ESFNA finds: bole 2 harlem 36 Comments

 b2h cover art

I was at the 23rd Ethiopia Soccer Federation in North America celebration. It was very good. I was introduced to many new young Ethiopian Hip Hop artists. Of which I was very much impressed with a group called Bole 2 Harlem. I saw the group perform live in the LA coliseum.  The vocalist, Mike has some nice moves.  Ehem She belew.  Seriously a true performer.

Apparently they went from Bole to Harlem as the name says. They must have used yeaddisaba taxi because you can hear the Woyala screaming ‘harlem harlem…’  in the sampled track.

The CD was packaged very well. The cover art was amazing; better than any CD cover art I’ve ever seen coming out of Addis in recent years excluding the Ethiopique series. See picture above.

Hint: If you are an musical artist; don’t hesitate to contact a decent graphic designer even if the costs are high. This is my professional opinion.

36 Responses to “ESFNA finds: bole 2 harlem”

  1. 1 venus

    true…true…was at the coliseum….loved their energy throughout their performance…dude got nice dance moves!!

  2. 2 Ye Shimbra Assa

    Ye Shimbra Assa WHAT WAS THAT??? Hoya- Hoye?!? It was an utter garbage? I hope they didn?t waste more than five minutes composing the lyrics. How hard was it to find words that rhyme using the ?chew? ending? Let me see? I?ll tell you what, I am going to play their music in my head to help me come up with some ?challenging? words? Bam..bam..bam? endemena-chew? dehenana-chew? akista-chew? tamema-chew? hospitalu wist, astamema-chew? docterunem, asaya-chew? doctorum, tekota-chew?lemen aybelum, alla-chew? essa-chew? aslekesa-chew? neger-gin, asdeseta-chew? mekniata-chew? selalgeba-chew I think I am ready to cut an album! I am going to call it, ?Kawassa wede Tikur Anbessa? (and tell a story about how we took my aunt from Awassa to Tikur Anbessa hospital for medical treatment) I can?t wait to see them perform at the Apollo theatre, so they get booed by those merciless Harlem audience, while Shaggy (or whatever his name is) is sweeping them off of the floor! Critic?s opinion: – Horrendous! Hate to waste an alphabet, but I will be kind enough and give them an F- (that?s F minus.) I dig the Kombi/ Kumbie (VW bus) and the cover?s layout though (not the group?s name.) From Bole to Harlem!??? Is that suppose to be some ?Boys 2 men? thing? I know they are trying to tell a story, but this ain?t a story telling contest. Not a catchy name at all! Try something like, from Qera to Aurora?or from Wello to Apollo? These guys need to be deported?deported back to Bole, and leave Harlem to the Real Performers! Ye Shimbra Assa Disclaimer: – My comment is not being directed to any individual. I was purely focused on the attached music. So, please don?t call me ?Ye Shimbra ASS??Thanks!

  3. 3 lady b

    hahahaha, ye shimbra ASS. LOL. your comment was hilarious. effooyy, dekemegn. in all fairness, i had the exact sentiments as you when i first heard the hoya hoye track. i honestly thought it was tasteless and not creative, i felt like i could come up with those lyrics and maybe the beats. lol. if you are looking for something deep and conscious, then this album is not for you. it’s more of a feel good music. i still cant believe, but i actually bought the album…and again, i cant believe that i like it. i mean, it grew on me and i didnt even get a chance to see them perform at the LA colliseum. borrow the album and listen to it in its entirety. its not bad at all.

