News / The Diaspora

“Our City Festival” to celebrate D.C.’s Ethiopian culture

By STAFF WRITER    MAY 19, 2015

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“Our City Festival”, a weekend-long celebration of Washington D.C. through the arts, is to feature D.C.’s Ethiopian culture on its upcoming festival next month.

The festival, which runs from Friday, June 5 to Sunday, June 7, is presented in partnership by the DC Public Library and a DC-based communications firm, KRPR.

“Since 2008, the Our City Festival has been the Our City Film Festival,” says Festival Founder and KRPR Co-Principal, Kendra Rubinfeld. “Over the years, we have been amazed by the number of film entries and the enthusiasm of event attendees. We figured, if people want to celebrate D.C., let’s open this festival up to even more creative voices and give them the platform to tell more stories — thus the Our City Festival was created.”

Of the festival’s central focus, “This DCopian Life”, will explore and honor Ethiopian identity and culture through music, art and storytelling. The Ethiopian jazz group Feedel Band will provide live music, with their set interspersed with stories detailing the Ethiopian experience in D.C. told by locals — family members, musicians, restaurant employees and cab drivers.

Besides the Ethiopian-themed program, this year’s events will center around the history of Hand Dancing in the District, a literary and musical showcase featuring local ex-convicts, and the role Washington’s waterways play in shaping and reshaping the communities.

“The DC Public Library is thrilled to help present this year’s Our City Festival and affirm our ongoing commitment to the District’s creative community,” says Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library. “Public libraries are playing an increasingly important role in supporting the arts. This festival celebrates the work of District residents and shows that their library can serve as an epicenter of cultural and artistic expression.”

The festival will feature an array of well-known area artists and performers, including members of the Chuck Brown Band, rapper Bomani Armah (of the cult hit, “Read a Book”), singer/songwriter Tamara Walloons and many more.

The Ethiopia-themed program, a free event with registration, will take place on June 5 at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s Great Hall.

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