Drummer and composer Abinnet Berhanu is an up and coming artist that is developing a reputation for being an open, versatile, intense, emotional musician. Ever since the moment he picked up the drums, he knew where his heart lied. After finishing high school in Williamsburg, VA, Abinnet moved on to Richmond, VA, where he completed his studies in Economics and Jazz Performance at Virginia Commonwealth University.
As a bandleader, Abinnet tries to marry the sounds of his upbringing and his experiences looking at life through Ethiopian American lenses. His group Hebret Musica (Community Music) comes together to make music that makes audience members sit on the edge of their seats, bridging Ethiopian sounds with soulful modern jazz in one dramatic presentation. Abinnet as a sideman and/or as a leader has had fortunate opportunities to appear in concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the United States Library of Congress, the Strathmore Performing Arts Center, the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of Gabon, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Bohemian Caverns, Twins Jazz Club, the CapitolBop Jazz Loft, the Richmond Jazz Society Stage at the Second Street Festival, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Havana Nights Jazz Club, and the Williamsburg Library Theatre. Hebret Musica's debut EP is currently in the works and is expected to be released in late 2017.
Abinnet has had fortunate opportunities to be able to share the bandstand with such notable musicians including but not limited to: Steve Wilson, Cyrus Chestnut, Allyn Johnson, John D'Earth, Justin Kauflin, Herman Burney Jr., Todd Marcus, Steve Novosel, Tom Varner, Michael Hawkins, Vincent Chauncey, Russell Wilson, Weldon Hill, and Charles Owens.
In the realm of education, Abinnet served as a musician co-instructor at the University of Richmond's Summer Joan Oates Institute from 2011-2013. The focus of the Institute's session was to explore the concept of integrating jazz improvisation concepts into K-12 teaching. Abinnet has also had the opportunity to give masterclasses to high school percussion students on the beginning concepts of jazz drumming and ensemble playing.