Underground Music Scene on the Rise in Addis

By Kidus Assefa, May 01, 2019

If one wishes to fully understand the current social dynamics in the city it would be worth looking at the underground, pop-up parties that have been springing out across Addis to get the full picture. Such events have been at the center of the business networking and entertainment scene for a while now. With this feature, they have become great places for those who enjoy mixing business and pleasure and have been able to cater to the needs of many and draw quite a crowd. Underground parties have not only become alternative entertainment choices for the locales but also thriving fiesta hotspots for Addis’s expat community, and they sure are contributing to the cultural image of the country. Let me give you a profile of a few of these events and their venues.

The Zodiac Series: Hosted by one of the most brilliant teams in Addis’s event organizing scene, Unusual DJs, The Zodiac Series is one of the most widely acclaimed underground parties in Addis Ababa. The series is hosted at Face of Addis, a graceful venue sitting on top of Yeka hills offering a breathtaking night view of Addis Ababa. The Zodiac Series happens every month dedicating each of the events with one of the Zodiac signs. If you happen to be in town on 18 May 2019, make sure to be there for the Taurus edition of the Zodiac series. Like many underground parties in Addis, the event is themed predominantly African electronic music with prominent artists like Armaghedion and DJ No performing. Collaborating with Setaweet, a strong feminist movement in Ethiopia, Zodiac has added an edge to its quality, advocating for women’s right.

Zoya: Greek for life, Zoya is an electronic music party hosted at one of the most unusual venues in Addis, the Greek Club. Having launched its first edition in December 2018, in the beautiful, relaxing backyard of the Greek Club, Zoya has evolved to becoming a highly anticipated event every month attracting hundreds of event goers every month. “Zoya is all about celebrating life through musical experiment,” the organizers explain. The event in fact stands up to this word. Some of the most celebrated artists like Mitmita, DJ Addisu and many others have so far played in the event and more are in the line up in the coming months.

Asheweyna: Launched in Mid April, Asheweyna is an event that plays exclusively oldies Ethiopian songs. As one of the elements increasingly vanishing from the nightlife scene in Ethiopia, the originality of the music played at this event along with Tella and Areke, strong traditional drinks,  is definitely going to make it big among young Ethiopians.

Tribes and Vibes: This is another event hosted by the rising star, ARMAGHEDION, who calls the event his passion project. As its name suggests, Tribes and Vibes is predominantly themed by African electronic music, and Deep House and Techno. ARMAGHEDION explains, “(The event) is an exploration of underground sounds from all over the globe with an aim to shine a light on the rhythms and musical stylings of lesser represented countries and cultures and shift away the focus from Eurocentric dance music to something more inclusive.”

Full House: Full House, hosted by Choo Choo promotion, is one of the earliest in underground music scene in Addis Ababa, Full House established its name when it hosted its first edition in 2017 with the South African artists Roque headlining the event. As the momentum for electronic music has picked up, so has the caliber of Full House artists over time and 25 May, 2019 will have the fourth edition of Full House: Master’s Edition bringing with it three international acts; Samuel Dan, Josh butler and Metodi. For those that love and follow electronic music and that indescribable moment of the beat drop, this is not to be missed as these artists are sure to light up the night at Villa Verde.

Photo by: Abenezer Geleta (Ras Studio)