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Oromia: Torbee Afran Qalloo, Anaa Dhufuu Artistoota Oromoo Afran Qalloo. #AfranQallooweek, 18-25 January 2019. Pioneers of Oromo resistance music January 18, 2019

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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In 1962, when it was still illegal to sing in the Oromo language, one of the most widely spoken languages in all of Africa, a small group of activists risked persecution by forming the first-ever Oromo music band, in Dire Dawa, a bustling city in eastern Oromia, Ethiopia.

Afran Qallo, whose historical name derives from the collective reference to four of Qallo’s sons – Alaa, Babile, Daga and Oborra – soon struck the chord with locals when the troupe began performing cultural songs at weddings and holidays, often hidden from the watchful eyes of government officials.

At the time, in the city of Dire Dawa, the Somalis, Amharas and Hararis had their own music bands – but the Oromo did not. “Whenever there was a need for wedding celebration, Oromo families had to either pay for the Somali or Harari musical bands because generally, in those days, the Amhara bands did not deal well with the Oromo and did not have any respect for our people,” said Dr. Mohamed Hassan, a professor of history at Georgia State University. “It was the absence of any cultural space for the Oromo which inspired Oromo individuals to form an organization and create a musical space for themselves.”

Initially, four musical bands emerged almost simultaneously in different neighborhoods of Dire Dawa, namely: Mascob Tokkumma Jaalala, Hiriyaa Jaalala, Biftu Ganama and Urji Bakkalcha, which was later renamed Afran Qallo, according to Ismail Mummad Adam, one of the founding members of Urji Bakkalcha.

What happened next, no one — not even the founders — expected. “For the first time, there was this general feeling that Oromo music was as good as anyone’s music,” said Dr. Hassan. “It created a tide of anger against the Ethiopian government because the Oromo realized they were denied the opportunity to enjoy their own music.”  

The 1960s was a tumultuous decade in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian students’ call for land reform, mainly coming from then Haile Silassie I University, was reverberating, and the dispossessed peasantry – who were condemned to a life of serfdom by absentee feudal landlords – were beginning to take notice of their plight, which was dismal. The Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, was getting organized in various forms in different parts of the country.

In the center of the country, formed in 1963, the Macha Tulama self-help association, whose main aim at the time was educational empowerment and infrastructural development, was gathering momentum. In the southeast, the Bale people’s revolt, under the chairmanship of General Waqo Gutu, was threatening to take back a vast swath of land from the regional nobility that was taking away their pristine land in the name of the crown and levying heavy taxes on the peasantry.

Individuals like Shaykh Bakri Sapalo, a prominent scholar who invented an Oromo language writing system, were creating a stir by writing poems aimed at awakening the Oromo. “By producing powerful poems, that demonstrated the richness and beauty of the Oromo language, he set in motion a generation of famous poets and singers,” Dr. Hassan wrote in the Journal of Oromo Studies. “Shaykh Bakrii’s ideas, his poems, his teaching and cultural nationalism dominated the thinking of Oromo elite in Hararghe, especially in urban areas such as Dire Dawa.”

As such, the formation of Afran Qallo in Eastern Oromia was a watershed moment — a welcome addition to the Oromo movement. Soon, leaders of Afran Qallo musical band established links with the Macha Tulama association and other Oromos to unify its opposition against Haile Silassie’s imperial rule.

There was also the Oromo radio program broadcast into Ethiopia from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, by famed Oromo journalist Ayub Abubakar. “The radio program was so effective in mobilizing public opinion against Emperor Haile Selassie, that the regime sent a secret agent to Mogadishu and murdered Ayub Abubakar in 1966,” Hassan said. Abubakar, who himself was one of the founding members of Afran Qallo, was one of Shaykh Barkri’s protege.

In its heyday, the Afran Qallo cultural group did not limit itself to singing and music production. “We started doing theatre, making a mockery of the government’s mistreatment of the Oromo,” said Mr. Adam, 72, who has written a forthcoming book about the history of the group. When officials threatened to shut them down, Oromo elders asked the band “to sing songs of praise for the king,” according to Mr. Adam. They buckled under pressure and produced a song called, “Mooti biyya teenya yaa Haile Silassie, si garaan Xaliyaanin dheefa dhuke kaase” – loosely translated, oh! Haile Silassie, the king of our country, Italians ran for their life when they saw you coming. The song is an inference to the emperor’s return from his brief exile, after Italy invaded Ethiopia, and the Italians defeat in 1941.

