Afro beats making waves in Ethiopia
Afro beats have become a huge thing in Ethiopia lately. In nightclubs and bars across town, you will hear different Afro beats busting and people dancing to them. It would be unlikely for people not to know what Afro beats is. P-Square is one of the most known artistes and they have also performed in 2013 during Ethiopian New Year’s Eve celebrations. Similar to them, Nigerian rapper, Skales, has also performed in Ethiopia in 2016.
Shining brightly, Yemi Alade performed in Ethiopia for the first time at Ghion Hotel on Saturday, the 26th of October, 2019. Yemi Alade, a famous Nigerian singer, who has multiple awards has come to Ethiopia for the first time to promote her Album “Woman of Steel”.
Wearing a red top with shiny embedment, accompanied with red shorts, she showed her charisma and her attitude matching her expressions with the songs she performed. Her dance moves and her facial reactions were on point. Yemi Alade singing and her sharp dance moves looks like something straight out of a movie. She ruled the stage like it was her kingdom. That night was definitely one of a kind for Yemi Alade fans; words could not express how remarkable it is to be close to their favorite artiste.
Feeling excited, Gaylord Kofi, an expat living in Ethiopia for the past three years was present at the concert with his friends. He told The Reporter that he admired how organized the concert and how good the sound system was. Gaylord Kofi is a huge fan of afrobeat and that he has been listening to Yemi Alade since she first became an artiste. He was excited to see her perform on stage for the first time and praised that the concert was flawless.
Yemi Alade first rose to fame with her single “Johnny”. And who would have known she had such a huge fan base in Ethiopia. 10,000 tickets were said to be sold out at a unit price of 400 birr for normal ticket, 1,000 birr for VIP. Yemi Alade, queen of Afro pop did indeed prove that she is queen, by the buzzes of her fans at Ghion Hotel during the concert. Accompanying her on stage were other artistes including Betty G., Yared Negu and Asge Dendasho.
Even though there is a lack of proper concert stage, that did not stop the concert from happening. MOA Anbessa in collaboration engineers were excited to show their newly built stage. The stage was like no other, sponsored by Habesha Beer, it had a huge Ethiopian feel, there was Mesob all around. Before the event, the planners claimed to have been prepared to provide the best experience for all who came to attend the concert. They also said that the VIP will get a real VIP experience. They were be stationed at the front row and were provided with a buffet meal catered by Jupiter Hotel.
Locals and expats were buzzing during the concert. Everyone was dancing and going wild over the performances. The DJs and the charismatic host made time go fast as the main performers started later than expected. Audiences loved the performance as can be said by Alemayehu.
Alemayehu Seifeselassie, a former music columnist and a music lover, said that the concert was lively. He is also a huge fan of Afro pop. He told The Reporter that he really enjoyed the concert and that, “It was nice to see a woman perform Afro beats as there are not many that perform songs that are danceable too and Yemi Alade is an exception on this.” Alemayehu also complimented the event planners for having an outdoor concert as it was not congested and stuffy; however, the ticketing system could have been better if it was not purchased only by phone and there was another alternative to provide a printed ticket.
The first to perform was Asge, He controlled the crowd like no other. He started with a brief speech. As it is hard to ignore politics from one’s life nowadays, Asgegnew Dendasho, a.k.a. Asge, made a statement at the beginning of his performance. “For me, a country means people… I am a person; I am a young person and I am an Ethiopian”. He controlled the stage with his charismatic behavior. Making everyone dance and not forgetting instrument players at the back. He also introduced his music composer to the audience. The theatrical performance of the dancers had everyone’s attention. Lastly, on his final performance he said “We all will make a promise to our country… anyone who says I am young, I have energy, anyone who says I am a person, I ask you to make a promise.” He concluded his performance by saying, “I made a promise, Ethiopia won’t fall, Ethiopia will not be ruined.” People were happy to hear him say something important in relation to all the current events.
Yared Negu also performed his songs to the crowd, making everyone dance. Betty G. continued to perform making the crowd go wild with her famous hit Gereye. Afterwards Asge and Betty made the crowd go crazy. The audience was mesmerized to see the duo perform Zono Zoka on stage as well.
Later on, the big wait was over; Yemi Alade came on stage, and who would have known she had an enormous fan base in Ethiopia. She appeared on stage, right after her crew passed with the audience and people cheering her on. She gave her everything on stage, performing in Ethiopia has gotten her excited. She even invited a couple of the audience to go on stage to dance with her. Almost everyone volunteered, there was a mini competition on stage and Yemi choose three dancers to accompany her on one of her performances.
A group of 20 came from the office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to watch Yemi Alade perform. Senait, a huge fan of Yemi Alade, said that there was more than expected people who came to the concert. Complementing the sound system, Senait also appreciated that the concert was held outdoor. Though she told The Reporter that she was expecting more from Yemi Alade. The songs that she sang during the concert were a bit slow to dance too and she only had two dancers, according to Senait. “She was not as active as expected, and that was a bit of a disappointment, besides she also performed for a very short period,” Senait said.
“There are many popular Afro pop singers but mostly they are men, it was quite exciting to have a woman performing Afro pop songs and dances,” she said.
Contributed by Sesina Hailou