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.
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.
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
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.
Celebrated Ethiopian music group, Jano Band, make their debut on Coke Studio Africa this year, collaborating with South African avant-garde soul/R&B singer: Shekhinah. The pair will be produced by acclaimed music producer Gemini Major. Speaking in Nairobi during the recording of the show, Jano Band said: “Being on Coke Studio Africa is very nice – this is the biggest platform for connecting African artists. Our collaboration with Shekinah is the best experience so far. Her way of singing is so different from ours – it’s the way she puts words together, and the way she feels the music. Our genres are different so sharing that energy while together on the same stage is going to be wonderful.”
On the other hand, Shekhinah will also be featuring on Coke Studio’s special episode dubbed ‘Global Fusion Edition’ alongside Ethiopian music star Betty G, 10 other African stars and the American R&B/pop star – Jason Derulo. Speaking at a Coke Studio Africa Nairobi Press Conference, Shekhinah thanked Coke Studio for the opportunity, saying, “Not a lot of female artists from my country get this opportunity. Coke Studio Africa has opened a lot of African borders, I never knew Ethiopia had such amazing good music and I would have never dreamt about collaborating with African artists if I didn’t step out of my own country and stop focusing on myself,” adding, “Thanks Coke Studio Africa for allowing me to collaborate and understand other cultures, this is amazing!”
According to Coca-Cola brand manager for Ethiopia Tigist Getu, Coke Studio Africa creates a tremendous opportunity for artists to shine globally. “Being part of such a platform which connects Africa through music is amazing. Through the experience it helps artists to grow professionally. I believe it will do the same for Jano Band. Not only will it expose their music to the global audience, but it also creates other opportunities for Ethiopia and the band’s name to glisten on the international music arena”.
While in Nairobi, Jano Band announced that they are working on releasing their second album in Ethiopia. The album was recorded in Italy and America. They said, “We are planning to collaborate with more artists from Africa and abroad including Shekhinah. That will give us the energy and the platform to create and express our feelings and culture throughout the world.”
Jano Band is an ethio–rock fusion band from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are known for fusing and blending bass, heavy guitars, drums, electronic sounds with a hint of reggae. Jano Band came into the limelight in 2011, as a result of a nationwide talent search by renowned music manager Addis Gesesse and Ethiopian entrepreneur Ermisa Amelgafor. In 2012, they released their first album “ERTALE”. The album was published by Trio Entertainment Pic and Rock the World Music. The successful release of their album propelled them to the international markets such as Europe, America, Dubai and Britain where they held successful shows.
It was eight months back when Walter Rizzi, manager of Villa Verde Restaurant, received a call from the organisers of Rototom Sunsplash Spain, one of the largest European reggae festivals, inviting him to take part in the concert.
Walter is one of the founders of Rototom Sunsplash, which was initially launched in Italy but later moved to Benicàssim, Spain. Founded in 1994, the festival takes place in summer for 10 days on a 50ha open air space. It is reported that up to 300,000 tickets have been sold for the festival, which incorporates campsites, forums, an artisan market, an art symposium and cultural villages.
Since its launch, the festival has hosted 2,500 shows with 15,000 artists from 120 countries. The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognised the festival as an Exemplary Event between 2001 and 2010. And so far 14 countries have hosted this festival, on top of the main event in Spain.
Accepting the offer warmly, Walter travelled to Spain in November 2016 to deal with the organisers. He processed the deal along with Addis Gessese, a well-known Ethiopian manager for artists who previously managed Jano Band, a group of young Ethiopian rock musicians, and has a strong attachment to the Bob Marley family.
After a couple of discussions and negotiations with the organisers, Walter and Addis succeeded in concluding the deal of taking a crew of Ethiopian artists to the festival to be held between August 12 and 19, 2017, with the theme of ‘Celebrating Africa’.