But as the group gained unprecedented momentum among the Oromo, pressure from regional bureaucrats continued, Mr. Adam recalled. Members of the band, including Mr. Adam, were even detained and interrogated to name civilian leaders of the band who were supplying them with modern musical instruments.

Amid continued harassment from local lords, who accused the group of narrow nationalism and separatism, and a subsequent injunction against its members, the Afran Qallo band eventually fell apart around 1965, according to Mr. Adam. But by then, he says, some of its star artists had found a voice, and more importantly, a calling to contribute to the Oromo peoples struggle for freedom.

“Before the government started harassing them, the band traveled to places like Haromaya, Awaday, Dadar, Qobo, Hirna, Ciro, and several places in Hararghe providing the necessary cultural service that the community needed at weddings, cultural events, holidays and so on,” said Dr. Hassan.

Unable to continue working in the country, some including Abubaker Musa and Yonis Abdullahi left for Somalia where they continued writing and producing songs. “Ali Birra, Ali Shabbo, Usmail Mummad, Mohammed Yusuf, Salah Mohamud, Shantam Shubisa and others kept marching forward…using their penetrating melody and captivating lyrics to reunify the disjointed Oromo regions to rise up in unison against national subjugation,” the jubilee organizing committee said in a statement on Jun. 22.

The birth of the Afran Qallo cultural troupe is also said to have inspired other Oromo performers in different parts of the Oromo country. Zarihun Wadajo, one of the earliest Oromo vocalists, who was born in Western Oromia, sang his timeless song, “Koottaa Aramaa Aramnaa,” at the age of fifteen in 1977, according to Shawn Mollenhauer, who recently completed his PhD thesis at the University of California-Riverside on Oromo music. “Zarihun was immediately placed in prison for eight months for his song,” wrote Mollenhauer. Click here to read more from the Opride, the original source of this article.

“We are here”: The soundtrack to the Oromo revolution gripping Ethiopia. – African arguments March 30, 2018

Posted by OromianEconomist in Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, Uncategorized.
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Far from being a footnote in the Oromo struggle, musicians like Haacaaluu Hundeessa have been its centre of gravity.

Haacaaluu Hundeessa's music has given sound and voice to the Oromo struggle.

With the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as chair of the ruling coalition, Ethiopia is set to have an Oromo leader for the first time in recent history. This is in no small part thanks to brave and sustained protests by ethnic Oromo youth.

For nearly two and a half years, activists have defied brutal government suppression that has seen over a thousand people killed and tens of thousands arrested. Mostly led by the Oromo and Amhara, who together make up two-thirds of the 100 million population, demonstrators have endured the imposition of two states of emergency and a brutal crackdown.

Now, for their pains, they have overseen the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. And they will soon witness the assent of a young and popular Oromo leader as Ethiopia’s next prime minister.

When historians look back at this period, they will see how persistent protesters reconfigured Ethiopia’s political map in just a couple of years. They will note how Oromo politics was forced from the distant periphery to the very centre of affairs. And they will observe how the passionate Oromo youth – known as the Qeerroo – drove this change.

In all this, however, one thing that should not be overlooked is the critical role played by Oromo musicians and artists. Through their work, they have mobilised scattered marginalised publics and helped create a politically conscious, defiant, and resilient generation. They have tapped into the transformative potential of subjugated memories and experiences, disrupted official histories, and altered the people’s very relationship to power.

Oromo music, the struggle’s centre of gravity

Oromo music and concerts have rarely been strictly musical. They have always been sites of political agitation, cultural self-affirmation, and spiritual rejuvenation, drawing together audiences who share an unassailable commitment to the Oromo cause.

Activist stalwarts have provided the conceptual architecture and strategic direction of the struggle. But Oromo artists’ poignant and powerful lyrics have given voice and significance to the group’s insufferable indignation. When their political leaders have failed, artists have given new meaning to the agonies of defeat. When they have prevailed, artists have amplified small victories to inspire whole generations.

Far from being a footnote in the history of the Oromo struggle for freedom and justice, musicians, poets and creators are its centre of gravity – the signature tune and the definitive sound of the Oromo revolution.

“We are here”

Amongst the many Oromo artists to have played a role in recent events, one musician and one performance stands out.

