The Word of the Day comes from "The Shadow King" by Maaza Mengiste. It was longlisted for the 2020 Booker prize.
An azmari is an instrumentalist whose job is to entertain others by playing the masenqo, especially found in entertainment venues, traditional hotels in Ethiopian community. Ther are comparable to the European bard or the West African griot.Azmari, who may be either male or female, are skilled at singing extemporized verses, accompanying themselves on either a masenqo (one-stringed fiddle) or krar (lyre). Azmari often perform in drinking establishments called tejbeit, which specialize in the serving of tej (mead). The Azmari introduced the popular Tizita ballad form.
The masenqo (Amharic: መሰንቆ) also spelled masinqo or chira-wata in Tigrinya, is a single-stringed bowed lute commonly found in the musical traditions of Eritrea and Ethiopia. As with the krar, this instrument is used by Ethiopian minstrels called azmaris ("singer" in Amharic) . Although it functions in a purely accompaniment capacity in songs, the masenqo requires considerable virtuosity, as azmaris accompany themselves while singing.