  4. 4 Debulbul

    The above two comments are typical habesha comments. Always a put down. Bole2Harlem rocks!! I am not even the rap generation but loved it! I was at the soccer field and the youth was very responsive to them. Better have our own than Shaggy & Co. Bole2Harlem did awesome to take Amarigna to a different level than the 5 or 7 strings. Yes, the lyrics doesn’t have very much originality. But those familiar songs are the ones we grew up with so what better way by far to use it. I say kudos for their work. How does one getter better and improve on their passion if they recive negative comments? And no one paid me to say this. Please be considerate…

  5. 5 Chereka

    Damn Ye Shimbra Assa, why you hold holdin’ back??? Come out and tell us how you really feel, won’t you? LOL I just find the irony in the ‘Bole to Harlem’ hilarious.
    I guess there is a story in there somewhere and I’m just wondering how it goes. So, these kids born in the poverty stricken slums of uuuhhh…Bole Addis!! LOL are bringing their stories of misery and hardship to…. Harlem???!!! And then to the LA Coliseum, as close as one can get to South Central LA without being a drive by participant. I’m sorry, I find the whole thing kind of… I don’t know, too vanilla ice creamy… LOL And that Kumbi VW made’em look more like black dead head hippies from the 60′s than hip hoppers in 2006. It’s a good thing they didn’t go passed the Coliseum deeper into South Central. They would have been laughed at right out of Compton Blvd. LOL

    I saw their performance in LA too and I could be wrong, but I didn’t see the same kind of response Debulbul is referring to from the youth. As for me, I found their percussionist to be entertaining, that’s about it. Not much on the creative side, but what habesha is these days, except for maybe a handful?

    Hey Debulbul, what’s with the stereotyping? :) Can we criticize someone without being labeled ‘typical habesha’? It’s OK to have an opinion that is different from the main stream. One can get better from negative criticism too.

  6. 6 Ye Shimbra Assa


    Vanilla Ice cream! Ahahahahah, brother you are funny! That?s sooooooooooooooo true!

    Didn?t Venilla Ice have the same corny story back in the ?90(s), or was that Tone-Loc (Funky cold medina?) You are right about the paradox.

    I think, I would rather go from harlem to Bole?. LOL?and as for the VW bus, once again, you are right? perhaps they should have made it a lowrider Kumbie.

    Debulbul, on a serious note, as an Ethiopian, am I not entitled Not to like ?original? concepts?if that?s what you want to call this piece?

    Well, if that is the case, then I am going to mix Russian folk song with amarigna and try to come up with?let?s see?what should I call it?…AmRuss folk song. That will definitely be an ?original.? Now, you better like it! Otherwise, you are going to ?put me down?, and that?s unacceptable.

    BTW, you said ?rather have our own than Shaggy & Co.? Since when did hip-hop become ?our own??

    If kids ?loved? this piece, then our kids are really deprived of creativity, and they must be bowing down to anything that clicks!

    In any case my friend, what I wrote above was just a commentary (an opinion.) That does not mean it is a fact. Come up with something entertaining, and I will be the first one to buy your album.

    Don?t take this personally. I am just giving you my rebuttal?


    Ye Shimbra Assa

  7. 7 Tsion

    I’m in the UK, so I haven’t seen them live, but I managed to get my hands on their album and really like it. They have a fresh, creative and energetic sound that does not take itself very seriously, like lady_b said, it’s more of a feel good music.

    Chereka, Shimbra, please get the album and get some of that feel good positivity that’s missing from your lives!!! You’ll thank me for it.

  8. 8 nolawi

    you know guys? maybe iif you see this video at TOBIAN’s BLOG you might actually see how creative bole2harlem is… also its a good song! the hadere one is one of my favorates…

  9. 9 The Spy

    I find a lot of high level professional musicians starting with Bill Laswel (hope got the spelling right) are using Ethiopian and other ethnic type music to spice up their music to give it a new feel.

    I can clearly hear the Ethiopian touch in each of the tracks I heard. If you take the foreign touches out, you will be left with one of the most boring kinds of rap/FUKERA. The meat and potatoe of the songs is foreign. Only the spice is Ethiopian.

    I honestly would like to see something better from our musicians.

  10. 10 Ye Shimbra Assa

    Why do we, as people, have a hard time accepting criticism!? Tsion, what does my life got to do with this song?

    I drunk a glass of Metamucil last night, and after the bowl movement I just had, I am feeling good! Really good for that matter? thanks for your concern though?

    I knew people were going to take a shot at me, so I left a disclaimer clearly stating that my comment was purely based on the ONE SONG that was presented for us to listen. I have never heard of the group, or their work before. And the one song I heard, I did not like ? period!

