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Posts tagged "ethiopia"

NEW MUSIC: Mikael Seifu - Tuff Ruff.

Traditional Ethiopian folk singing and instruments meets ambient electronic music meets trip hop. That’s how I’d describe the latest track from Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu who released his debut EP Yarada Lij earlier this year. Fusing and layering a wide range of sounds and genres, Seifu’s four track EP is a pioneering and unique blend of cross cultural elements that creates a new dimension in electronic and experimental music.

He’ll be releasing a split single with Dawit through his independent DC-based label 1432 R that you can pre-order and listen to here.

NEW MUSIC: Mélat x Jansport J - “Move Me” EP.

It’s sometime between 1996 and 2006, you’re young, somewhere between being in love and one step away from heartbreak, but still somehow having the most carefree summer of your teenage life. That’s how Ethiopian-American singer Mélat's debut EP Move Me makes me feel.

Produced by Jansport J, Mélat gives us nine dreamy tracks with catchy R&B/neo-soul melodies and a voice that’s as golden as her sun-coloured hair.

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LEMLEM Pre-Fall 2014 Collection.

Modeled by Ajak Deng, the latest from Lemlem (a surprisingly affordable label, considering) can be describes as laid-back cool with subtle hints of masculinity that mixes breezy striped tunics, tie-dyed fabrics and loose chinos with classic unisex footwear.

Founded in 2007 by model, spokeswoman and entrepreneur Liya Kebede, Lemlem (which means ‘bloom’ or ‘flourish’ in Amharic) was born out of a need to inspire economic independence in Ethiopia and to preserve the art of weaving. Noticing that traditional weavers in her home country were losing their jobs due to a decline in demand for their art, Kebede established the label as a way of addressing this void and preserving an important part of Ethiopian history.

All items are handmade in Ethiopia from natural cotton.

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ISSUE Project Room & Pioneer Works Present:  Mahmoud Ahmed.

One of Africa’s leading musicians and a pioneer of theEthiopian music scene during its ‘golden age’ in the 60s-80s, Mahmoud Ahmed’s career has enjoyed longevity due to his blend of classic Ethiopian folk music styles with soul, jazz & funk, and of course the distinct and unbelievable talent embedded in his beautiful multi-octave voice.

Now, thanks to ISSUE Project Room and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, Mahmoud Ahmed will be performing live in Red Hook, Brooklyn—his first New York performance since 2011.

Additional supporting acts will be announced soon for this indoor/outdoor event, which opens ISSUE Project Room’s summer concert series in collaboration with Pioneer Works.

Listen to Mahmoud Ahmed sing ‘Yeshi Hargetu’.

Saturday July 26th (3-8pm)
159 Pioneer Street
Red Hook, Brooklyn

NEW MUSIC: Marian Mareba - September.

This song by Ethiopian-American singer Marian Mareba is packed full of many of the multiple genres of music that influence her folk/soul/pop/R&B sound.

The Alabama-born singer-songwriter recently released an amazing 10-track EP, Room for Living, available for streaming and downloading on Soundcloud. Her crystal clear voice and eclectic sound make for the perfect blend of soul-folk music.

NEW MUSIC: Mizan -  Thru.

New York-based singer-songwriter of Ethiopian descent Mizan released the latest video from her Dark Blue EP earlier this week. The dreamy lo-fi track, and accompanying video, tell a breezy tale of blissful summer affair that’s so nostalgic that, along with the grainy film and serious 90s r&b beat, makes the song seem decades old in that classic and timeless way.

Introducing ‘Fomi’: Ethiopian designer Afomia Tesfaye’s luxury leather and footwear label.

Birthed in 2011 through the vision of it’s ambitious founder, designer and creator Afomia Tesfaye, FOMI is a collection of luxury handbags and footwear that consists of locally sourced materials and is made in Tesfaye’s homeland of Ethiopia.

Representing the young entrepreneurs foray into the world of design for the very first time, Tesfaye’s interest in design and fashion was cultivated by her travels throughout her childhood as the daughter of a diplomat.

After earning a degree in Literature from UCLA, and with experience at top fashion publications, Tesfaye travelled back to Ethiopia with the intention of developing an accessories line. She soon found out a critical fact that would then propel her to birth FOMI. Ethiopia produces some of the world’s finest quality leather. Armed with this quality assurance, Tesfaye began to work on her first collection and the rest, as they say, is history.

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All Africa, All the time.

Liya Kebede Stars in Prabal Gurung’s First-Ever Print Campaign.

For his first ever print ad campaign, Nepalese designer Prabal Gurung features the Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede like we’ve never seen her before - bold, simple but still incredibly striking.

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My Top 5 African Dishes for a Hearty Valentine’s Day.

Jollof rice with chicken/meat/fish and fried plantain:

Predominantly eaten in West African countries such as Senegal (it’s country of origin), Ghana and Nigerian, jollof rice has become a staple meal acceptable for any occasion - from weddings to birthday parties. With a preparation time of a little over an hour (depending on your serving quantities), the ingredients needed are easy to obtain. The flavour of the rice is dependent on how you prepare to the stew, whether mild or spicy. Vegetables such as peas, carrots and sweet corn can also be added to the mix. For a slightly healthier option, boil or grill the plantain instead of frying it. Similarly, grill the fish or chicken.
Vegetarian option: Substitute chicken/meat/fish for moi moi (contains egg).

Ethiopian injera with sides:

The very thought of eating this Ethiopian teff-grain flat bread with my favourite sides (doro wat, shiro, ye’abesha gomen, etc), is enough to get my mouth watering. With a near-endless possibility of traditional sides (you can also add your own creations), this meal can easily be adapted to suit various palettes. Although injera can be made at home from scratch, you’re much better off buying it from a restaurant. Want it gluten-free? Here’s a recipe for that.
Vegetarian option: go meat-less, stick to vegetable sides.

