About this blog

This blog is dedicated to the popular music of the countries, i.e. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan. The reason why I include the music of all these six countries in this site is the fact that it seems to be impossible to see the music of one of these countries without looking at the others. I had always the impression that there are no borders regarding the music. People in Eritrea listen to Ethiopian music, so do people in Sudan, and people in Ethiopia love Sudanese music. You can find a lot of Somali music in Ethiopia, not only in Ogaden but also in the shops of Mercato. The same is true for Djibouti. Artists like Aster Aweke, Tilahun Gessese, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mohammed Werdi and many more are very well known in their neighboring countries.

The name of the blog

A street in Kezira, Dirre Dawa, summer 1995.
Kezira is the name of the central part of the city of Dirre Dawa (ድሬ ዳዋ) in Ethiopia. Dirre Dawa is the second biggest city in Ethiopia after Addis Ababa and located in the eastern part of the country. Since it hosts the main railway station between Djibouti and Addis Ababa and has a very mixed population Dirre Dawa became a melting pot of all the cultures of the Horn of Africa. This city, and especially the town center, Kezira is probably the most suitable symbol for the cultural diversity of the region.

History

The blog is the continuation of a site about music in the Horn of Africa which I started in 1998 at Mainz University. At that time there were no blogs and no mp3 format. On that site I just presented some songs from different countries in RealAudio format together with a link list and a bibliography especially on Ethiopian music. The songs were taken from cassettes I had bought mostly in Ethiopia.

About myself

My name is Andreas Wetter and I am teaching African linguistics at the Department of African Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. I have been in Ethiopia twelve times since 1993 including one year at the Addis Ababa University (1994-95) and one year in Kämise/ Wällo (2001-02). I also travelled to Eritrea and stayed some time in Djibouti. The main interest of my research is in Ethiopian languages and I wrote a descriptive grammar of the Ethiosemitic language Argobba as my PhD dissertation. But my enthusiasm for the music of the Horn of Africa is as old as my inquisitive relationship with that region.