Tariku Gankasi is an Ethiopian musician from Jinka, a southern region of Ethiopia. Gankisi was a soldier in the military during the Ethio-Eritrean war. He saw much violence and his music has preached love and peace ever since he returned home. As he gained fame his message of unity began to spread. Recently, Ethiopia has faced political turmoil and warfare again. This has promoted musicians, especially hip hop artists, to convey messages lyrically. They express their view on the country’s struggles and, at times, their message to the president. Being a former soldier and having seen these horrors once before, Gankisi uses this time to release the song “Dishta Gina”. Not only does the song create conversations and controversy within Ethiopia, but it also successfully raises awareness across Africa. The song promotes unity and reconciliation.
The song gains worldwide popularity and is now at 23 million views on YouTube. It becomes so popular that Akon requests to work with Gankisi to remix the song. With Akon’s fame, the remix goes on to reach new audiences and allows the message to continue spreading.
Gankisi told BBC News, “I am very excited. I never imagined the song would get this much attention nationally and internationally. I only did my reflection. What happened and is happening now is amazing,” Although Gankisi did not intend on the extent of the song’s success, “DIshta Gina” continues to gain popularity and views, allowing the conversations around his message to continue happening and spreading.
Gankisi faced the most controversy, however, when he was invited to sing “dishta gina” on stage and made a statement after. He stated, “I didn’t come to sing … I have nothing to sing about … let us not send more of our youths to war… enough, enough with the guns. We need peace.” Although this is the main message of his catchy song, his words were not taken well by the organizers. He eventually had to apologize for his comments, however, his message still remains the same in his song.