As promised, Ethiopian reggae. We start with some tracks from Jonny Ragga, a performer who seems to capture what you might call a combination of hip hop attitude and 80s reggae sound. In Ethiopia, music is everywhere, and the repetition of music over and over again seem to cause tunes to grow on me big time. This is the case with Jonny Ragga’s entire oeuvre. His imperfect English leads to wonderful lyrics like the one used for the title of this post. Over the past year or so I haven’t heard a lot from him, but I can tell you that “Abeshewi” was quite a popular tune.
“Kulfun Sechigne” (literally, “Give me the Key”) was not only popular, but its accompanying video was made by Aida Ashenafi’s Mango Films. Aida’s the director behind the excellent and visually beautiful film Guzo (meaning “Journey”), which has two Addis Ababa city kids see what it’s like to live in rural Ethiopia. The Simple Life it aint. The high production values of the video led to it being shown on South Africa’s Channel O and winning an award.
I also like this one, it’s apparently supposed to act as a part two to “Abeshewi”, entitled “Konjo Ende Anchi”. The video was sponsored by a paint factory: Mega Paints. See if you can spot the product placement.
And, of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without “Pick Up the Phone”, the tune with the amusing lyric. I’ll leave it to those interested to search for further Jonny Ragga tunes-he has a song dedicated to Oprah (“the soul mother of the world”).