On 10 December 2017, the capital Addis Ababa staged the biggest Oromo concert it had ever seen. It was held to raise humanitarian funds for the over 700,000 Oromos displaced by violence in the east. But the event held a much deeper significance too. It was not only the most symbolic, defiant and spectacular Oromo concert ever broadcast live by Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN). It also featured an unprecedentedly large number of senior government officials, a sign of the slow but tectonic shift taking root in Ethiopian politics.

In the concert, a diverse cast of artists performed, leading up to the kaleidoscopic set by Haacaaluu Hundeessa. Through 11 minutes of heart-shredding ballads, the young singer delivered a show that was awe-inspiring and painful, honest and complex, impassioned and subtle. Working through themes of marginality, vulnerability and resilience, he articulated the distinct Oromo experience with raw clarity.

Haacaaluu has given sound and voice to the Oromo cause for the past few years. His 2015 track Maalan Jira(“What existence is mine”), for example, was a kind of an ethnographic take on the Oromo’s uncertain and anomalous place within the Ethiopian state. This powerful expression of the group’s precarious existence quietly, yet profoundly, animated a nationwide movement that erupted months later. Maalan Jira became the soundtrack to the revolution.

In October 2017, Haacaaluu released Jirraa (“We are here”). In contrast to his previous more sombre hit, this song was a statement of endurance, resilience, and self-affirmation. It celebrated transformations within the Oromo community and fundamental shifts in Ethiopia’s political landscape. It embodied a newfound collective optimism, a feeling that Oromo culture is no longer in jeopardy, and a sense that the Oromo society is finally in the middle of a robust ascendancy.

“Closer to Arat Kilo”

As many have pointed out, art can have a transformative power that a political debate or summit cannot. In her book Utopia in Performance, for example, American scholar Jill Dolan describes how a performance can have an effect “that lifts everyone slightly above the present, into a hopeful feeling of what the world might be like if every moment of our lives were as emotionally voluminous, generous, [and] aesthetically striking”.

Haacaaluu’s December show did just this. As soon as he occupied the stage, the scene immediately felt magical. His opening greetings – “ashamaa, ashamaa, ashamaa” – electrified an audience who understood his use of the traditional Gerarsa repertoire and its unconscious grammar. As he strode lion-like around the platform, he evoked a rare outpouring of exuberance in his adoring audience. And speaking at a moment in which the Oromo protests had been building momentum for over two years – and, unbeknownst to the crowd, just months before one of their own would become chair of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition – Haacaaluu repeatedly asked the audience Jirtuu (“are we here?”), driving everyone justifiably nuts.

In under a minute, the singer had created what Dolan calls moments of communitas, “resulting in a sudden and deeper insight into the shared process of being in the world.”

As the performance progressed, Haacaaluu escalated tensions, asking the audience how long they would have to wait for freedom. He lamented the absurdity of a marginalised majority, criticised a rigged system, and expressed his yearning for unity, peace, and justice.

In switching between articulations of precarity and resilience, Haacaaluu challenged the audience and the Oromo leadership in the gallery, which included Abiy Ahmed, to make bold moves befitting of the Oromo public and its political posture. He urged his audience to look in the mirror, to focus on themselves, and decolonise their minds. We are, he said, closer to Arat Kilo, Ethiopia’s equivalent of Westminster, both by virtue of geography and demography.

The Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, the party in the ruling coalition that put Abiy forward, thankfully followed Haacaaluu’s advice. After PM Desalegn announced his resignation, it fought tooth and nail to secure the position of the Prime Minister. After Abiy’s imminent confirmation, the first chapter of a journey for which Haacaaluu has provided the soundtrack will be complete.

The 41-year-old Abiy will be taking over at a highly fractious and uncertain time. He will continue to face immense resistance from the deep state and the security forces that stand to lose from democratic opening. In confronting these challenges, he should remember the deeper meaning and significance of Haacaluu’s lyrics and monumental performance.

*Awol Allo is a lecturer in law at Keele University School of Law. He tweets at @awolallo.


