Mulatu Astatke, the “Father of Ethio-Jazz,” is an iconic musician and cultural ambassador whose innovative blend of Ethiopian musical heritage and jazz improvisation has captivated audiences worldwide. While there’s no exact starting date, Mulatu Astatke’s musical interests emerged in the early 1950s and blossomed into active playing in the 1960s. This long career span has allowed Mulatu to leave an indelible mark on the global music scene. His compositions and performances showcase the beauty and complexity of Ethiopian music, fusing traditional scales, rhythms, and instruments with the harmonic structures and improvisational spirit of jazz. Through collaborations with renowned artists and his pioneering album “Mulatu of Ethiopia,” he has brought Ethio-Jazz to the forefront, shaping the cultural narrative and preserving Ethiopia’s artistic legacy. Mulatu’s legacy is one of inspiration, cultural preservation, and global recognition, leaving an enduring impact on the fusion of cultures, creativity, and cross-cultural understanding. In an exclusive interview with EBR’s Eden Teshome, Mulatu, the “Father of Ethio-Jazz,” shares his remarkable musical journey and vision.


Exploring Ethiopia’s Unique Ramadan Style

The holy month of Ramadan transcends religious practice, shaping spiritual observances and fashion trends. During this sacred period, the demand for modest clothing surges, reflecting religious requirements and global fashion influences. This dynamic interplay is transforming Ethiopia’s Ramadan fashion landscape, with a growing presence of imported garments and locally tailored designs catering to this evolving demand.

EBR’s Nejat Ahmed delves into the intricate connections between faith, style, and the fashion choices of Ethiopian Muslims during Ramadan.


Why are Women Missing from Orchestras?

Despite the undeniable progress towards gender parity in the broader world, the concert stage remains an echo chamber of a bygone era. Orchestras and bands that grace the pinnacle of musical achievement continue to be overwhelmingly dominated by men, a persistent disparity that transcends geographic borders and exposes a deeper cultural reality. In exploring this enduring imbalance, EBR’s adjunct writer Meseret Mamo delves into the intricate web of factors that impede women’s representation as instrumentalists, fostering a critical discourse that seeks to illuminate a path towards a more equitable future for music performance. She explains why fewer women are involved in orchestral performance than men, even after increased enrollment in music programmes globally and why a similar trend in Ethiopia exists with less women pursuing musical careers despite graduating from music schools.


YEMariam “YEMa” Chernet, an Ethiopian singer based in Addis Ababa, captivates listeners with her gentle yet powerful voice, showcasing her intimately forceful style and lush musicality on her debut album, “Yedega Sew.” Inspired by Ethiopian songs’ traditional fluttering vocal passions, YEMa skillfully brings them into a contemporary realm reminiscent of the accomplished Ejigayehu Shibabaw. Produced by Eyuel Mengistu, head of Yared School of Music, and featuring talented artists like lyricist Yilma Gebreab, drummer Teferi Assefa, and Kora player Jose Braima Galissa, YEMa’s album reflects delicate fusions and defies cultural boundaries. With a narrative between various instruments, including mesenko, dita, washint, philas, and kora, the album captures both reflective and fiery moments. YEMa, the daughter of a former music manager, grew up surrounded by music and began exploring her vocal talents at an early age. Her collaboration with Eyuel started in Ramada Addis, leading to various musical experiments and projects. YEMa’s voice and style have drawn comparisons to the renowned artist Gigi, but she embraces the honour and burden while striving to develop her unique sound and style. In an exclusive interview with EBR’s Eden Teshome, YEMa discusses her musical journey, influences, and aspirations.


Born and raised in the vibrant neighbourhoods of Addis Ketema and Kolfe in Addis Ababa, Zerubabbel Mola emerged as a spirited child with an independent streak. He despised being told what to do and marched to the beat of his drum. This rebellious nature ultimately led him down the path of becoming a musician. Zerubabbel’s musical journey began as he was captivated by the rich tapestry of sounds surrounding him and honed his vocal skills by joining a choir. However, his life took a significant turn when his father departed for the United States. Deeply missing his father and grappling with melancholy, Zerubabbel stumbled upon a guitar tucked away beneath his father’s bed.

Despite lacking formal training, he instinctively began strumming the strings and discovered a familiar melody—the song “Zekiyos Achir Sew Neber,” meaning Zekiyos was a short guy in Amharic, a song he used to play as a child. In that moment, the guitar became his solace and connection to his father, igniting an unwavering love for playing the instrument. After gaining experience and refining his skills, Zerubabbel embarked on a musical journey that would define his career. He spent five transformative years working alongside the talented Mehari Brothers, immersing himself in their creative energy. Building upon this foundation, he joined forces with the renowned Zemen Band, where he spent two exhilarating years.

