The music of Layne Tadesse creates the sort of reaction that East-African peace kings would draw from a crowd because the message within his lyrics clearly defines peace, love and unity.
For Layne Tadesse who grew up as an East-African refugee, the only thought was to survive. His parents were transitioning through continents under the pressure of war. “Safety to America” was his parents goal and a real struggle for a long period of time. He was taught to always be grateful for the opportunity to come to America and he says that he only found comfort by listening to his people’s Eritrean music.
The civil war was a battle for ethnic Eritrean independence from communist Ethiopia. Although Eritrea gained its independence in 1991, Tadesse had already left the country as a refugee in 1978 when he was 8-years-old.
He wants to tell the entire Horn-of-Africa to start educating themselves and stop relying on aid, that the African people can work out their differences on their own. There is still a great amount of upheaval throughout Africa, but Tadesse believes Eritrea is the only country living there in unity.
“I’m Christian and one of the most important things to know is 50 percent of Eritrea is Christian and 50 percent is muslim [who live]together in harmony and respect,” he said. “The only African country that lives peaceful because they fought together for independence and celebrate 30 years of freedom from such a ravaged war.”
He believes the answer is within the international rules and if there is stability in the Horn-of-Africa then peace will follow all over.
“If one is wrong, one must follow the international law, not the US law, but the international law,” he said. “If we know how to follow that law, we will know how to create peace and a peaceful Horn of the entire continent of Africa.”
He knows the struggle and as a child he went from physical suffering and hunger to social pollution in America.
“In my youth, it wasn’t easy, it was a hard situation being a refugee because I didn’t know the english language at first, kids caught on and made fun of me. “You’re African, you live in a hut, you have a spear,’”Tadesse said.
Here is a video that depicts what victory looks like to Tadesse.
“We had to fight for our human rights because we came to America as refugees during the war when it broke out from Ethiopia,” he said.” It was the music that was heard from the revolutionist that influenced me most.”
He believes Eritrea is ready for a peaceful resolution to the binding of its borders, by following the international law, “there will be peace in the Horn-of-Africa.”
Listen to hear the sound of Legendary Yemane who helped Eritrea become a musical force in the region. He was only one of many artist who inspired Tadesse.
Tadesse desires to create and promote continual change to the people of the world through music. Just like the impact that the revolutionist made on him, he too wants to continue to make an impact on others.
“I want to deliver a message that helps the current situation that creates dysfunctional families, whether it’s working against war or homelessness,” Tadesse said. “We need to figure out a way to talk about this within our communities, to our government leaders and throughout the world.”
He mentions that other cultures struggle also and nothing is new under the sun. His songs are about peace, love and unity and they encourage those to fight for a better human lifestyle. His most popular song is special to him because it reminds him of his bloodline.
“The Inspiration song was brought to me by my family, but also to send out the message to the whole world. We need to inspire and encourage each other,” he said.
He believes the only way to contribute to this world-madness is through his music and with the desire to see people stop fighting.
“Within the next five years, I want to spread the message within the music that there is only one God and we all need to get along because we only have each other,” he said. “My fans are happy and excited to see all the hard work I’m doing to spread a positive message.”
Tadesse is most passionate about his family and says they come first and not to forget the people of Africa who he dedicates his next album to.
Words like “you can not build a house without a foundation,” and it was his parents who taught him that.
“It’s a blessing to have that type of learning from your parents,” he said, believing we should always remember to love and respect each other being from the same Earth. “we need to work through our differences.”
Tadesse’s band traveled to “Cactus-Land” for a performance during the Arizona Reggae Fest. The musicians gathered one by one into a van along with a pile of musical equipment and drove across the desert. It was a long-hot journey, something that requires patience. Members of his band have the dedication it takes to keep the message going. When traveling many miles together to play, the bond becomes stronger and more evident to the audience. It becomes worth while when people adhere to the movement; a movement for those who believe in Jah. The band sings about inspiration through the struggle of poverty. Tadesse as lead singer, works hard at perfecting his music so he can travel to various locations across the world to bring positive vibes of encouragement.
Tadesse and his band come back to play the World Beat Center in San Diego because it promotes cultural awareness. The center is a place where meetings are held to support people from indigenous cultures because they have struggled from past history events. And an inspiring place for Tadesse to donate his time. It was developed for those who need to find freedom in their individual culture and so meetings are held for members to recite passages of history pertaining to a time when life was hard, giving reason to confess wrongdoing in society so it never happens again. They chant “Kombuca” Meaning “never forget.” It coincides with what Tadesse wants to promote, because he feels that moving forward in unity through music, creates a bond within the Reggae Culture. This vision, understanding and movement is what it is all about.
In the past, he was able to play a little R&B with artist such as Aloe Blacc, Prophet, and Hip Hop Legendary Ace. But reggae is his true calling and through his next album, slight hints of culture such as R&B, world music and East-African Eritrean music are infused throughout the sound, clearly going back to his roots as a refugee.
“I’ve written most of my songs and the rest of the band has been good about putting it all together with their musical talent, said Tadesse. “It’s about the message and the performance.”
Here is a video that infuses such sounds relaying a message to the community.
“We practice three to four days before we play a show and then just get on stage and jam,” Tadesse said.
He explains the album is basically focused on awareness of the current world state we live in and how history affects our lives. Traveling to different places convinces people to take a stand for family, community and local culture; to accept diversity and allow change to take place.
“As a past refugee, I speak on struggle, war, love, peace and unity, while always being focused on creating positive high energy music,” Tadesse said. “Every man carries himself a certain way and with solid belief; being a man of God is who I will be to all Jah’s people.”
At the end of the performance, Tadesse said he mostly feels satisfied because the whole experience up on stage is rewarding, the message is delivered and the group is able to promote something.
Tadesse speaks deeply believing people are only passing through this wicked world, and he must carry on the righteous way of life for the next generation, especially while he is in his youth.
This video shows what Tadesse sees happening in ghetto-streets here in the US and why he wants to make a difference with his music and the good character he strives for.
One promoter of several reggae artist Ras Duke, explains that in all the different parts of the world, within cultures and tribes, the people sing reggae to relate one purpose. The movement of Jah is something which strengthens, encourages, edifies and magnifies the higher power the group believes in.
Tadesse believes the message of reggae coincides with the message he wants to share with his audience.