[Wax & Gold: The tightrope challenges facing Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed]

Geerare Didaan: New 2017 Oromo Cultural music video premiere by artist Faayoo Mootii November 9, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Musicians and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism, Oromo Culture, Oromo Music, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Hanisha Solomon: New Oromo Music: Geerarsa May 6, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, Music, Oromo Music.
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Oromia: OMN: Qophii Jiruuf jireenyaa Artist Dirribee Gadaa Bit 28, 2017. OMN: Interview with one of the most creative minds in Oromo music and art, artist singer Dirribee Gadaa March 29, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, Music.
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OMN: Artisti Dirribee Gadaa (Bit 28, 2017)





Lammii too Oromoo sin abdadhee boonaa! Motuma Mahdi Sheekaa New Oromo Music February 2, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo Music.
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Odaa Oromoo

Dirree armaa gadii tuqaatii wallistuu Motuma Mahdi Mohamediif   ‘VOTE’ godhaaf. Oromummaan haa calaqqisu adunyaa irratti.

Oromia: Inside Ethiopia’s Self-Defeating Crackdown on Oromo Musicians January 5, 2016

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Inside Ethiopia’s Self-Defeating Crackdown on Oromo Musicians

Written by Endalk,  Global Voices, 5 January 2016

Oromo singer Hawi. Photo from her official Facebook page.

While journalists and bloggers remain the primary targets of state repression in Ethiopia, musicians that don’t jive with state propaganda also take the heat.

Hawi Tezera, an ethnic Oromo singer, was reportedly beaten, arrested, released and then rearrested in the space of just seven days by government security forces in connection with her song about ongoing protests in Oromia, a southern administrative region that is Ethiopia’s largest.

Two other Oromo singers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told this author over Facebook chat that they have been under intense surveillance since anti-government protests began in the region in November.

According to some estimates, over a hundred demonstrators have died in unrest that began after the government made plans for the expansion of the capital Addis Ababa into land inhabited by the Oromo ethnic group, which accounts for almost a third of Ethiopia’s population.

In the last two decades, Oromo singers who gravitate towards political and social activism have been subjected to intimidation, abductions and torture.

There are also more musicians-in-exiles among the culturally distinct Oromo group than any of Ethiopia’s other major groups.

One of the most recognisable victims of this slow purge was iconoclastic Oromo singer, Ebisa Adugna, who civic activists believe was killed by Ethiopian government forces in 1996.

Dawite Mekonen, widely known for streamlining Oromo traditional music with more contemporary styles in the 1990s, went into exile after refusing to perform for soldiers at war front during Ethio-Eritrean war in 1998.

Elefenesh Keno, arguably the most important female vocalist of Oromo language of all time was forced into exile in Norway around the same time, while vocalist Hirpa Ganfure also releases songs from the Scandanavian country having been forced to leave Ethiopia the same year as Dawite.

These are just few of the better-known examples of Ethiopia’s repression of Oromo musicians.

New wave of censorship?

Musicians of all backgrounds that go against the government line find it difficult to get a gig or airtime on Ethiopia’s radio stations.

One example of this trend is the last-minute cancellation last year of two concerts featuring Teddy Afro, a prominent Amharic singer and song writer.Teddy has a great popular appeal and is widely known as the most successful musician in Ethiopia.

Teddy, who was released from imprisonment on hit and run charges he always denied in 2009, said his team was refused permission to hold the concerts scheduled for last September, without speculating as to why.

It seems most likely the cancellations are part of a continuing government campaign against the musician since his release of songs critical of the regime in 2005, three years before he was imprisoned.

However, censorship is noticeably harsher as  regards the Oromo, Ethiopia’s single largest ethnic group, which is viewed as a threat by a government packed with politicians from the northern Tigray minority.

According to reports at least 17 Oromo singers whose lyrics show “nationalistic tendencies” were banned from air waves in December 2015 by the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority.

Oromo singers often produce music that articulates strong pride in their national and cultural heritage, whether through lyrics or the incorporation of traditional instruments and melodies.

The latest ban has encompassed songs that appear to be far from overtly nationalistic, including the songs of the two musicians the author interviewed for this piece.

This signifies a clampdown on even moderate forms of cultural self-expression.

A counterproductive policy

According to academic Michael Shawn Mollenhauer, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic of censorship of Oromo culture in Ethiopia, the current government uses Oromo musicians  to present a facade of cultural diversity while systematically imprisoning and intimidating independent singers.

Hawi Tezera’s story is an indicator that the state’s grip on any form of freedom of expression is getting ever-tighter, with controls over music reaching a new low.

However, the crackdown is not having the desired effect.

In fact, Oromo songs with political undertones are actually seeing a resurgence, with this author tallying over 300+ songs on YouTube and Facebook alone since 2014, as the Internet provides an alternative space for musicians to defy the blanket of state censorship.

If anything, music censorship has helped strengthen Oromo nationalism.

