Yegna receives new funding despite Daily Mail’s ruthless campaign against the all-female band

Yegna receives new funding despite Daily Mail's ruthless campaign against the all-female band
The band was the victim of a long-running campaign by The Daily Mail, which claimed grants to the group were a waste of money eventually leading the British government to withdraw its support. Now, things are looking up once again for the band.

Founded in 2013 to tackle issues including domestic violence and forced marriage through songs and online videos Yegna primary aim was to have an impact on the culture of the country by highlighting important social issues in the Ethiopian society. Its members Rahel Getu, Zebiba Girma, Eyerusalem Kelemework, Lemlem Haile Michael, and Teref Kassahun adopted stage names: Lemlem, Emuye, Sara, Mimi and Melat. The initial reception was, to a larger extent good; however, things started to get a bit shaky for the band, dubbed “Ethiopia’s Spice Girls”. It was the victim of a long-running campaign by The Daily Mail, which claimed grants to the group were a waste of money eventually leading the British government to withdraw its support. Now, things are looking up once again for the band having received new funding.

When Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Priti Patel, the right-wing parliamentarian as the face of British aid in 2016 following a poor electoral result that reduced the Tory party to that of minority status and was forced to appease the influential blue voice within caucus, Patel wanted to change the narrative of British aid as one that held “core Tory values”.

The darling of the ruthless British tabloid media that advocated for a protectionist British society with little regards to international aid and development, she wanted to echo a slew of one-liner initiatives borrowed from the editorials of the nation’s daily tabloid newspapers.

She was urged to help curb “waste in the 12 billion foreign aid budget at a time when social care is in crisis”.

To the British public that is more enthusiastic with band-aid solutions when it comes to Africa – starting from the efforts of Bob Geldof’s Do They Know Its Christmas charity effort – the idea of empowering women and girls was not a popular idea to endorse.

When the media found out the government was about to fund Ethiopia’s Yegna musical group, dubbed the “Spice Girls of Ethiopia”, the posh 1990s British all-female group that produced manufactured sounds, it was seen an excessive waste of money.

That was the shotgun to reduce Britons responsibility in the world and a hit for the British media.

For a period of one-week, Yegna became controversial and The Daily Mail, one of the most influential tabloid newspapers used it to lobby for the end of foreign aid and used a year-old report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact review of the Girl Hub programme (the name since changed to Girl Effect) to condemn the funding announcement.

The report had highlighted how the now Girl Effect group “remained concerned” (about Yegna) and that “DfID should consider in depth whether ongoing funding is merited and either reach a decision to cease funding or consider extending the project for a year to enable the evaluation to be completed”.

Despite an initial lukewarm endorsement of the initiative from Minster Patel, who credited the effort as one having an impact on women and girls on forced marriage and teenage pregnancies, the government withdrew its support. “We need to provide (taxpayers) with assurance that public money is being spent effectively and that our aid delivery partners apply the highest standards in transparency and ethical behavior,” she said.

The outcry was widespread, including from the aid community, the left-leaning Labor opposition which called her decision “sensationalist, headline-grabbing stories of waste and corruption (that) have become an ever increasing staple of British newspapers and from noted Britons, including poet, Lemn Sissay. “It’s wrong to let Yegna to hang out and dry,” he said. “They were the babies of the British Council, the former British ambassador to Ethiopia and the Nike Foundation. They all brokered this deal for the betterment of Ethiopia”.

Fast forward a year, in the midst of controversy and to some extent secrecy that has clouded its efforts from the outset, Yegna announced a new funding has been allocated to continue its work within Ethiopia. (The Reporter repeatedly reached out to Gayathri Butler, the country director of Girl Effect Ethiopia, but she rebuffed the request). “Our funders, including institutions and private donors are not willing to have their names made public,” she said.

Read more at thereporterethiopia

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Meet Kisanet Mola, Ethiopia’s entry to Miss World 2017

Meet Kisanet Mola, Ethiopia’s entry to Miss World 2017

Miss World 2017 will takes place on November 18th in Sanya, China
Meet Kisanet Mola, Ethiopia's entry to Miss World 2017

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Ethiopia’s Jano Band ‘breaks up’

The band, which has been performing together for six years, is known for fusing traditional Ethiopian music with jazz and progressive rock.

