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Dibekulu, affectionately known by his fans as “Dibe”, is an Ethiopian artist who resides in the vibrant capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. His melodic style, which is simultaneously playful and reflective, is influenced by his love of jazz, classical music, and improvised instrumental music stemming from his African roots. His passion for music was ignited by legendary Ethiopian artists such as Ketema Mekonnen, Tilahun Gessesse, Girma Beyene, Muluken Melesse, Aster Aweke, Asnakech Worku, and Bizunesh Bekele, who to this day serve as his role models and inspirations. In his own words, DibeKulu says: “These artists have had a huge impact on me both as a musician and human being, and I give them credit for having an influence on who I am as a person and musician”.

DibeKulu, the youngest of three children, was born in the city of Addis. His family is his compass and he attributes much of his musical passion to them. His grandfather, a strong man of faith, was a strong presence in his life, and gave him the name “DibeKulu”, which is a combination of two Ge’ez words meaning “Kehulu Belay” which loosely translates to “destined for greatness”. Early on, he recognized that he was born to be a musician who was put on earth to inspire generations with his gift of music.
DibeKulu started performing in the early 2000s in various nightclubs and other settings around Addis Ababa. A young and gifted artist like DibeKulu had plenty of options world ushered in a new millennium and a new decade.

Owing to his impressive live performances, DibeKulu gained prominence in the modern Ethiopian music scene. As a musician, he embodies the essence of African music, exhibiting a young man with an old soul. During his time with Jano Band, DibeKulu performed concerts in Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Bahir Dar, Dessie, Jimma, and Mekelle cities. Internationally, he performed in Brazil, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom. As the young artist departed his former band and went solo, Haben Woldu sat down with him for an EBR exclusive.


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The increased prevalence of single music tracks has diminished the prevalence of full music albums. However, those Ethiopian artists dedicating themselves to release the longer works are making significant impact. One tradition that seems to be on the rise along with the release of these music albums are the events that accompany them. It has now become common for artists to announce the release of their albums at lavish events. The latest addition to musicians employing expensive release events is Rophan—the young artist that has rocked the nation with his latest album called SIDIST. In this article, EBR’s Trualem Asmare tells the story of these album release events and their implication.


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The revamping of Meskel Square, turning an abandoned area into Friendship Square, decorating the corridors of main roads, and a new project to be undertaken along the city’s railway have all been done by the current administration to lift the face of the capital. A city that was once insulted by the late Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi for being too dirty to host the African Union, has been on a series of facelifting activities in the last couple of years. Beyond aesthetics, the projects also serve individuals, small businesses, and the city administration as a source of income. While these project sites are attracting more and more photoshoots offering beautiful backdrops to seize important moments in citizens’ lives, many fear they have classed out the majority of the city’s residents, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


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Concert business in Addis Ababa has been booming and getting the attention of music lovers as well as local and international performers. All was joyful before the bad news of a global pandemic kicked in. As has been the case for many other businesses in the hospitality sector, concerts and live events were banned from the public scene. Conflicts in the northern part of the country also meant that international and regional performers would not bet on visiting Ethiopia. Even when restrictions eased, it was not easy for these businesses to have showtimes. Slowly, but surely, the African capital is hearing the sound of musicians from live concerts again, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


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Pottery—the art of molding clay soil into various shapes of products—is bringing business to women at a center in Addis Ababa’s Gulele district. In the center, pottery is giving both livelihoods and life to the more than 300 women involved, though not as modernized as one would have liked. As much as the practice is giving a good look to people’s living rooms as well as giving high service in Ethiopian kitchens and homes, the craft still struggles to improve the society’s bad impression of it as a profession, writes Trualem Asmare.


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Ethiopian artists have long presented their works for insufficient compensation. The same is true for artists worldwide, to varying degrees. The idea of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is now offering alternatives for artists to generate the income they deserve by ensuring the intactness of their artworks’ copyrights. Even though NFTs are a very recent phenomenon, some Ethiopians are slowly introducing themselves to this parallel digital reality. As much as this new world of NFTs offers an immense opportunity, legal, structural, and ethical challenges still remain to be addressed, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


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Despite the fact that women have achieved greater equality in recent decades with regard to increased employment opportunities, the realm of music performance still remains overwhelmingly dominated by men. This trend isn’t exclusive to Ethiopia: countries in the West also feature predominately male orchestras and bands that perform at prestigious musical venues. EBR’s adjunct writer Meseret Mamo spoke with musicians and explored the issue further to parse through the different explanations behind why women are underrepresented as instrumentalists. This article is a rerun from EBR 38.


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Ethiopians have always had traditional ways of looking good for both the face and body. Culturally recognized hairstyles, eye coloring sticks, hand softening traditional creams have been around for long. Modern makeup is growing more and more, however. The last few years have seen a change where makeup studios are becoming widespread. So much so that even makeup trainers and schools are popping up in Addis Ababa. Such is the growth as both a business and personal practice, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


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As much as artists have been vocal about the power of performing arts in communicating messages that could change society in many ways, the endeavor has failed to reach epic heights expected from a culturally-rich nation like Ethiopia. From censorship to competition from the growing cinema business, theater’s voyage has been full of hurdles. Now, the art form is dealing with the pandemic and national security challenges. EBR’s Trualem Asmare explores.


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As mental illness continues to challenge society, government institutions and private citizens are contributing to possible remedies. Even when daunted by mistaken public awareness and infrastructure shortages, the use of art is lending a hand in the fight against the growing public health challenge, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare, where she finds dedicated individuals tackling the issue with their artistic hands and minds.



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