The overwhelming majority of Oromos already felt that their identity was being attacked unjustly, and the intensification of state harassment against a background of growing political unrest is tipping them over the edge.

This story was commissioned by Freemuse, the leading defender of musicians worldwide, and Global Voices for Artsfreedom.org. The article may be republished by non-commercial media, crediting the author Endalk, Freemuse and Global Voices and linking to the origin







Oromia: Caalaa Bultuume: “Wareegama Guddaa Ba’a” [New Oromo Music – 2015] September 11, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, Oromian Voices, Uncategorized.
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 Must listen: Gooticha Artist Caalaa Bultumee Wallee Haaraa Fulbaana 2015

» Caalaa Bultuume: “Wareegama Guddaa Ba’a” [New Oromo Music – 2015]

Caalaa Bultuume:



Oromo Recording Artist Galaana Gaaromsaa Releases New Music Album “Ilmaan Hayyootaa” August 13, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in African Beat, African Music, Oromo Artists, Oromo Music.
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Oromo Recording Artist Galaana Gaaromsaa Releases New Music Album “Ilmaan Hayyootaa” | Also Available in Digital Music Stores

  Hagayya/August 12, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com

Galaana Gaaromsaa’s new album “Ilmaan Hayyootaa” is available in digital stores; check out iTunes for “Galaana Gaaromsaa” for now …

Qeerroo: Konsertii fi Eebbi Albami Haaraa Arsits Galaana Gaaromsaa “ILMAAN HAYYOOTAA” Jedhu Bakka Uummanni Oromoo 3000 Ta’u Sirna Howwaan Finfinnee Keessatti Eebbifame


Eebba aalbama Artist Galaana Gaaromsaa magaalaa Finfinee naannoo Caffee Araaraatti Hagayya 9, 2015 ta’een manguddoonnii fi dargaggoonni Oromoo sabboontoti 3000 itti tilmaaman irratti argamuun haala aja’ibsiisaa ta’een eebbifamee jira.

Eebba kana irratti sabboontoti Oromoo fi aartisotooti Oromoo hedduun argamuun guddina afaanii fi aadaan Oromoo kanaan kan nu gahe qabsaawota lafeefii dhiiga akkasumas lubbuu itti wareeganii asiin nu gahe hedduu galateeffatna jechuun dhaamsota jajjaboo guddaa dabarsanii jiru.

Keessummoota argaman gaazexxessaa Ibraahim Haajii aragamanii haasaa ijaaraa fi onnachiisaa taasanii jiru.

Yeroo konsertii fi eebbaa Albama kana irratti sabboonti Oromoo argamanii aadaa fi eenyummaa saba Oromoof gumaacha taasisanitti ergamtooti sirna abbaa irree Wayyaanee ammo dhimmi diaspora jechuun akkaataa itti uummata Oromoo qorqalbii cabsan irratti mariyachaa turan. || Qeerroo.org


Interview on OBS:


Posted by OromianEconomist in African Beat, African Music, Oromo Music.
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Geerar  geerar nan jedhuu

An maalan geeraraa

Ano Jaadan leelalaa

Namni yaadan leelalu

Akkamiin  ha geeraruu

Adiin addaatee gule,

Jibbata mixataa

Roorroon nama irra ture,

Lubbuu lammiitti hiixataa

Roorroo koo ya farrisaa

Turi ammaa si fannisaa

Leenca keenya  dhaadatuu

Warra qawwee baadhatuu

Warra diina qolatuu

Waaqoo Guutuu waamuuree

Taaddasaa Birruu waamuu

Abbishee Garbaa waamuu

Abbaa Jifar  waamuu

Elemoo qilxuu waamuu

Jedhaniitu odeessu kaa

Du’anii baduu saanii,

Garaa na bobeessu kaa

Iyyoolee ya roobaa

Yonnaa roobni roobuu,

Dhagaa jalli addaatee

Yonnaa goonni cooquu,

Garaan na hammaatee……

Akuukkutti hin  hidhatanii,

Gorsheen laggatti galtii

Afuuftutti hin himatanii,

Sobdee namatti maltii

Daandittii qalloo tokkoo,

Laga irraa gadi deebitee

Jarattii farroo tokkoo,

Meeqa nutti deebitee

Utuu akka garaa kootii,

Oromoon tokko ta’ee,

Sirna Gadaa deeffatee

Qabeenya isaatiin ajajee,

Bilisummaa gonfatee,

Ufii isaatiin uf bushee

Isho Obboo koo………….

