One artist to keep an eye on this year is the electrifying Static Levi, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Alongside producer and fellow artist Benjamin Beats, also known as The Intellect, 2017 saw the release of Static’s debut album Quarter Century.
Quarter Century, as Static Levi himself describes it, is “a compilation representing my first twenty-five years on this Earth.” The album, with ten tracks in total, is compiled of “particular songs that I chose to put together and give out there to the people”, and these tracks are a fusion of reggae, dancehall and hip-hop, just to name the primary ingredients.
In Ethiopia, the album has already made its way up and down the rift valley, from Frontline Studios in Addis Ababa where the majority of the tracks were recorded, down to Shashamane for Reggae In The Rift Valley in February 2018, a collection of musical festivities that take place each year in celebration of the birthday of Robert Nesta Marley.
On top of that, both Levi and Benjamin have recently played in support of international artists like Yaadcore, Protoje and Jesse Royal, and have been involved with various local sound system sessions in Addis Ababa with African Wendem sound.
“We give thanks for all of those artists that are keeping the fire burning, and keeping the hearts alive and beating. Sometimes you lose and start to give up, and I see a lot of the younger artists come and start to crank the engine and keep it going; refurbish the engine a little bit; yeah, we haffi do that! Big things are coming soon right here…” - Static Levi
Keep up-to-date with Static Levi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and find his music, including the album Quarter Century, on SoundCloud and ReverbNation.
My full interview with Static Levi can be heard on MixCloud and will soon be published online as part of the Zion Heights: Ethiopia 2018 collection.