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Eskista Vs Jonny Ragga April 26, 2008

Posted by habeshaviews in Ethiopia.

I recently had a discussion with one of my friends about culture and what it is.  We were working to come up with a representation of Ethiopian culture for a non-Ethiopian audience. One of the things we choose to work with was, of course,music.

SO the million dollar question -what represents Ethiopian music?  

My friend being a stonched conservative traditionalist ,we couldn’t agree on what represents Ethiopia.


For me culture is some set of shared values and rules people agreed to live by at a certain point in history. It can and should change when it out lives its time and when its members agreed to change it. So much as I enjoy eskista and traditional Ethiopian beats,I feel that it doesn’t represent 77 million Ethiopians. I am totally not referring this in an ethnic federalistic way. Rather, I believe contemporary Ethiopian music is part of Ethiopian culture. Whether its Chachi,Jonny ragga ,Zeritu ,Gossaye or any of the new names in Ethiopian music are part of the existing culture we have. Its like Spanish and reggae tone songs. They are able to come up with a modern beat with a local flavour. Although, How much of the contemporary modern Ethiopian music have traditional flavour is another question.

But we can not always assume that every Ethiopian identifies her/himself with eskista and traditional beats. There are other rules and agreed principles with in the modern and traditional culture we have.

Let me hope my under grad sociology professor wouldn’t read this and shoot himself. ..lol



1. purpleamhariccoffee - November 11, 2008

Jonny Ragga is a Rastafarian so he’s more Jamaica. He has too much English in his music. Zeritu is the ultimate fusion 🙂

2. habeshaviews - November 11, 2008

I agree Zeritu is good. But, she also has a lot of western beats in her songs.Plus I would rather she sings than give interviews. She sounds a cliche in her interviews.
You might not be able to call Jonny rastafarian because of his hair or music style. Anyhow, personally I think both of them are part of the contemporary Ethiopian culture.

3. purpleamhariccoffee - November 19, 2008

Yeah, it’s just that jonny’s lyrics are very Rasta-orientated

4. Meron - January 29, 2013

Ethiopia has now a population of over 80 million and although the country has countless languages and cultures and types of music, the introduction of western and african music has contributed to development of Ethiopian music. We can debate the effect is positive or negative but one thing we can agree is peoples tate of music is very different and there is always thousands if not millions of fans of each type, genre or musician in the country. While the older generation prefer the traditional music, the younger generation seem to relate to the diverse music like Jonny Ragas’s music. In my opinion music of Ethiopia keeps to get bigger and better with time.

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