Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rachel Brown ( singer)

Rachel Brown is a singer, songwriter and performer born and raised in New York City, with Ethiopian and Bermudian roots. With her guitar and ukulele, Brown’s unique voice combines sweetness, sultriness and vulnerability, enchanting the listener. When coupled with her band of talented African and Caribbean musicians, Brown’s music fuses pop, Caribbean, Hawaiian, country, hip-hop and world sounds into a captivating groove.

The multicultural artist and Harvard graduate, who is the daughter of Ethiopian-born wedding-fashion designer Amsale Aberra, She received a lot of instant responses on twitter, including from Wyclef who said amazing things.

Being an Ethiopian, Bermudian, Southern and growing up in New York has definitely influenced her  music and even the eclectic nature of her band, which includes people from Mali, Madagascar, Haiti — most of whom she met on a Saturday night playing at St. Nick’s Pub in Harlem.
With no official musical training, Brown found her voice in nature. Her songwriting process—which started when She was 19 – consisted of grabbing  guitar and learning how to play it while She wrote these songs.

Peers and established veterans alike quickly recognized Brown’s natural talent. She was the 2010 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Robert Allen Award for songwriting as well as a 2011 recipient of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting. She also received a very coveted showcase slot at the National Association for Campus Activities’ national convention, leading to a 40 date college tour.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hailemariam Desalegn(PM)

Born on 19 July 1965 in Boloso Sore district of the Wolayita Zone Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR), Hailemariam Desalegn is a former lecturer and dean of Arba Minch University.
In 1988, Hailemariam was awarded a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Addis Ababa University. He subsequently worked as a graduate assistant in the Arba Minch Water Technology Institute (now Arba Minch University). After two years of working in this capacity, he won a scholarship to Tampere University of Technology in Finland, where he earned a master’s degree in sanitation engineering. Upon his return to Ethiopia, he served in different academic and administrative capacities, including the dean of the Water Technology Institute, for 13 years. In between, he also earned an MA in Organizational Leadership at Azusa Pacific University, California, US.

He joined the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) in the mid 1990s. In the mid 1990s, he became seriously involved in politics as member of the EPRDF and became the deputy president of the SNNPR.

Hailemariam became President of the Southern Region in 2001 when Abate Kisho, then President of the Region, was put behind bars on corruption allegations. He served in that position until 2006.
Hailemariam is from the Wolayta ethnic group of Ethiopia, an Omotic community which forms the principal population group in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region. He is also the first Prime Minister of Ethiopia who is a member of the Ethiopian Apostolic denomination.
In 2010 after the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won 99 percent of the seats in the Parliament, Hailemariam was appointed Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is the first politician to assume a top position from among the party operatives who have not taken part in the armed insurrection.
His party the SEPDM is the least influential among the coalition parties that make up EPRDF.
Hailemariam is father of three daughters, two of them pursuing higher education in local universities. His wife Roman Tesfaye is a Masters degree holder in economics and works in the United Nations Development Program office in Addis Ababa.
Hailemariam was elected to chair EPRDF as of September 15, 2012. He has served in the government of Ethiopia as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2010. Following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on 20 August 2012, Hailemariam was named acting Prime Minister and will remain in the position until new elections in 2015.
His service terms have been as follows:
Public Offices: Vice President of the SNNPR (2000–2002);
President of the SNNPR (2002–2005);
Member of the House of People’s Representatives (2005–present);
Social Affairs Special Advisor to the PM, then Public Mobilization & Participation Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (2005–2008);
Government Chief Whip, with a Ministerial portfolio (2008–2010).
Party Posts: Member of the Executive Committee of the EPRDF and the SEPDM (2000–present);
Chairman of the SEPDM (2002–present);
Deputy Chairman of the EPRDF (since Sept 2010).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Salsa Nights in Addis

Addis may not have all the amenities of a world-class city, but it does have one unexpected thing that is close to our heart-salsa. It was with surprise and delight.

The surprise did not end there. The local salseros were energetic and dedicated, and made up for lack of technical training by sheer creativity on the dance floor.

Salsa is a small and underground phenomenon with fanatical following around the world. Among the general public, it may be a little better known than rave parties or Gothic rock, but by not much more. But salsa and its culture have been slowly gaining ground for the past several decades; salsa clubs can be found in any world class city worth its salt. From London to Dubai, from Miami to Sydney, people dance with like minded souls almost every night of the week.

Salsa is a secrete and instantaneous passport to penetrating and unfamiliar city, where within an evening, one can walk into a club and start dancing with anyone without hesitation. There is no need to speak the local language. Whether in Tokyo or Shanghai, salseros are conversant in the common language of this Latin dance that sprang from the barrios of Cuba, Columbia and the Dominican Republic.

Salsa is a skilly, and frivolous pastime, especially for a grown man . But that is precisely why we love it. The music seeps into our bones. The head is held high, the chest puffed out like the front of a Volkswagen, and salseros usually sport a sly smile that seems to shout. It is impossible to dance salsa and be depressed at the same time.
There is no better feeling like walking a woman to a dance floor with the full knowledge that know what we are doing.

In joburg salsa is a steadily growing phenomenon that brings together a diverse group of people who otherwise may have very little in common. In a city that still parties along ribal lines, salsa is a common denominator for people who share nothing but their love of the dance. The salsa scence in joburg revolves around five instructors who have a loyal following. 60 per cent or more of salsa students are female, a ratio that is similar around the world.

The Achilles heel of Joburg dancers is their adherence to technique. Some of them become so attached to the back and forth steps that they forget the fundamental element- a feel for the music and the beat. That was not a problem for the Addis dancers. These guys danced. They improvised, they created and they were fleet-footed.

My guide was a woman I had met at a conference that had broungt me to Addis. As a lark, in the middle of a conversation, I said to her, “Do you salsa?” She looked at me with surprise.
“How do you know? Have you seen me dance?”
I told her I was just being cheeky but was delighted she was a fellow salsa fan.

The next day began my tour of Addis salsa with her. The girls I danced with seemed impressed by my hesitation combs, cross-body leads, hammerlocks and all the other new-fangled techniques that I had brought from Joburg.

But I was impressed by the male Ethiopian dancers whose interpretation of Cuban salsa was a delight to behold.
For the first week, my new friend seemed awed by my moves. I had about a dozen dependably impressive moves, but I knew my material was going stale fast.
Sure enough, about a week later, she lowered the boom.
“Do you know other moves?”, she asked innocently.
Jeez, she was already getting bored with my routines.
Fortunately, this was only salsa, not romance.
It was time to head back to Joburg to keep honing more salsa moves.