Kan itti aanu immoo dhaggeeffadhaa….

Musical ‘Maal Wayya?’ By Young Oromo Artist, Anoolee Zarihun Wadaajoo July 22, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromo Artists, Oromo Music, Oromummaa.
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???????????Oromo young artist, Anoolee Zarihun Wadaajoo

Maal Wayyaa?

Saba koo bilisoomuu wayyaa


Oromoon bilisoomuu wayyaa

Oromoon walaboomuu wayyaa

Saba koo walaboomuu wayyaa…..




New Oromo Film/Drama Premiere: DAMBALII, New Afan Oromo Drama Series on OBS, Opens in Finfinnee At Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Cultural Centre) with Huge and Spectacular Ceremony July 6, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromo Art, Oromo film andDrama.
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DAMBALII, a new Afaan Oromoo drama series on Oromia Broadcasting Service (OBS), premiered on 28th June  2015, in Finfinnee  at Waltajjii Oromoo ( Oromo Cultural Center). Here are PREVIEW of  DAMBALII  on OBS and some pictures of  the beautiful  event.

Fiilmiin (Draamaan) Afaan Oromoo haaran Dambalii jedhamu Waxabajjii 28 Finfinnee galma Waltajjii Oromootti eebbifame. Eebba Dambalii irratti uummanni Oromoo heddumaan waan irratti  qooda fudhateef galma guutee irraa hafe. Ummanni Oromoo  Finfinnee artistoota Oromoo fi aartii Oromoo amma biqilee dagaagaa jiru deeggaruuf akkanatti qooda irratti fudhachuun isaanii kan hedduu  nama boonsu dha. Itti dabaleesi sab quunnamtii adda addaatiin namoonni hedduun eebba kana caqasuun haala kanatti akka hedduu itti gammadan hubatamee jira.

  Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii pictureOromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)1Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)2Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)3Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)4Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)5Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)7Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)8Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)9Oromo film (drama) Priemere, Dambalii opened at Waltajjii Oromoo (Oromo National Centre), Finfinnee)10

Oromia: The poetics and politics of Oromo resistance June 22, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Musicians and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism.
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The poetics and politics of Oromo resistance

Oromo music has played a central role in providing alternative spaces for enunciating ‘the Oromo question’.

Oromo Artist Ebbisaa Adunyaa

Ebbisa Adunya, 2013. Wikicommons/Hirphaa Gafuree.Some rights reserved.

On June 4, 2015, renowned Oromo artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa released an intoxicating single track, Maalan Jiraa. The song condenses within itself the story of the Oromo people with impeccable acuity, waltzing between stories of pain and pride, hope and despair. Full of anguish and self-doubt, Maalan Jira is a powerful probe into the modern Oromo condition and illustrated the complex dilemma facing the Oromo nation and its struggle for political emancipation.

The Oromo are the single largest ethnic group in East Africa, comprising well over a third of Ethiopia’s 99 million people. For generations, Oromos have been relegated to the periphery of Ethiopian politics, not in spite of their numerical majority, but because of it. What makes the Oromo experience so incomprehensible is the fact that they remained one of the last oppressed majority groups of the world in a country in which identity is both theconstitutive and regulative principle of political life.

Stripped of agency, voice, and visibility, the Oromo use poetry, music, and storytelling both to articulate their experiences of marginalization and to resist forms of knowledge and modes of interpretation used to legitimize their oppression. Originating from a deep well of Oromo tradition, music has served as the single most important expressive art form used – a site of counter-memory and counter-culture. Among the downtrodden and reviled of the world, Oromos turned to music to resist official narratives and hegemonic interpretations, undoing imposed silences, and disrupting established frameworks of remembering and forgetting.

By undermining the very coherence and unity of official interpretations, Oromo music has played a central role in providing alternative spaces and enunciating ‘the Oromo question’.

The Oromo question

The Oromo question has been articulated as a question of national self-determination, understood as the right of the Oromo people to determine their political, economic, and cultural status. Within this historically specific articulation, national oppression is the origin of the question, Oromumma (Oromo national identity) its engine, and liberation its end goal.

