Asnaketch Worku

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Asnaketch Worku, also known by the French spelling of her name Asnaqètch Wèrqu (also spelled Asnaqetch, Asnakech and Worqu, Werku, etc.; Ge'ez አስናቀች ወርቁ Āsnāḳeč Werḳū or Worḳū, pronounced [wɔrkʼu], Amharic: "she surpassed," "His gold") (c. 1935 – September 14, 2011[1]) was a famous Ethiopian singer.[2] Her trademark instrument was the krar, a traditional Ethiopian plucked lyre. In 2003, Buda Musique released Éthiopiques 16: The Lady With the Krar, a compact disc which compiles Asnaketch's recordings from the mid-1970s.


Worku was born in the Sidist Kilo[2] neighborhood of Addis Ababa and was raised in the city.[1] Buying her first krar for only 25 cents, Asnaketch taught herself how to play and began performing in small bars and cabarets. She was the first actress in Ethiopia, making her debut in 1952 at the City Hall Theatre. Despite her long and distinguished career on the stage, Asnaketch is known primarily not for her career as an actress, but for her skills with the krar and her quick wit and inspired improvisations. Asnaketch worked at the National Theatre for 30 years before retiring in the 1980s. In the early 1990s she toured a couple of times in Europa. In 1995 Asnakech recorded the CD "Ende Jerusalem" for Acoustic Music in Germany with Begenna player Alemu Aga. These were her last recordings. She died on September 14, 2011 at Bete Zata Hospital in Addis Ababa.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Seble Teweldebirhan (2011-09-16). "The Queen of Kirar Asnakech Worku Passes Away". Retrieved 2011-09-20. On Wednesday, September 14, 2011 though, for [Asnaketch Worku], it was the last day of her incredible journey. At the age of 76, Asnakech Worku died at Bete Zata Hospital in Addis Ababa. 
  2. ^ a b Yirga, Mina (13 January 2009). "Glamour Personified". Horizon Ethiopia. Retrieved 29 October 2010.