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  • The consequence of Cancelling of New year concerts costs Millions for Artists,Bands and promoters

    (BY DAWIT ENDESHAW FORTUNE STAFF WRITER) It started as a social media campaign, with a number of posts said to emerge mainly on Facebook, calling for a boycott on a number of concerts to be held by singers for Ethiopian New Year. The campaign rationalised its boycott to the current unrest in some parts of the Amhara and Oromia states, where “many” civilians are said to have been killed and arrested by security forces.So, the Facebook boycott campaigners argue that it is immoral to have a music festival in such a situation. Some singers, who spoke with Fortune on the basis on anonymity, say the campaign has affected them.

    This campaign has in fact forced many performers in and outside the country to cancel their concerts. It has cost promoters, music bands and the individual singers millions. Close to seven concerts in and outside the capital were cancelled – not to mention those in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

    “It is not like everyone who is cancelling their concert believes in the above argument,” said an industry source also affected because of the cancellation of their concert.

    He, whose name is withheld upon request, said that his band, which was to host a major concert in the capital, has lost close to 100,000Br.

    “It doesn’t make any difference whatever rationale they put out,” said the same source. “This is our job.”

    Some of the artists have also decided to cancel their concert so as not to collide with the Diaspora community, as they believe that the push is coming from them.

    Another big concert that is said to have been cancelled is the one at Ghion Hotel. The concert, organised by Eyoha Promotion, was planned to host Beruktawit Getahun aka Betty G, and Abdu Kiar. The promotion company behind the concert has been promoting the concert through a number of outlets, including billboards.

    Abdu Kiar, as a performer, has also suffered from another cancellation of a concert that was planned to be held in Israel, on September 15, 2016.

    Sources close to the organising of the concert told Fortune that the two singers were to be paid between 150,000 to 200,000Br.

    Another singer, who wants to remain anonymous, estimated that the bigger concerts, like the one organised by Eyoha, would briny at least 300,000 Br lose.

    He shared an experience where he himself was forced to cancel a small music show along with other performers.

    “Ours was not that big,” he said. “We lost around 70,000Br due to the cancellation.”

    This loss does not include advance payments for the performers.

    “It all started from threats, insults and bullying made as comments on Facebook,” he explains. “So, we fear that this might erode our reputation as a performer.”

    Eyoha Promotion is also know for its involvement in organising a number of entertainment activities, including exhibitions.

    Another concert that was targeted by the bullying mob on social media was the one organised by Aurora Productions. The concert was supposed to host four internationally acclaimed singers, as well as Lej Michael, a raising Ethiopian musician. Later, Lej Michael withdrew himself from the concert because of the same reason as many of the artists.

    “Most of them fear being singled out from the crowd and fear for their reputation,” Shewit Betew, CEO of Aurora, told Fortune.

    Aurora has been negotiating with the four international artists for the past six months, in order to convince them to come and perform.

    “We invested a million birr into it,” said Shewit. “And it is not fair to lose it in such a way.”

    The impact of the push from social media did not only affect concerts in the New Year, rather it went on to affect events planned for the Mesqel Holiday, to be held in two weeks time, too.

    Some of the organisers that planned for Mesqel are now contemplating cancelling their shows.

    On the other hand, some of the Diaspora-based singers have publicly announced that they have cancelled their concerts given the unrest in the country. Abiy Lakew, Fasil Demoz, Ephrem Tameru, Haile Roots and Johnny Raga are some of those to have cancelled their concerts.

    The impact of social media throughout the unrest over the past few months has been immense. Its impact on the overall information dissemination, for better or worse, has been huge.

    It was also instrumental in sharing information, both authentic and made up.

    Social media also continues to be abused by bullying people, who threaten families and individuals that are believed to have certain affiliations.

    SOURCE: http://addisfortune.net/articles/bullied-crowed-the-nations-singers-shun-new-year-festivities/?platform=hootsuite



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  • Mikael Seifu: the Ethiopian producer linking the Old Testament to techno

    Electronic musicians have long mined old-world sounds to contrast with their crisp beats, but Mikael Seifu’s music transports the listener all the way back to 1,000 BC. On the one hand, he’s Ethiopia’s answer to Flying Lotus, LA’s maker of futuristic, cosmic jazz-laced bass. On the other, he draws on his homeland’s ancient folk traditions. If a free-thinking techno DJ made tunes for the courts of Old Testament kings, the result would sound a fair bit like Seifu.

    Like most 28-year-olds, Seifu is a child of the digital age. He grew up with rap downloaded from Napster and, alongside fellow producer Endeguena Mulu, began making tracks on his parents’ PC. After going to America to study, his musical voice emerged. A final-year class on the music industry was taught by avant-garde trumpeter Ben Neill, who opened Seifu’s ears to both radical German composer Stockhausen and enigmatic British garage producer Burial.

    Returning home, Seifu decided to experiment with his newfound appreciation of dance music and the Ethiopian folk he heard in drinking halls. His new EP Zelalem samples the lilting instruments believed by Ethiopian Christians to have been given to man by God 3,000 years ago. One such instrument, the krar (somewhere between a harp, a banjo and the stringed things depicted on Greek vases), weaves around the skittering drums of second track The Solipsist; and on How To Save A Life, a cello-like masinko plays in harmony with vast whooshes of synths.

    To make the tracks, Seifu recorded street musicians, or azmaris, who have spent their lives mastering these instruments. They are usually taught father-to-son, in a line which goes back, legend has it, to the court of the Queen of Sheba, who ruled Ethiopia a millennium before the birth of Christ. “I wasn’t trained [like that], and I don’t have that technical background,” says Seifu. “[Yet] I want to go back into history and look at the centuries of musical ebb and flow here. I want to fortify [what they do] and close the gaps.”

    Seifu and Mulu call their sound Ethiopiyawi. The community surrounding it is small but flourishing, with folk tunes played next to R&B in clubs.

    Seifu himself has just got back from playing Berlin’s techno mecca Berghain, and sees a difference between his home’s electronic enthusiasm and abroad: “There’s not a defined sense of how you do electronic music here, which enables it to flourish unrestricted,” he says. “In the west, you have categorisation, but here, it’s is informal, improvised, impromptu, inconsistent and impossible to institutionalise.” The result isn’t another version of African music put through a western electronic mangle; it’s in awe of age-old traditions, not beholden to them. Bring on the next 3,000 years.


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