Oromos consider themselves victims of a systemic and structural wrong, an injustice that deprived them, like the Plebeians of antiquity, of the very conditions of visibility and audibility. Though an integral part of the Ethiopian state, the stigmatization of their identity and culture makes them what French philosopher Jacques Rancière calls ‘the part of no part’. Oromos insist that to include them in ways against their will, and on terms that do not reflect and acknowledge their status as a people, is no less violent and oppressive than exclusion. They remain threatened in the very space to which they belong. 

Oromo resistance music

Oromos have always used freedom songs and dances to symbolize and enact their experiences of dispossession and marginalization. In the 1990s a distinctive genre of protest music begun to function as the loudspeakers of the Oromo struggle for freedom. Oromo musical icons such as Ali Birra, Abitaw Kebede, Nuho Gobana, Umar Suleyman, Ebbisa Adunya, Kadir Said with many others played an indispensable role in creating a social space wherein the Oromo struggle for equality and self-emancipation is articulated and debated.

It is here, in this reservoir of songs, in the unruly dances and heart-breaking ballads, that one finds the story of the Oromo nation and its struggle for self-determination, not in the official archives and historiographies of the Ethiopian state.

In lyrics packed with angst and fervor, a generation of Oromo singers turned to the cryptic but transformative power of music to give voice to their aspirations. Singing against the current, they rejuvenated Oromo nationalism and conserved the Oromo experience of marginalization and humiliation. They also engaged in forms of protest that laid bare the essence of Oromo life within Ethiopia in all its traumatic complexity.

For example, Suleyman’s poignant compositions and enthralling bass voice moves people to action. His epic lyrics, recorded on cassettes, have been listened to in awe and admiration throughout Oromia. In the 1990s, Omar’s songs literally flew the flag of rebellion, articulating the limits of non-violent resistance and the inseparability of the cause of freedom and justice from violence.

It is in this most unpromising and unhistorical of places, in lyrics full of emotions and nostalgia but expressive of the devastation of the social fabric, that one finds the authentic experience of the Oromo.

The Addis Ababa master plan

Hundeessaa’s song comes at a time of great uncertainty for Oromos living around the city of Addis Ababa. Historically an Oromo city located at the heart of Oromia, the largest of the 9 states making up the Ethiopian federation, Addis Ababa (Finfinne) is the seat of the Federal government. The Ethiopian constitution recognizes the special interest of Oromia in Finfinne and directs parliament to enact laws specifying the terms and conditions that respects and regulates this multifaceted relationship between the city and Oromia.

Two decades on, however, no such law is forthcoming, and to add insult to injury, the ruling party announced what it calls the ‘Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan’, allowing the unprecedented expansion of the city into Oromia. Emboldened by a symbolic election victory in which the ruling party won 100% of the 442 seats announced thus far, the government is set to implement the Master Plan, threatening the wellbeing and livelihood of Oromo farmers neighboring the city.

This is precisely what Hundeessaa’s new song depicts. It weeps for Finfinne, a city that for generations condemned the Oromo culture and identity to precarious subterranean existence. The song’s engrossing sonic texture is at once unsettling and captivating, unsettling because it excavates and reopens past wounds, captivating because it has the poetic quality only a work of art can achieve.

Two clear narratives emerge from the song: first, that of pride and affirmation of Oromo identity and self-worth, and second, that of mourning, discord, and humiliation born of the continued dispossession and marginalization of the Oromo on their own land.

Full of fire and pride, Hundeessaa protests this tyranny of the center, and situates ‘the Finfinne Question’ within the broader Oromo history and experience of dispossession. His song is part tribute and part mémoire, a tribute to Finfinne and a memoire to the dozens of students gunned down by security forces during Oromo students protest against the Master Plan.

This is a song that enables the Oromo to imagine beyond the given-ness of present arrangements; a song that shows that the present is not inevitable, and that things could be different and better.

About the author

Awol Allo is a Fellow in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science

