Saturday, 26 June 2010

Gigi - Ejigayehu Shibabaw

I am audio browsing through the discography of Gigi, perhaps Ethiopia's most well known contemporary songstress.

There are many sensational Ethiopian women singers out there but Gigi will remain my favourite for sure.

There's another world that few singers open, an outworldly place where the voice resonates further than what lyrics can ever hope to reach and pass on, when words become scales in order to allow the calligraphy of vocals, messages that transcend language, so that all is clear, intelligible, beauty full ... or maybe I'm just making do with not understanding :-) .

Anyways, thanks Gigi for this beautiful song 'Ethiopia' that for me comes at a time when I was seriously considering dropping my project. Ethiopia is still far, but perhaps not that far.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ze burlesque follies of Africa

This is a rather old article, as news time-counting goes (February 2010), but it is written by my favourite Ethiopian author, Hama Tuma, so I cannot resist him nor the urge to share. So here goes: a presentation of two of Africa's plight 'Ze politicians' Zuma and Zenawi. I have chosen to copy here the latter part of his article which deals with Zenawi. For the full version, use your index finger.

"Zenawi versus Zuma : 'Ze burlesque' follies of Africa" by Hama Tuma (an article posted on Hama Tuma's website and also published in , for whom he is a regular columnist.)

"If Zuma is funny son of Zenawi aka Meles is dull and boring. This is the man who invaded Somalia and claimed it was not an invasion; "we just crossed the border". This is the man who blamed the West for the famine in Ethiopia: "they did not send food aid in time". This is the very man who indefatigably claims the economy is growing by 10% per year while the people are starving (14 million need food aid) and the country is in ruins in general. And this is the man who spent millions on monuments and to add insult to injury erected a monument for a donkey called Desalegne that transported arms, ammunition and goods for the guerrillas. Countless Ethiopian heroes have no monument in their name while an "ethnic "donkey has deserved one instead. This is the same Meles whose ultra corrupt wife claims she does not afford to pay school fees for her elder daughter, the same Meles who justifies a massacre (200 shot dead in Addis Ababa in 2005) by claiming that his police were not well trained in riot control. Damn the British who were supposed to train the police and intelligence services!

And Gadafi, the self declared King of Kings of all African tribes (sic), who tried to be second time president of the comatose AU and was angry he could not. This is the same Gadafi who has allied himself with Silvio Berlusconi much to the detriment of African refugees. Salva Kirr, the cowboy manqué, who presides over a corrupted South Sudan government that is seemingly obsessed on whether women should wear trousers or not while the whole region is aflame with violence. Up north, the dour faced Beshir does his massacre routine with gusto, preparing to be re elected as President even when the accusations against him for genocide kick up. In a few months, both Beshir and son of Zenawi will go through the motion of an election that has been rigged already. Swazi King Msawti III has 13 wives and takes up a bare breasted virgin as a new wife at the annual Reed Dance-- a show to make many white colonials chuckle with satisfaction. The young Swazi king is corrupt, he has, for example, spent US$ 500,000 on a new Daimler Chrysler Maybach 62 with all possible luxury extras, including a fridge and DVD player while two thirds of Swazis live on less than one dollar a day. Mention Kabila jr, the Bongos past and present, the Nguema fellow in oil rich Equatorial Guinea, the Congolese Ninja president Sassou Ngueso, the Chadian Deby and royal level corruption rears its head. Abundant folly.

As they say "ze oil" speaks volumes. Corrupt African leaders are backed by predators like the USA, Britain and France. Chinese presence and greed for Africa's wealth and resources has also aggravated the complication--Peking has allied itself with malleable African dictators like Beshir, Meles, Mugabe and more. The rich African countries are the main victims but the poor ones are not spared too--Djibouti sells its land as a military base to Washington and Paris and Ethiopia is being mortgaged to the highest bidder. Corrupt leaders are given more aid so long as they toe the line of the metropolis and persist with their folly that ridicules and damages Africa. Chinese ministers openly admit that they routinely pay bribes to win contracts and the recent collapse of the tunnel of the much touted Gilgel Gibe II dam in Ethiopia (the Italian construction firm reportedly paid bribes both in Rome and Addis Abeba) just ten days after its inauguration is a case in point. The white elephant projects of the seventies are alive and well.

The Ziegfeld Follies were quite a show in their time. "Ze follies" of Africa may stage shows but at the end of the day they are not funny at all. The cost is too much, the destruction too great. From the son of Zenawi to Zuma, to Sassou and Kabila, from Mugabe to Gelleh, the "follies" of Africa are on a rampage to destroy the continent. Time to end their disastrous show."

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Eyob Mergia

I've just discovered Eyob Mergia, a young Ethiopian-American painter, born in Debre Berhan, and graduate of Addis Abbeba School of Fine Art, now based in South Dakota (the Sioux Falls his blog says, how cool is that!) The reason I picked up on his work initially is that he has done a project on Axum. Below is his poster for his exhibition (apologies, it looks terrible here because I lifted the pictures from his site, erm, Eyob, it's to redirect to you man, if you object to your photos being here, let me know and I'll take them down.)

His compositions and technique are ... well, it's excellent, am lost for words, paintings speak for themselves, so I just wanted to say: check out his work!!!