Ethiopia’s Jano Band is breaking up due to financial difficulties and disagreements on ownership, according to a local publication.

Ethiopian radio personality Dereje Ayalew, popularly known as DJ Kingston, was quoted by the Ethiopia Observer as saying that the band members had been entangled in a bitter dispute about the future of the group and its ownership for some time. Additionally, the band had been struggling financially forcing some of the members to demand for an equal share of income.

“The wrangles within the band began when some of the band members demanded that the income generated from live shows and album sales be shared equally,” Ayalew said about the band that was assembled by Ethiopian band manager and concert promoter Addis Gessesse.

“This idea was disputed by the band’s manger, Samuel Tefer, who also legally owns the registered Jano trademark,” Ayalew said.

The band, which has been performing together for six years, is known for fusing traditional Ethiopian music with jazz and progressive rock. The band released its first album Ertale in 2012 and was in the process of finalising a second offering before news of the break-up was publicised.

Before Ertale’s release five years ago, legendary New York-based producer Bill Laswell praised the band for its innovative sound.

“These are modern instruments but it does not overlook the kirar, it does not overlook masinko, it does not overlook the traditional singing, the church music and the power of the tradition,” Laswell told Tadias magazine. “It does not take that for granted. They don’t join the ranks of Ethiopian music, they break the rules.”

Ayalew said: “Before the members can each go their separate ways, an agreement has to be reached on when the album will be released and how each member will be compensated from the album sales.”

The band recently made its debut on Coke Studio Africa, which also features a number of other Ethiopian artists. Memorable moments for the Ethiopian TV audience will be Betty G’s collaboration with American singer Jason Derulo, Asgegnew Ashko’s collaboration with Ugandan star Sheebah and Jano Band’s collaboration with South Africa’s Shekinah. The first episode of Coke Studio Africa was broadcast in Ethiopia yesterday.

Source: musicinafrica

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Coke Studio Africa 2017 officially begins in Ethiopia

Coke Studio Africa 2017 officially begins in Ethiopia
Ethiopia will be represented by a diverse group of artists which includes Betty G, reggae sensation Sami Dan, Ethiopian rock phenomenon Jano band, “Bale robe” and “Dendasho” hit maker Asgegnew Asheko and top Tigrigna artist Dawit Nega.

Coca-Cola Company celebrates the official launch of its music flagship Coke Studio Africa 2017 in Ethiopia. Being broadcasted in Ethiopia for the second time in its history, Coke Studio Africa has become bigger and better this season with the merger of Coke Studio Africa and Coke Studio South Africa which were previously held separately.

Ethiopia will be represented by a diverse group of artists which includes Betty G, reggae sensation Sami Dan, Ethiopian rock phenomenon Jano band, “Bale robe” and “Dendasho” hit maker Asgegnew Asheko and top Tigrigna artist Dawit Nega.

Tigist Getu, Brand manager of Coca-Cola in Ethiopia says, “We had a great experience last year. And from that experience, we are very glad to bring a bigger and better Coke Studio Africa for the continent and for Ethiopia in particular. We have a group of top artists with diverse flavours this year incorporating the cultural and modern music experiences in Ethiopia. This will give more exposure to Ethiopian music and promote our culture globally”.

For months, the artists have been working alongside a highly talented house band while performing songs that will showcase the remix and cover of some of Africa’s hit songs. These artists are expected to showcase Ethiopian music & culture as well as share the values and traditions of their country with artists they will be collaborating with from the rest of Africa.

Epic moments to look forward to in the upcoming season include Betty G’s collaboration with the multi-platinum International pop artist Jason Derulo on the global fusion edition of Coke Studio, Jano band’s collaboration with South African Shekinah, Asgegnew Asheko working with Ugandan star Sheebah and the premier of the season; the Ethiopian New Year special episode.

“What makes this year special is that we have an Ethiopian New Year show and on that episode the Ethiopian Coke Studio artists come together to perform a special New Year song, arranged by top Ethiopian music producer Abegazu Kibrework Shiwota. We have also involved Alemayehu Deneke on the song writing. This by itself promotes Ethiopia, our special calendar, as well as our traditional clothes and dancing on a platform that Africa comes together to grasp each other’s values and connect as one,” Tigist added.

