The last decade has seen a multitude of US artists taking centre stage for the New Year's celebrations. Artists, such as - Shaggy, Beyonce, Akon, Sean Paul, Rihanna and, most recently, R.Kelly have all performed in previous years. This is the first time the New Year’s headline act has been of African origin for a long time. P-Square, from Nigeria, are most famous for their collaboration with Akon and have been chosen as part of the African Union's 50th Anniversary celebrations, reports ASMERET HAILESILASSE, SPECIAL TO FORTUNE.
For the first time in several years, a band from Africa, and not the United States, is going to grace Addis Abeba’s New Year’s Eve. This is also the first time that someone other than Mohammed Ali Al Amoudi (Sheikh) will be sponsoring the visiting artists.
This also happens to be the first big break for the one-year-old company, Qana Entertainment, established by former ETV hosts, Seble Weres and Eden Gebrehiwot. Qana is partnering with Astar Advertising to organise this event, which has Meta Brewery as its financial backbone. Astar is previously known as an organiser of beauty contests, including the popular ones where Hayat Ahmed, later to become popular through condom commercials, and Sayat Demissie, later to become popular as a singer and actress, were first discovered.
Previous year’s events were graced by artists, such as Beyonce Knowles, Rihanna, Sean Paul, Black-Eyed Peas, Shaggy, Akon and R.Kelly, all of them from the United States. The last was R.Kelly, who performed at the Sheraton Addis on December 31, 2010.
Now Addis Abeba will see P-square – the rising stars from Nigeria – on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, Ethiopian New Year’s Eve, at the Millennium Hall, for 90 minutes starting from midnight. The group will arrive in Addis on Sunday, September 8, 2013.
P-square is a Nigerian R & B band established by identical twins, Peter and Paul Okoye. They started rising to fame after their debut album, Last Nite, got them the “Most Promising African Group” nomination at the Kora awards, three months after its release. Their second album, “Get Squared”, released under their own label, Square Records, made them even more popular. On this, they performed with international artists, like Akon and Sean Paul. Their third album, Game Over, sold eight million copies worldwide.
One of their songs, Chop My Money, was translated and performed by Ethiopian artists, “Tiblaw Bren”. Eventually they would go on to win the Artist of the Year award at the Kora All Africa Music Award.
“It is partly because of that reason that we chose them,” says Seble Wores, Qana’s general manager.
Another reason, she adds, is the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the African Union, which is continuing all year round, as of January 1, 2013.
The group, which is comprised of 11 people, are here on a 200,000 dollar contract, paid for by the Meta Brewery. Ten technicians are already working on the lighting and sound for the concert, which will be televised live on ETV.
The organisers expect to sell 18,000 tickets at 1,000 Br for normal entry and 2,000 for VIP – both rates include dinner and some liquor.
Local artists, including Hamelmal Abate – who is expected to release a new album for the New Year; Jalud Awol; Natnael Ayalew, who will arrive for the concert from the United States; Fikeraddis Nekatibeb; Tadele Gemechu; Eden Gebresilassie; Abraham Belay (Shalaye) and veteran singer, Zeritu Kebede, known for “Enqutatash”, will also perform. These artists have been paid their asking price, says Seble, declining to reveal what this amount is.
Clubs around Addis Abeba are making their own preparations, too. Club H20 at Yoly Hotel, along Mikililand Street, will host Hibist Tiruneh, from the United States, as well as Tsegaye Eshetu and Haileyesus Girma, all to be accompanied by Fedel band. Tsegaye Eshetu has this year released a compilation of selected songs from his earlier works. Haileyesus and Hibist have also contributed songs for Zema Aman, a recent album published by Nahom Records Group.
Yougovia Club, which occupies a 952sqm basement of Sheger Building, will host its regular artists, Madingo Afework and Girma Teffera, as well as popular Oromiffa singer, Getachew Hailemariam, on the eve for an entrance of 75 Br. It expects up to 400 people once it opens its doors at 9:00PM. Its plan to include more artists was not successful, because many had gone to the United States, said the club’s manager, Robera Cheso.
This club had been in business in Hawassa for 13 years before it opened its Addis Abeba branch on January 26, 2013.
Flirt, at Lucky Building, and Illusion, located at the basement of Ambassador Theatre, will wait for their customers with DJs.
Despite concentration of major events around Bole, Voltage Club, at Kazanchis Intercontinental Hotel, and Jolly Bar, at Arat Kilo, are having their own events, with Jolly Bar having an age limit of 25 and above for men, while women from 21 are welcome for its New Year’s Eve night.
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