World Premiere | Seenaa Solomoon’s Single Oromo Music: “AKKAMIIN DIINA GOMBISU?!” June 15, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in African Beat, African Music, Inspirational Oromo Women, Musicians and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism, Oromo Music, Seena Solomon, Viva Oromia.
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Oromia’s lyrical stanza: Haacaaluu Hundessaa’s music video:“Maalan Jira …?”:Diiganii gaara sanaa, gaara diigamuu hin mallee, nu baasaan addaan baanee, nuu addaan bayuu hin mallee June 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Beat, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo Music.
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Laal Galoo too,
Gullaalleen kan Tufaa
Laal Galoo too,
Gaara Abbichuuti turii
Laal Galoo too,
Galaan Finfinnee maar….. seeee
Laal Galoo too,
Silaa akka jaalalaa wal irraa hin fagaannuu
Laal Galoo too,
Jarati nu fageessee……!!!
Diiganii gaara sanaa, Gaara diigamuu hin-mallee,
Nu baasaan addaan baanee, nuu addaan bayuu hin-mallee.
Soorettii haadha sooree, irbaanni-rra-buusa qabaa
Seeqanii sesseeqanii, kan gar gar nu baasan jaraa—yii
Koo Galaanee tiyyaa,
Qotiyyoon abbaan didaa, yaa didaa harqootaa keessaa,
Koo Galaanee tiyyaa,
Qorra baraan dadhabee, morma kee jalattan dheessaaa…!!
Koo Galaanee tiyyaa,
Sululta loon hin tiksuu darabaatti galchiisaa,
Koo Galaanee tiyyaa,
Yooman dhufee si argaa ani si irraa fagoon jiraa.
Maalan jiraa, maalan, jiraa, maalan jiraa,
Yaa Gaa-laa-nee
Maalan jiraa maalan, maalan jiraa caccabsee na nyaatee jiraa
Ani hin jiruu… Ani hin jiruu,
Yaa Gaalaane,
Kukkutee na nyaate xurii
Qotee qotee namichi qotee namichi sanyii darbatee
Yaa Gaalaanee,
Qotee qotee namichi qotee qotee sanyii darbatee
Yaa Gaalaanee
Rafee hin buluu namni waan ormaa abdatee,
Koo Galaanee tiyyaa,
Farda siidaaf kaafanii, siidaa dabaliif suurii
Koo Galaanee tiyyaa
Erga nu dangeessanii barri turee buubbulee
Koot Galaanee tiyyaa,
Woddeessi ciraa gubee, Amboo irraa calaaqqisee
Narraa fagaattee jedhee si yaaduun kiyya yoom hafee??
Maalan hafee, maalan…hafee, maalan hafe
yaa Gaalaanee..
Maalan hafee, Caccabsee na nyaate lafee…….!!
Ani hin jiruu, ani, hin jiruu, Ani hin jiruu, Anii
Yaa Gaalaane
Kukkutee na nyaate xurii
Yaa Gaalaane
Cuwwaa cuwwaa jettii, simbirrooni halkanii,
Yaa Gaalaanee,
Cuwwaa cuwwaa jettii simbirroon halkanii
Nama garaan dhaane dirmammuu hin arganii
Yaa Gaalaanee
Maalan jiraa maalan jiraa caccabsee na nyaatee jiraa…..2x
Ani hin jiruu, Ani hin jiruu.. yaa Gaal-aanee
Ani hinjiruu maalan jira kukkutee na nyaatee xurii…
Qotee qotee namichi,
yaa Gaalaane,
Qotee qotee namichi sanyii darbatee
Rafee hin buluu namni waan ormaa abdatee….
Yaa Gaalaanee
Maalan jiraa, caccabsee na nyaatee jiraa….

30 Still Frames (Photos) from Haacaaluu’s “Maalan Jira …?” Music Video by Director/Editor Amansiisaa Ifaa & Cinematographer Tasfaayee Afuwarq

  Waxabajjii/June 5, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune, Gadaa.com 

In addition to the lyrical and melodic richness of the recently released Haacaaluu Hundessaa’s “Maalan Jira …?” Oromo music video, imagery has also played a powerful role in making the music video become an instant hit. The following are the cinematographically rich 30 still frames (screen captures) from the music video by Director/Editor Amansiisaa Ifaa and Cinematographer Tasfaayee Afuwarq.

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Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism July 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Beat, African Music, Culture, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Musicians and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism, Oromia, Oromian Voices, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Music, Oromummaa, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Self determination, State of Oromia.
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Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism

By Harvard  University Professor Kay Kaufman Shelemay

Oromo Studies Collection


Harvard University’s African Studies Workshop Featuring Kay Kaufman Shelemay: “Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism”

Title: Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism
Author: Kay Kaufman Shelemay (Professor of Music and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University)
Published: Seminar Presentation, African Studies Workshop at Harvard University
Language: English
Keywords: Ethnography, Ethnomusicology, Music, Oromo Nationalism

On March 3, 2014, Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, presented, “Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism.” Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University, was the discussant.

Original Source: African Studies at Harvard University