Bahta Gèbrè-Heywèt was born April 1943 in Adigrat, Tigray province, Northern Ethiopia. He became a singer after a successful wager. Egged on by friends, he was selected, along with Girma Bèyènè, from a field of 70 candidates, to become a singer with the Ras Band. He was barely 18 years old. The Ras Band was then one of the first hotel bands composed entirely of Ethiopians. They were excellent musicians who came from the first Imperial Body Guard Band and who had resigned after the failed coup d’état of 1960.