2nd March 2019, also known as Adwa Victory Day - in celebration of the defeat of Italian forces by Ethiopia’s army, led by Emperor Menelik II, in 1896 -, saw the grand opening of Ethiopia’s newest, and possibly most international roots/dub/reggae gathering - some would even say extravaganza -, Addis Dub Club.
The two day festival was headlined on the Friday night by Ethiopia-based Ababa Jahnoy Sound System, pioneered by Ras Kesh, and on the Saturday night, King Shiloh Sound System, from Holland, took hold of the controls, this being the second annual festival in which their new, locally-built sound, Negus Shiloh Sound, took to the dancehall. Accompanying the Shiloh crew were various international artists, including Majestic Bee, who runs an organisation called Roots For The Youths, and of course the powerful, echoing, exquisitely talented Empress Black Omolo.
Another Ethiopia-based sound that literally caused the roof to vibrate at Villa Verde were African Wendem Sound, driven by long-time artist and repatriate Jahziel Naphtali, alongside engineer and DJ Tiger Simon and the booming Ras Xprshn. Static Levi also made an appearance alongside African Wendem on the night, showcasing singles from his upcoming album Born As A Champion and recently released mixtape Realistically Speaking.
France and Shashamane-based Shasha Records also made an impactful appearance on the night, having recently opened their very own guest house in the heart of Shashamane. Other highlights included Ethiopia-based sounds Kings Highway and Dragon Slayer Sound System, plus Umojo Sound from Kenya, to name just a few!
Accompanying the sounds in uplifting the vibration on the night were a selection of artists, most notably the humbly inspiring Teddy Dan, the mystic, lion-footed visionary, Ras Kawintseb, both based in Shashamane, Ras Timothy-I out of the USA, Massa JahDen out of Cameroon and Ethiopia, and more; too many to mention, in fact!
Both nights of Addis Dub Club’s first chapter were booming with strong energy and unity and it was a true joy to see and to greet so many like-minded individuals, all present to hold a positive, united vibration and give thanks for life and togetherness, and usher in prayers for the unity and prosperous future of the Land of Origins, the Promised Land, Ethiopia.
Addis Dub Club: Chapter 1 was only the beginning of something massive. Chapter 2 of Addis Dub Club will be taking place on African Liberation Day, which falls on May 25th, 2019.
For more information, follow King Shiloh Sound System, Ababa Jahnoy Sound System and the Great Ethiopian Sound System Festival on Facebook.
All photos taken by Ras Abi Tsigie of Ras Abi Studio, apart from African Wendem & Static Levi, photographed by Zion Heights intern Ephrem Berhanu.
Read about 2018's Great Ethiopian Sound System Festival here, and follow Zion Heights for more updates, news & snippets from the Promised Land.