All empire Ethiopia has and can ever have is a false pride. It was that false pride and haughtiness, aided by the economic and political disaster that brought about this utter infectious failure that deprived empire Ethiopia of musical culture that could compete at global level.
If we look at Western part of Africa, music business is booming, led by Nigeria, a country that is redefining our continent’s creative landscape. Western African music is not only native but it has an international appeal because it is also rooted in African american musical culture, Brazil and in all latin America musical tradition.
When Abush Zalaqaa and many other Oromo artists emerged with their creative music that resembles Western African Music, I thought empire Ethiopia would use these Oromo music and talent and emerge as one of African country. Through time however, even Abush Zalaqaa went back to copy what the Habasha kids do and he failed. The only reason Abush survived in my opinion, it is because of his original music based on Boranaa and Gujii traditional songs.
I even believed that Dhiichisaa, Tirrii and Shaggoyyee dances can become significant at world level after I saw Will Smith’s daughter copied our own Tirrii/Shaggoyyee http://youtu.be/ymKLymvwD2U and did great with it.
I still believe that the Oromo music could emerge as our continent’s new face to the world and a pillar of global pop culture should the Oromo artists are creative and forward looking just like these little kids here in this video. To do that, they have to live Ethiopia’s culture behind and look outside of that prison house.
I don’t know if you have watched this dance http://youtu.be/HgGAzBDE454 but it is our Ragadaa and Dhichisa that we grew up dancing accompanied by Awayyaa songs. If we want to transform out of that prison house known as Ethiopia, we ought to develop our native dances.
Mali, just like Nigeria gained pan-African or global recognition through their native music. Many American white artists adore the Mali music even though they do not understand the native language of Mali. Hence, there is no reason for an Oromo artist to turn to Amhara market or Amharic or Tigre traditional songs and dances that is identical with Arabic. To be honest, the Habasha music looks like a chicken jumping around with it’s neck cut off. In short, if developed with creativity, the Oromo music can play a dominant role in Africa because it is a legitimate African pop music by it’s nature.
The good thing about globalization is that it provides unprecedented opportunity of exposure. I remember this Korean song becoming global sensation some 2 years ago?
If the Oromo artist want to connect with the world out there, they have to stop mirroring the Habasha music and culture, way of life. This is also true for the Oromo journalists who groan like Amhar Dabtara when they read news.
Economically, Africa is the last place where everyone will fight for market share and it is time for our artists start looking forward to this new trend. The Habasha culture is too old to look at, let alone to buy it and listen to it. Look at that Habasha Qees in black and tell me how you feel. If there is Devil, it should be just that man.
Today recording studios, managers, producers, professional music videos, and digital distribution platforms are developing rapidly from shanty towns in Accra, Lagos, and Nairobi. Online national charts and download platforms like iROKING are surfacing. The music publication Billboard announced its expansion into Africa in 2013, and Nigerian musics are now available on Amazon and iTunes. Looking at that trend, you can see we’ve got a momentum that we can grab. According to some statistics I read somewhere, Nigeria music sales in 2008 was $105million dollars. When Nigerian movie revenue is included, Nigeria’s sells reached five billion dollars in 2013.
Lastly, as you know, the Oromo diaspora is 50% Penxeequunxee and Muslim and jesus and Mohamed don’t like Oromo music, afaan Oromo and anything Oromo for that matter. Our black Arabs too are reserved when it comes to listening to Oromo music. Some of them may buy certain artists songs, not everyone’s. Looking at home front, over 90% of the Oromo population lives in poverty and they can’t afford to buy a soap let alone luxury items such as Music.
These factors offer a potent recipe for shrinking sales revenue of the Oromo music. Coming back to the Oromo diaspora, majority’s earning power and desire to entertain is less and the same thing is true for the rest of Habasha ethnic groups. Understanding this reality should force the Oromo artists to join global mainstream music industry and forget Ethiopia.