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 that are arranged in a modern touch. The musicians and dancers who comprise three different 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 eccentric and 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.
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; his energy didn't seem to come from an old man of his age. Completely dominating the stage, the crowd awestruck by his performance couldn’t stop begging him for more.
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 iREFUGEE 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 Fond, 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 life of the city. The festival fills streets and squares with all kinds of cultural events, and has managed to attract 750,000 visits last year.
iREFUGEE is honored and pleased to announce that it will run a series of exclusive interviews with Mahmoud Ahmed; Alemayehu Eshete; Francis Falecetto, a music curator and producer who put Ethiopian music on world map; Teshome Wondimu of Selam and Melaku Belay of EthioColor in the coming weeks.
Mahmoud Ahmed is contemplating retirement, Alemayehu Eshete is giving up love songs, and many more. Watch this space.