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Selam Festival 2016

Selam Festival’s 2016 Lineup includes Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed and world-renowned Hip-Hop artist Yasiin Bey formerly known as Mos Def  

In an annual tradition, Selam festival’s fifth edition is bigger and more compelling – an interactive event with an exciting lineup featuring prominent stars like Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed and Hip-Hop artist Yasiin Bey formerly known as Mos Def.  But that’s not all, the festival will also feature: Krar Collective (UK/ET), Gaël Faye (Rwanda/France), Calle Real (Sweden), Joel Sebunju (Uganda), Kareyce Fotso (Cameroon) and Aly Keita (Mali), and numerous other artists from Africa and Europe.

The outdoor music and arts festival, which started back in 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has grown into one of Addis’ most popular annual festivals that attracts festivalgoers, owing much of its popularity: to a celebrated lineup, electrifying ambiance, bazaar style setting with retailers selling various merchandise, food, and drinks, family activities, and more. No less, amplifying the town’s convivial cultural manner.

Besides the two-day concert, the festival is known for its networking opportunities. Prior to the days of the concert, Selam will be hosting a cultural forum, workshops and practical training. “Selam is a platform creating an opportunity for international and national music professionals to meet and collaborate. The festival serves as a tool for networking and helps to start off as a public discussion about music and culture, both in Ethiopia and globally,” says Ato Teshome Wondimu, founder and executive director of Selam.

Jano band 5 (Selam festival)This year, in addition to the very promising lineup, Selam festival Addis has partnered with two Ethiopian NGOs: Skate Ethiopia and Macedonia. In partnering with these NGOs, Selam, throughout the two-day festival, will have several activities aiming to have some of the proceeds go back to support these organizations.

Combining culture, music, social responsibility and community development, Selam believes a festival needs to be a place that will leave a big footprint on its audience long after it ends: “It’s important that people know that it’s possible to have fun and be socially responsible. By partnering with these NGOs, we want to give them a big platform on which they can talk about their cause. As audience members come to Selam Festival Addis 2016, we want them to understand that these issues exist and that they can do more than just being fans of music. They can lend a hand. It’s possible to feel equally happy about listening to your favorite artist(s) and in the process help those in need. That’s what an interactive event is. That’s the culture we at Selam would like to see in Ethiopia; hence, the unprecedented decision of collaborating with these organizations.”

Selam Festival says its strives for, in the main, to put Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the global festival map as well as become a ‘frame of reference’ for festivals in the African continent.

Selam festival will be taking place from January 9 to January 10 at Gihon Hotel Unity Park in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Photo credits: Mario Di Bari

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