Senegalese thiéboudienne:

Another feature from Senegal because the food there is just that good. Although I’ve only ever been to Dakar once, as a child, the experience and taste of eating thiéboudienne is not one easily forgotten. Served on a large platter, this meal usually comes with either a rice or cous cous base and is laden with fish, stew and vegetables.
Vegetarian option: leave out the fish.

Moroccan couscous salad:

What I love most about couscous is just how versatile it is. It’s easy to make (from a box) and a great base for a range of different meals. For a salad option, simply make some couscous and add your favourite salad bits.
Vegetarian option: I think this one is obvious.

Ghanaian fufu and peanut butter/groundnut stew/soup.

Peanuts are hands down the greatest nuts there are, simply for this dish. To turn it into a southern African dish, use sadza/pap instead of fufu. For your east African version, use ugali (same as the aforementioned, just a different name).
Vegetarian option: don’t add meat/fish/chicken to your stew.

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All Africa, All the time.

On My Radar: Three African stories told through film at Sundance.


Seen from the perspective of a young female protagonist, Difret tells the story of young 14-year-old girl abducted into marriage who, in an effort to escape, ends up killing her kidnapper and would-be husband. Following this incident, a trial ensues as the fate of Hirut hangs in the balance.

The feature debut of Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, the film is based on a true story that occurred in 1996.

Watch: An excerpt from Difret.

Fishing Without Nets

The topic of Somali piracy has been a hotly reported topic in Western media over the past few years. But as with most stories about Africa, the perspective from which it’s been told is often distorted, painting the pirates as scattered collectives of nonsensical rebels without a cause, leaving out much of the complexity of the situation. 

Watch an excerpt/short version of the film.

Finding Fela

If there’s one Nigerian artist whose consciousness has managed to transcend both time and culture, permeating the minds of Nigerians, Africans and the world at large, it is the man who claimed to not fear death - the iconic Fela Anikulapo Kuti. 

In Finding Fela, Academy Award-winningfilmmaker Alex Gabney tackles and dissects the professional career and personal life of the Afrobeat legend, bringing to life the controversial and contradictory life story of Nigeria’s most well-known musician.

Watch: Finding Fela at Sundance.

Hopefully these films will be made accessible to those of us on the continent!

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All Africa, All the time.

Documentary Greek photographer Athina Kazolea has travelled throughout Northern Ethiopia for several years, capturing the daily lives and religious events of people in places like Lalibela, Gonder, Bahir Dar, Tigrai and the capital Addis Ababa.

Dedicated to supporting youth in Ethiopia through the promotion of skateboarding and other education initiatives, Ethiopia skate was started in 2012 by 16-year-old Abenezer Temesgen, who fell in love with skateboarding two years ago and has since taught 25 kids how to skateboard, and his partner Sean Stromsoe, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

With plans to launch Ethiopia’s first public skate park, Skate Ethiopia needs as much support as they can get to successfully carry out this plan and make this dream come true.

Here’s the first video from the organization introducing their project and the guys behind this great initiative. 

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Cut 4 Me

Recommended Artist: Kelela

Already given a stamp of approval by the likes of the FADER and Pitchfork (not that she needs this), I first heard of the second generation Ethiopian-American singer as a featured artist lending her vocals to a song by US electronic experimental music duo Teengirl Fantasy’s sophomore album Tracer, released last year. The song, EFX, is an upbeatmulti-layered tune that takes several twists and turns throughout it’s nearly 4-minute length, changing tempo to create a more intense and fleshed out illustration of the budding newly-found puppy-love-like romance Kelela belts about in the song.

After listening to this track on repeat for the better part of 2012, I knew - or rather I hoped - it wouldn’t be long before Kelela Mizanekristos would launch a more substantial solo project of her own. Heavily influenced by the likes of Tracy Chapman and the duality of her experiences growing up as an othered second-generation immigrant but also feeling very American - a push and pull situation that is often mirrored in her blended musical style, Mizanekristos recently delivered her more than impressive - and highly addictive - debut mixtape Cut 4 Me.

Featuring a myriad of producers from Kingdom to Jam City, Nguzunguzu to Girl Unit, Cut 4 Me is a collection of songs that are as deeply emotive as the title of the mixtape itself. Sound-wise, Kelela touches on something unique and fresh with a sound that ‘combines R&B and future- thinking electronics’.

Featured song: Kelela - Send Me Out [Prod. Kingdom]

NOT JUST A LABEL invited Moroccan/Israeli designer Artsi Ifrach (creative mind of Art/c) to Addis Ababa for Ethiopian Fashion Week for fashion show celebrating twenty years of African trade.

Above is a visual representation of Ifrach‘s trip to Ethiopia photographed by Moroccan photographer Laila Hida.

The styling of the photographs capture — a wondrous city of eclectic beauty, rich culture and a burgeoning fashion industry. Ifrach gets resourceful by mixing fabrics, prints with embroideries, kaftan buttons, shimmering colors and embellishments.


September: Highlighting African photographers.

EVENING TUNE: Krar Collective - Guragigna

Upbeat from the very first note, guided by the amplified sounds of a six stringed lyre known as a ‘krar’, and the sanguine beat of a range of different drums, UK-based Ethiopian Krar Collective - are led by Temesegen Zeleke, a former pupil of veteran Ethiopian vibraphone player Mulatu Astatke, on Krar,  singer and incredible dancer Genet Asefa, and on drums Grum Begashaw - give one hell of a live performance in this video.