News / The Diaspora

Ethiopian artists liven up the summer at Stockholm Culture Festival

By THEODROS YESHIAREGA,  Correspondent   AUGUST 16, 2015

Ethiocolor traditional band performing at the Stockholm Culture Festival in an evening curated by Selam, August 13, 2015 Alma Vestlund / Studio Emma Svensson

STOCKHOLM — Internationally acclaimed Ethiopian singers Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete as well as Ethiocolor, an Addis Ababa based folklore group, took the grand stage at Stockholm Culture Festival on August 13, in an evening curated by Selam — a cultural organization based in Sweden.

Thousands of music fans from Ethiopia and other countries were first entertained by the eleven-strong Ethiocolor, which fuses music and dances using traditional instruments with modern twists. The musicians and dancers who comprise three generations, are recognized for their vibrant live shows with rhythmic dances of various ethnic groups of Ethiopia.

The show was followed by two of Ethiopia’s legendary singers Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete, backed by the French Badume Band.

A true Ethiopian legend, Alemayehu Eshete is often described as the “Ethiopian James Brown,” or “Abyssinian Elvis,” owing to his electrifying stage performances. He entertained his fans with his best songs of all time which, among others, included Temar Lije, Kotuma Fikrye, Yeweyen Haregitu, and Addis Abeba Bete.


Ethiopian music icon Mahmoud Ahmed at the festival Alma Vestlund / Studio Emma Svensson

Mahmoud Ahmed, who is both a living legend and a sensation in the West, then took stage and that great voice of his sailed forth just as it had done for the past five decades. Mahmoud performed around ten of his best hits in a row from the 1960s, with energy that didn’t seem to come from a man of his age.

Ere Mela Mela, Belomi Benna, Tizeta, Ebo Lala, Kulun Man Kualesh, Almaz Min Edanew, Atawurulegn Léla were some of the songs with which Mahmoud delighted thousands of his fans who stayed until midnight watching him perform live.

Teshome Wondimu, founder and director of Selam, told GIZEYAT his organization has been engaged for more than a decade in giving back to tax-payers by staging free of charge music festivals and bringing internationally renown artists from all corners of the world to Sweden.

With offices in Stockholm and Addis, and supported by several Swedish organizations as well as the Nordic Culture Fund, Selam promotes festivals, concerts, tours, club nights and forums presenting global music in professional venues, such as the Stockholm Culture Festival.

The Stockholm Culture Festival is a city-wide event presented by the City of Stockholm with partners from the cultural and business community of the city. The festival fills streets and squares with different kinds of events, and has managed to attract a record 850,000 visits this year.


Music fans enjoying the performances in front of the stage Alma Vestlund / Studio Emma Svensson


GIZEYAT is honored and pleased to announce that it will run a series of exclusive interviews with Mahmoud Ahmed; Alemayehu Eshete; Francis Falceto, a music curator and producer who put Ethiopian music on world map; Teshome Wondimu of Selam and Temesgen Haile Gabriel of Ethiocolor in the coming weeks.

UPDATE 9/5/15: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to publish the interviews on GIZEYAT. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. But you can still find Theodros YeshiArega’s exclusive interviews on the following link

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