Veteran Ethiopian performers handed awards to one another. Mahmoud Ahmed (Mahmoud Ahmed) Mahmoud, who was born in Addis Ababa’s Mercato neighborhood, has always been fascinated by Ethiopian radio music. He worked as a shoe shiner before becoming a handyman at the Arizona Club, which was Emperor Haile Selassie I’s Imperial Bodyguard Band’s after-hours hangout. Before working as a handyman at the Arizona Club, he failed in school and worked as a shoeshiner. Mahmoud offered to perform a few songs after the band’s singer failed to show up one night in 1962.
He immediately advanced to the regular roster of the band, where he remained until 1974. After cutting his first single with Venus Band in 1971, “Nafqot New Yegodagn” and “Yasdestal,” Mahmoud went on to record with a variety of bands for the Amha and Kaifa record labels in the 1970s. The military government’s overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie and suspension of musical nightlife shifted the Ethiopian music industry—the Imperial Body Guard Band was no longer in existence, but Mahmoud continued to make hit records and cassettes with many of the country’s remaining musicians, including the Dahlak Band and the Ibex Band. He also began releasing solo cassettes on which he performed on the krar, guitar, and mandolin.