Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Amadou and Mariam to perform in Addis

March 1, 2014 Leave a comment


The Grammy Award-nominated musical duo from Mali, Amadou & Mariam will perform at an outdoor concert in Addis Ababa’s Alliance Alliance éthio-française on March 19, 2014 as part of the Francophonie week.
The blind husband-and-wife whose last album, ‘Folila’ (which means “music” in their country’s Bambara language) released on April 2012, are coming to Addis for the first time to perform in Ethiopia. On March 20, they would also be playing at Hilton Hotel hall.
Amadou and Mariam have been playing together since the 1970s, rising through the African and European music scenes to become one of the hottest world music acts today, sharing the stage with artists including Coldplay, U2, Alicia Keys and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. The piece Dimanche à Bamako was a global hit.

Ali Mohammed Birra: The Voice of an Era

July 5, 2013 1 comment

Mohammed Ademo, a New York-based freelance journalist and co-founder of, praises the Oromo music legend on the occasion to celebrate his 50 years in the industry, and the release of his biography that was published in time for the celebration.

Maq livret

He has been described as a national icon, a pioneer, a legend, a hero, a doctor, and even the undisputed king of Oromo music. All of these, however, cannot begin to capture the influence his music has had on Oromo identity, culture, and politics. His work and life reflect his pride in, and devotion to, the empowerment of the Oromo people. His uplifting lyrics and eclectic style will continue to inspire for generations to come. Read more…

The Young Ethio Jazz Band

January 13, 2013 5 comments

The Young Ethio Jazz Band.

The Young Ethio Jazz Band.

A group of US-based young Ethiopian musicians, ranging in age from 10 to 15, are playing Ethio-jazz and getting some media coverage like this one.
Sirak Tegbaru leads young members of Oakland’s Medhani Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Church in an unusual extracurricular activity: a traditional Ethiopian jazz band. The young musicians, ranging in age from 10 to 15, had their first performance on Sunday, at Rasela’s Jazz Club in San Francisco’s Fillmore district. They call themselves the Young Ethio Jazz Band.
The students play Ethio-jazz, a style that blends American jazz and Latin rhythms with traditional Ethiopian sounds. Led by figures like Mulatu Astatke, Ethio-jazz flowered during the 1960s and early ’70s.
The eight person band played several covers at Rasela’s, with many members taking solos on each song. Most Ethiopian music hasn’t been written down, so Tegbaru has to study each song carefully, learning the keyboard, horn, bass, and drum parts so that he can teach them to his band. After seven months of practices, they were ready for their first performance this January.
Yonathan Estfanos, who plays trumpet, describes the Young Ethio Jazz Band’s sound as “unique and mellow and lively. And nothing like anything people have ever heard of, especially people of this generation.” Like many of the band members, Estfanos says the band has allowed him to preserve his cultural heritage. “I feel like I’m going back to my culture, you know? I feel like I’m going back to my roots,” he said.

Samuel Yirga’s Guzo

July 30, 2012 Leave a comment

‘Guzo’ is the first solo outing by the young Ethiopian pianist Samuel Yirga, who is still in his 20s. Introduced to wider international audiences through his playing with Ethio-fusion group Dub Colossus, Sammy is now exploring new directions as a solo artist.
Reviewing his album for the Quietus, an online music magazine, the UK-based Russell Slater, a journalist specializing in writing about music, reveals his ambivalence towards the album.

I feel conflicted about the debut album from Ethiopia’s Samuel Yirga. On one hand this is obviously a talented young musician at the start of his career, looking to build upon his cameo role within the world fusion group Dub Colossus by stretching out his piano and compositional skills here on Guzo. On the other hand it all feels too convoluted, as if someone has heard this guy play piano, recongised that he’s as adept at both Ethiopian melodies and Western jazz noodling, and realised this could be the point where Ethiopian music can truly cross over into the world music crowd. Essentially this is Ethiopian music for people who can’t take the raw, spontaneous bluster of the Éthiopiques series; people who can’t truly get into world music unless there’s a roll of brushes on the toms, plaintive piano notes sprinkled here and there, a double bass lazily playing scales in the background. Surely there is a genre of music in this world that doesn’t need to be fused with jazz? Read more…

Reggae star to fly high

July 1, 2012 3 comments

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. Read more…

The return of Kuku Sebsibe

June 24, 2012 5 comments

For some, Kuku Sebsibe’s best days are behind her. Changing musical trends and long absence from home might have prematurely ended her budding stardom, but the pop star’s recent musical résumé shows that may not always be the case. At 52, Kuku is still pushing boundaries with her music and is attracting new fans. In fact, the 80s star, known as much for her hair style as for her love songs, is enjoying renewed limelight. Performing every week at the renowned Jazz Amba, she has become part of the city’s music scene.Her recent track in which she pays tribute to the iconic Ethiopian female musician, Bizunesh Bekele, is remarkably well executed, and can regularly be heard playing on the radio and TV.
Read more…

Awesome Tikur Sew video

June 11, 2012 8 comments

Last week was the premiere of the music video for Teddy Afro’s title track, Tikur Sew, which revolves around the Battle of Adwa, one of the pivotal moments in the country’s history in which an Ethiopian army under the leadership of Emperor Menelik decisively defeated the Italians. Showing such an important historical theme in a music video format could seem ambitious and a little ostentatious. Yet Tikur Sew is no ordinary video. It is ten minutes long, and it features 420 actors, 25 horses and riders, dozens of costume changes, dozens of extras. Well, the black-and-white video makes for a great watch, thanks to well-executed production, creative editing, good quality sound, and high definition images. Read more…

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Mulatu honored by Berklee

May 13, 2012 12 comments

Ethiopian jazz giant Mulatu Astatke has been honored by the world-renowned Berklee College of Music. Mulatu, often dubbed as the father of Ethiopian jazz, was presented honorary doctor of music degree yesterday from the university’s president Roger H. Brown at 2012 commencement. Mulatu told Ethiopica Link over the phone that he was gratified to have received this honor and this was a magical moment in his long career. Speaking hours after ceremony, the jazz legend emphasized the accolade was more than an individual achievement.”It is a recognition of not only my own achievement but also my country’s rich and diverse musical heritage,”he said. Read more…

Mulatu Astatke to receive honorary degree from Berklee

March 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The legendary Ethiopian composer and musician Mulatu Astatke will be presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. The presentation will be made at the college’s commencement ceremony, May 11, 2012 at the 7,000-seat Agganis Arena at Boston University. “I am very honored about it, “wrote the 71-year-old composer on his Facebook page after he was advised that he would be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the world’s largest college of contemporary music.This year’s other honorees are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the Eagles and 27-time Grammy winner Alison Krauss.This year’s honorary doctorate recipients are being recognized for their achievements and influence in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture, Berklee announced.The annual commencement concert will allow some of the school’s most accomplished students to present a tribute to the honorees, and in some instances play alongside them.
Read more…

New reggae music preaches African unity

October 31, 2011 8 comments

“Chiggae” is the debut Amharic language album from Hailemichael Getnet, better known by his stage name as Haile Roots. The 31-year-old singer came up with a display of real roots, showcasing compelling, melodic riffs and interesting lyrics. The 13-track album, arranged and composed by Elias Melka, takes you on a journey of love, righteousness, empowerment, and is filled with rhythms that blend perfectly with his incredible voice.
Haile first came to attention years ago when he was featured in Teddy Afro’s ‘Bob Marely’ and he later released a single track tilted ‘Yes I’ that he played live at Juvents Club and Millennium Hall. That single track is included in the newest album under a different title, Ethiopia. Read more…

Categories: Haile Roots, Music, reggae