The Addis Jazz Festival (AJF) is the flagship event for Muzikawi, Ethiopia’s top music and event production company. The festival, the only one of its kind in East Africa, features established musicians as well as up-and-coming performers and fresh work from local and international artists. The inaugural event took place in 2019 with the goals of introducing jazz music to Addis Ababa, promoting Ethio Jazz, and giving international jazz musicians networking opportunities and platforms. A few of the well-known figures in the world of jazz who have performed at the festival include Hailu Mergia, Alemayehu Eshete, Samuel Yirga, Kibrom Birhane, and Kaÿn Lab.This year the festival coincides with International Jazz Day designated by UNESCO to highlight the diplomatic role of Jazz in uniting people worldwide. It will take place with the aim to Celebrate Jazz and Unity.
29 – 30 APRIL, 2023 • ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
29 – 30 APRIL, 2023
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
Dawit Yifru is one of the most well-known composers in Ethiopian jazz history, with a career spanning more than thirty years. His musical influence was so great that many people attribute him with creating the entire modern Ethiopian music genre and launching the careers of some of the top singers in the country, including Muluken Melesse, Neway Debebe, and Kenedy Mengesha. He is currently the chairman of the board and a member of the Ethiopian Musicians Association. He continues to motivate new generations of Ethiopian musicians with his commitment to his art and love of music.
Club Killers is a Stockholm-based Swedish reggae band. They are primarily ska and rocksteady fans, but they have recently expanded to champion all Jamaican sounds. Band members include Anna Maria Espinosa (Vocals), Desmond Foster (Guitar & vocals), Patrik Kolar (Keys), Anders Kappelin (Base), Viktor Brobacke (Trombone), Gustav Bendt (Saxophone) and Gustav Nahlin (Drums).
Jorga Mesfin is an Ethiopian Saxophonist and founder of Ethio jazz band Wudasse. He is a self-taught musician whose influences embrace the creativity and spirit of jazz as well as the traditional and varied sounds of Ethiopian music. He is well known for having written the music for the film Teza, by Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima, for which Mesfin received prizes at the fifth Dubai International Film Festival and the 22nd Carthage Film Festival for Best Composer and Best Music Selection, respectively. He’s currently in the process of recording two EPs and one album.
Endeguena Mulu aka Ethiopian Records is a music producer & recording artist who has been in the industry for the past 18 years. He is a pioneering figure in introducing Ethiopiyawi-Electronic to the music scene, a new genre of experimental electronic music from Ethiopia. He experiments with traditional rhythms and traditional sonic palettes using electronic music making tool, to explore a future that is eternally Ethiopian and Pan-African. Ethiopian Records has 4 studio Extended Play Albums (EPs) released internationally under his belt.
Balkew Alemu is an Ethiopian singer who debuted his EP titled ‘Felge’ in 2022. His first experience with the music scene came when he competed in the Ethiopian Idol singing competition in 2005 and 2012, where he placed among the top five. His music blends contemporary music with Ethio jazz and western african rhythmic concepts, all with a vintage feel to it. Balkew’s captivating vocals and the profoundly poetic lyrics elevate this EP to the status of an all-time classic.
Sintayehu Belay is a talented Ethiopian singer who launched her career in 2022 with the release of her debut EP, Tsedey. Her voice and singing are distinctive, and her musical compositions can be compared to those of the renowned Aster Aweke and Hamelmal Abate with influences from traditional Azmari singing techniques. She is also known to incorporate some West African musical elements into her use of the Kirar and Masinko instruments.
Anis is an emerging musician based in Addis Ababa with a strong interest in music . Hei has gained popularity with his song called “Haadha Milkii”. “Haadha Milkii” shows the special place that women hold in the Oromo cultural system. Through this music Anis has extensively covered ‘’Sinqe’’ which a democratic and justice system for women in the Oromo culture. He is currently working on his first EP.
Azmach is an Ethio-hip hop group based in Addis Ababa. The trio, made up of Senay, Nani, and Lij Teddy, musically draws heavily from old-school hip hop/rap and Ethiopian rhythms and melodies, which sets them apart from other hip-hop groups. Their lyrics tell native stories in order to inspire young people. Since its inception in 2016, the group has performed on stages alongside international acts such as Protoje (JAM), Mike Ellison (USA), Eden Derso (ISR), Daniel Lemma (SWE), and AKALA (UK). AZMACH is currently working on two EP projects with Muzikawi that will be released in 2023.
Gonder Fasiledes is a cultural group that was established in February, 2015 with 36 members following the footsteps of the former cultural group known as Fasiledes cultural group.
The legendary musician Sofi (Sultan Nuri Sofi) has participated in training the group. While it was still being established in 2015, Gonder Fasiledes was able to win 3rd place in a cultural festival that was carried out in the Amhara region. It again competed in 2018 in a region-wide cultural music festival and won 1st place. In 2019, the group traveled to Sudan and performed Ethiopian cultural music to more than 30,000 Sudanese and the Ethiopian community.