Seeking new horizons, Zerubabbel set his sights on South Africa, where he joined yet another band. After these events, his musical talent blossomed to a new height, propelling him toward an unstoppable trajectory. His artistic growth culminated in a highly acclaimed album called “Enfalot,” which featured fifteen sensational songs that resonated deeply with audiences far and wide. He is also the owner of six singles that are loved by many. Zerubabbel’s story is one of passion, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to his craft. From his rebellious childhood to his heartfelt connection with music, he has emerged as a charismatic and beloved singer, captivating audiences with his powerful voice and magnetic stage presence. With each new chapter, Zerubabbel continues to enchant listeners, leaving an indelible mark on the music scene and solidifying his status as a true musical force to reckon with. EBR’s Eden Teshome had the chance to discuss with the singer for this exclusive.


Tigist Kebede, the Co-Founder and Operations Director of Habeshaview Technology and Multimedia, is a visionary entrepreneur passionate about Arts and Culture. Under her leadership, Habeshaview has become a rapidly growing entertainment and multimedia business in Ethiopia. They offer an OTT (Over the Top) & IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) platforms that stream content from Pan-African and underrepresented creators. With a focus on promoting Ethiopian culture, Habeshaview provides a global IPTV streaming service, distributes Ethiopian films internationally, and operates a white-label OTT platform. Their recent success includes hosting the London Ethiopian Film Event and bringing acclaimed films to audiences worldwide. EBR’s Eden Teshome sat down with Tigist Kebede for this exclusive


The African Sourcing and Fashion Week is a vibrant and captivating event that showcases the rich tapestry of African fashion and design across the continent. This annual gathering brings together talented designers, artisans, and creatives, offering a platform to express their unique vision and talent. This event grows in scale and international attention each year, fostering meaningful connections within the fashion industry. One of the standout features of African Sourcing and Fashion Week is its commitment to celebrating and promoting sustainability and ethical practices in the industry. Many of the designers featured utilize locally sourced materials and employ traditional production techniques, ensuring minimal environmental impact. This emphasis on sustainability not only adds depth and meaning to the garments but positions Africa as a global leader in a responsible fashion.

The diversity of African fashion is another notable aspect, with each designer bringing their cultural influences and heritage. Vibrant Ankara prints, intricate beadwork, and other colours, patterns, and textures capture the essence of Africa’s rich cultural tapestry on the runway. Attendees can expect runway shows and workshops, panels, and networking, providing a platform to exchange ideas and collaborate – facilitating growth, innovation, and creativity within the African fashion scene. This year’s 9th African Sourcing Fashion Week has spotlighted African continental free trade, sustainability manufacturing, and AI’s role. EBR’s Eden Teshome sat down with the CEO of organizers Trade and Fairs Group, based in Germany and Kenya, Skander Negasi, for insights.


Melaku Belay, an Ethiopian dancer/choreographer, is the founding director of Fendika Cultural Center. At an early age, he immersed himself in the rich tapestry of regional dances and music. He honed his skills and developed a unique style of performance grounded in Ethiopia’s diverse dance traditions. With his mesmerizing mastery of Eskista, a traditional Ethiopian dance, Melaku has earned nicknames like the “walking earthquake” and the “King of Eskista.” 

In 2016, Melaku founded Fendika Cultural Center to create a premier cultural hub that celebrates artists from various disciplines and cultural backgrounds. Fendika has become a sanctuary for Ethiopian indigenous arts, particularly the Azmari music tradition. Melaku revolutionized the Azmari bet custom by being the first to pay Azmari musicians regular salaries, providing them with much-needed support. Melaku’s work at Fendika has brought global attention to Ethiopia’s indigenous arts. The centre has hosted Azmari performances, curated visual art exhibits, and facilitated monthly poetry readings and scholarly presentations. Melaku also leads two traditional performing groups, Fendika and Ethiocolor, showcasing the immense musical heritage of Ethiopia with creativity and innovation. Despite facing challenges, including the threat of government takeover and lack of support for indigenous art forms, Melaku remains dedicated to his vision. He tirelessly works to keep Fendika alive and thriving, believing in the power of arts to promote peace and healing. Eden Teshome sat down with the world-renowned Ethiopian dancer for an EBR exclusive. 


 A Thriving Scene for Music Enthusiasts, Night Owls Alike

Addis has a vibrant scene of culture in recent years; Jazz Nights have become a popular trend among the youth in the city, offering a unique experience for music lovers and night owls alike. With live jazz music performances in bars and clubs across the city, Addis Ababa offers a unique experience; from the famous Jazzamba Lounge to the Fendika Cultural Center, locals and tourists alike can enjoy the electric atmosphere and the sound of trumpets, saxophones, and drums filling the air. In this article, EBR’s Bamlak Fikadu discusses the growing popularity of live jazz music in Addis Ababa.             


The Human Hair Wig Business Grows Despite the Ban

Human hair has traditionally been utilised for weddings or on women with short or thin hair who don’t have beautiful hair. But now that human hair is fashionable, even women with long and thick hair are wearing human hair to alter their looks. In recent years, human hair wigs have grown in popularity, giving women a stunning appearance. Human hair wigs have become one of the most popular beauty and makeover choices in Addis Ababa and other major towns. In this article, EBR’s Hemen Asmare tells a story of how the human hair business is still growing despite the government’s ban on its import.  

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

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