Coke Studio Africa 2017 will be broadcasted weekly on EBS television. It promises to be a melting pot of musical talents bringing together renowned music producers and top-notch artists drawn from various parts of the continent.

The merger this year increases the number of participating countries to 16, up from 11 in previous edition. This season will broadcast in more than 30 countries across Africa. The production now includes artists from South Africa, Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia,Cameroon. The last edition featured Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire, & Togo while South Africa had its own production.

Some of the names this season include Bruce Melodie from Rwanda, Tanzanian artists: Rayvanny, Izzo Bizness and Nandy, Ugandan artists Bebe Cool, Eddy Kenzo, Ykee Benda and Sheebah, Khaligraph Jones & Band Becca from Kenya, Nasty C, Busiswa, Mashayabhuqe, from South Africa, Youssoupha from Democratic Republic of Congo, Runtown and Yemi from Nigeria.

Like the previous editions, Coke Studio aims to inspire and introduce Africa’s music talents to a new and wider audience through interaction, collaboration and cooperation amongst musical artists while also building a strong brand connection with Africa’s young and growing population. Africa is full of great music talent in communities, cities and countries, and Coke Studio Africa can give these artists wider exposure, while enabling greater interaction, collaboration and cooperation to create inspirational new sounds.

Coke Studio Africa is a non-competitive music collaboration show, which seeks to bring people together and celebrate the diversity of African music and talent. It also gives upcoming artists the opportunity to work with some of the best local and international music and production talent. It brings together artists from different genres, eras and regions to create a modern and authentic African sound through musical fusion.

Source: capitalethiopia

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Teddy Afro’s album launch stopped by police

Ethipian pop star Teddy Afro
Ethipian pop star Teddy Afro says police demand for permit ridiculous

Authorities in Ethiopia have stopped singer Tewodros Kassahun, popularly known as Teddy Afro, from launching his much-acclaimed album, Ethiopia.

A BBC reporter says federal police showed up at the hotel in Addis Ababa hours before the party and stopped Teddy’s sound team from setting up.

His manager told the BBC that they are yet to get official reasons why the launch party was cancelled.

Teddy’s 15-track album is the fastest-selling album in the country’s history.

Following its release in May this year the album topped the Billboard World Albums chart for weeks.

On his Facebook Page, Teddy Afro has termed the police demand for a permit as ridiculous.

His concert scheduled for the eve of Ethiopian New Year, which falls on 11 September, has also been cancelled in unclear circumstances.

Source: BBC

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Zekarias Tibebu Mesfin continues to make waves with his film

Ethiopian filmmaker Zekarias Tibebu wins TAFF 2017 Best Emerging Filmmaker for his film “EWIR AMORA KELABI”, a true story on his life as an Ethiopian refugee.

Based on a true story, this film chronicles the life of Major Tibebu Mesfin, who worked for the Dergue Regime in Ethiopia. During this time of ideological struggle and infighting among the regime’s leadership, Tibebu disappears and his wife is captured, imprisoned, and tortured. Years later, fueled by a deep-seated desire to help his ailing mother, Tibebu’s son leaves the town of Gonder to search for work. The result is an unpredictable adventure, the story of how far one man will go to fulfill his destiny, and a tale for the ages about the resilience of the human spirit.

VOA interview with Ethiopian Ethiopian filmmaker Zekarias Tibebu

Ewir Amora Kelabi by Ethiopian filmmaker Zekarias Tibebu Mesfin

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Teddy Afro concert cancelled for a third time

teddy afro-playing-piano

Teddy Afro’s New Year’s Eve concert, which was to take place on 10 September at the Addis Ababa’s Millennium Hall has been cancelled again. The artist was reportedly to receive $76 980 (1.8 million birr) from organisers of the event Joy Events and Promotion PLC, which sent an application for the concert in the first week of July.

According to the Addis Ababa Mayor’s Office, the decision was taken to give space to a different Ethiopian New Year’s Eve events which will be also attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemarim Desalegn.

The event’s organisers have announced that Teddy Afro’s concert has been postponed. The new date for the concert is yet to be announced by the event’s organisers.

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