Ethiopia Festival Showcases Diaspora Music Collective

Above: The Arba Minch Collective, multidisciplinary group of
diaspora Ethiopian artists overlooking Arba Minch, photo ’09.

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Monday, May 9, 2011

New York (Tadias) – The “Music Without Boundaries” festival under way this week in Ethiopia showcases a lineup of international bands and artists, hailing from at least five countries including Italy, Germany, Spain, Rwanda and the United States.

The roster of Ethiopian American artists taking part in the concert includes: Grammy nominated R&B singer Wayna, up-and-coming jazz vocalist Meklit Hadero, singer Munit Mesfin, as well as hip hop artists Gabriel Teodros and Ellias Fullmore. The participating Diaspora artists are organized under an umbrella group named the Arba Minch Collective, founded two-years ago by Meklit Hadero.

“In 2009 I had the idea to gather a group of ten outstanding Ethiopian Diaspora artists from multiple disciplines to travel to Ethiopia as a group (that we called the Arba Minch Collective). In December of that year we had our first epic trip, ” Meklit said in a recent fundraising letter sent to friends and supporters. “Together, we traveled through the country’s southern region, witnessing and documenting traditional and contemporary music and culture. We performed, gave workshops, visited schools, and met with Ethiopian artists who are reshaping Addis Ababa’s creative landscape. This May, we’re going again, this time to perform for the people at the Music Without Boundaries Festival, taking place in Harrar, Gondar, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”

According to the organizers, the events in two of Ethiopia’s oldest cities – Harrar and Gondar – are free and open to the public. The show, which opened in Addis on May 6 will conclude in Gondar on May 14.

Per Meklit: “The music festival is not able to pay us for our trip, but because it is such a huge opportunity, we decided to make this happen anyway. The money we raise will go primarily to the cost of airfare. Other costs include accommodations within Ethiopia and ground transportation. Finally, during the entire trip, I’ll be taking photos and will have a photo blog on the National Geographic World Music website.”

The tour by the Ethiopian American artists is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Watch Video:

Funded by the People: An East Africa Tour – Meklit Hadero from Peter Varshavsky on Vimeo.

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