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Damian Marley in Addis

Damian "JR Gong" Marley, son of Bob Marley and music star in his own right, is scheduled to perform in Addis Ababa on June 6.

Junior Gong a.k.a. Gongzilla, is the son of Bob Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, who was Miss World 1976.

The self-proclaimed “spiritual revolutionary” has worked hard to carve out his own niche in music history and has shown that he is lot more than the son of famous people.

He has been described as “rhyming with the conviction of a street preacher with the intellect of a university economist”.

After touring with his brothers – Stephen, Ky-mani, Julian and Ziggy – as a teenager Damian started to make his name as a different kind of Marley.

His first solo album, Mr Marley, released in 1996, was a heavily dancehall-influenced album. It was produced by his brother Stephen Marley. His second album, Halfway Tree, was released in 2001 by a major record label and showcased Damian’s gift for blending dancehall, reggae and hip-hop styles.

Jomo Tariku @ Venice Design 2017

Ethiopian American designer Jomo Tariku’s latest work, The Birth Chair, was featured at Venice Design 2017 in Venice, Italy as part of Venice Design’s Time, Space Existence exhibition. In addition, the exhibit highlighted four new designs by Jomo Furniture.

According to Jomo, “The Birth Chair II is inspired by African birthing chairs, which are still used in parts of Sub –Saharan Africa. Unlike most home furnishings in African countries, it is both utilitarian and decorative as well as a functional furniture that is also a work of art. Jomo original model is modular, with swappable backrests featuring various designs. Spare backrests can be displayed as decor. The ultimate design is modern, though rooted in African history.”

The press release adds: “Jomo’s unique exhibition ushers in a new era of mainstreaming African design. Africa has been severely underrepresented in events such as Venice Biennale due to in part to the ethnic, rather than nation-based identity among many in African counters. Mainstream events are typically organized around national representation.” (Tadias)

Mahmoud Ahmed, Ali Birra in Melbourne

Ethiopian legendary musicians Mahmoud Ahmed, and Ali Birra, joined by Melbourne’s Ethio-jazz band The JAzmaris, performed their classics as well as tributes to contemporaries from the bustling Ethiopian music scene in Melbourne, Australia.

Undeniably one of Ethiopia’s most famous singers, Mahmoud Ahmed is celebrated for his free-wheeling vocals and quavering Amharic rhythm.

Since the late 1990s Mahmoud has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the Buda Musique reissued three of his albums as part of the Ethiopiques series of CDs, which did for Ethiopia’s music scene what the Buena Vista Social Club did for Cuba's.

Ali Birra has been described as a national icon, a pioneer, a legend and a hero. A trail-blazer in many ways, Ali Birra self-produced the first known album in his mother tongue of Oromiffa.

With the ability to sing in Amharic, Arabic, Harari and Somali language, Ali rose to fame across Ethiopia in the 1970s before a storied career to that took him to Sudan, Sweden and the United States.

Music, cultural festival @ Ghion

The first Annual African Music and Cultural Exchange Festival (AMCEF) will be held in Addis Ababa, at Ghion Hotel gardens on May 27 and 28 featuring prominent musicians from around Africa.

Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), Patoranking (Nigeria), Chameleone (Uganda), Mafikizolo (South Africa) and many more from Ethiopia including Jonny Ragga, Helen Berhe, Mehari Brothers and Berry are all scheduled to perform.

The festival provides two days of fun for the whole family with zones dedicated for kids and youth during the day while the main stage will offer evening entertainment for adults.

The AMCEF is the first annual Pan African festival in Ethiopia showcasing an amazing array of vibrant African traditional and contemporary music, dance, art, food and fashion. AMCEF is supported by the Africa Union.

The event is organized by DYMDC in  partnership with SICS – a company engaged in creative development, advertising, and experiential marketing – to produce AMCEF after years of experience coordinating landmark shows including Bob Marley Africa Unite Concert.