together by Ethiopian students studying at UCLA. Stream The Nomad’s Dream short film here.

Berhana first entered public consciousness in 2016 with the self titled Berhana EP which was acclaimed across the board, praised for its immersive nature and deeply personal insights into the life of a twenty-something creative. In 2019, Berhana released his debut album HAN, which taking cues from Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest, included a narrator interwoven throughout and was praised for the “immersive, documentary-style quality” (FADER) of its music as well as its “kaleidoscopic blend of pop, R&B, electronica and psychedelic soul” (Essence).

Recently, Berhana sat down with the This Is The Greatest Song I’ve Ever Heard In My Entire Life podcast to talk about his love for Hailu Mergia and how his family roots played in the writing of Amén. Listen here.

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