Mahmoud Ahmed

Mahmoud Ahmed (Amharic: ማሕሙድ አህመድ; born 8 May 1941) is an Ethiopian singer. He gained great popularity in Ethiopia in the 1970s and among the Ethiopian diaspora in the 1980s, before rising to international fame with African music fans in Europe and the Americas.

Born in Addis Ababa, Mercato district, Mahmoud was enthralled with the music he heard on Ethiopian radio from an early age. Having poorly learned in school, he worked as a shoeshiner before becoming a handyman at the Arizona Club, which was the after hours hangout of Emperor Haile Selassie I‘s Imperial Bodyguard Band. One night in 1962 when the band’s singer didn’t show up, Mahmoud asked to sing a few songs. He soon became part of the band’s regular lineup, where he remained until 1974.

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