Reggae star to fly high
Rising Ethiopian reggae star Jah Lude will perform at Addis Ababa’s Lafto mall next week, July 7. It will be his first show since he released his first album months ago that garnered him a wide appeal. Bringing a cosmopolitan, reggae approach to his Ethiopian musical roots, the 36-year-old Addis Ababa-born singer has won praise from various quarters. He has a unique way of articulating Amharic in an Oromo accent that sometimes finds him singing about peace, love, struggle, identity, healing and reconciliation.
Talking about his upcoming show titled Digis, Jah Lude said he will be playing tunes from his latest album and, one single track that he has not released yet. He said he wanted to share to his friends, family and fans what he has learned ‘while crossing the path of the light’. He promised to deliver not just himself but energy and spirit. The singer also said he doesn’t take the business of entertaining people as a stressful duty. “There has been a task that I took so seriously at one point in my life but failed miserably. I don’t want that to happen to me again. I don’t like to take music as a job or career. All I try to do is to entertain people. And how could I do that without entertaining myself?” he asked.
The singer described members of his band, Zanta as a talented group. “I really like working with them and I hope I will continue working with them ten years down the road, we are a family,” he said. A host of other stars, including Dawit Melesse – who has been absent from the music scene for a while would accompany the reggae star.
Jah Lude’s publicists say for the Saturday’s show, they would introduce multimedia act that have never been used before in live entertainment. “We’ve imported high tech sound system, Laineri from Italy and a fiber glass stage which allows lighting to come through the floor,” his publicist says. To promote the concert, Jah Lude will be flying slowly in Addis sky in small plane for an hour two days before the show. The original plan was to scatter leaflets in the air but was later dropped as authorities refused permission on the grounds of sanitation of the city. The singer will be paid half a million birr for the show, making him one of the highest paid for a single concert. He will also be travelling soon to the United States to perform for the Ethiopian community there, it was said.
Jah Lude was born in Gotera area, and in the interview he said he was dramatically delivered in a car that was taking his mother to the hospital. He was eight when he left home. Taking odd jobs, he earned some money to help make ends. At fifteen, he fled for Djibouti where he faced some hardships. He worked in the day times and in the evenings, he would go to local bars to hear musicians. He soon started playing at those bars, where he slowly started to attract a lot of attention. He performed with several groups during next years, developing his own styles.
Lafto Mall is near to Bisrate Gabriel St, Gabriel church. Tickets are between 300 and 500 birr and capacity will be about 5,000 persons. (photo by Anteneh Aklilu)