    Nolawi, you are a smart young man, and thanks for redirecting me to the group?s other work. I enjoyed that one much better. Although, rap/hip-hop and Amharic is still not doing it for me?I am not sure if it is the musical style that is making the lyrics very elementary or if the lyrics itself was born premature, I don?t know?but, something is missing?

    Overall, I give that one a ‘B’. I wish they used the single geared Mezzo bicycles at the beginning, instead of Huffy, but I like the video very much. A white guy playing the role of a cabbie while a couple of black folk are making out in the back is classic!

    Choreography- B (except the guy?s, his is a bit outdated)

    Cinematography ? A (beautiful ladies and scenery)

    Lyrics ? C- (very elementary)

    Catchiness of the beat ? A (thanks to Nolawi, I have been singing in my head ?ye segera gojo? kedadaw yetayal? all-day-long!…ahahahah)

    A white guy as a cabbie ? A (just kidding, I am not being ethnic, don?t get all worked up!)

    Ye Shimbra Assa

    Please, please, don?t take me too seriously. I am just having fun. I really love creative people.

  11. 11 Nueva

    Love ur comments Shimbra. i was at the collesium and saw the performance and was not impressed at all. Extreme lack of creativity putting Hoya Hoye on a CD, with out any lyric change, shows lack of effort, at a minimum. And then there is Birabiro…

    Whats with the new artists these days. It seems like all they do is read a ‘sidNebab’ to a synthisized beat.

    I do like the cover art it is different. And I agree that the guy has good dance moves.

    Maybe next time they can put something that is a little better.

  12. 12 Kebeke7

    To Yeshibra ASS & Nueva (The Music Editor) You guys disguest me!!!!, I live in Addis Ababa, and I am a University student. I will tell something and hope you learn from me! Bole 2 Harlem music is playing everywhere here.. In the clubs, tax’s as well as in the new Chinese bus’s that has TV screens servicing major cities. People are going crazy for thier video and the singl.. I didn’t get the full album cause I don’t have the money right now.. but I will buy it to support when I get allownace next month. Unless you too can prove me wrong!!!!I don’t see you coming out with any creative MUSIC or Lyrics here in Addis?? You should go come to Ethiopia and be a fan of Country Music. You guys are in a comma, I think now you can downloaded their entire album from iTunes and it worth every penny. I rather read the positve and up-lifting as well as an inspiration to their next album than read your garbage review just from listening one sample song????? Your suppose to be more open minded living in outside Ethiopia??? Ignorant BASTARDS!! No wonder our music is held back 100 years, people like have been on every artist’s case not getting enough support mentally and financially!!! Name me an artist right now who delivers like Bole2Harlem lyricly or the unbeatable beats… We Jamming here in Addis, hope they drop the seond CD or Single soon… Hell, I will take a Re-Mix right now.. I don;t suppose you heard the remix they have on the Album?? It’s for the song called “Enseralen Gojo” Off the hook. Have you heard any other songs…? Didn’t think so, you work in fast food place and can’t afford it, Ha?? I’ll give you personal advice, spend your diner money to download the full album, then and only then you can post comments about them. ;-)
    Listen to the entire album, they have put us on the upcoming Ethiopian Hip-Hop map…

    Hope your I openend your ignorance eyes!


  13. 13 soda

    betam arif kebele.. the people are not supportive of good music…

  14. 14 lulu

    This is what I call music madness!
    What in gods name was that?
    Seriously I don?t know what to call it. It doesn?t fall in any of the known music categories. It is a disaster I hope they are not going to call this Ethiopian music because it is not.

  15. 15 Ye Shimbra Assa

    Was that ?kebeke7? or ?kebele7?? There seems to be an inconsistency in your moniker?s nomenclature?

    Here is the absurdity in your statement?you said ?I didn?t get the full album cause I don?t have the money right now?, but you go on and ridicule me for not having money by stating ?you work in fast food place and can?t afford it, Ha????hmmmmm???

    You see, Nolawi from Bernos is a smart guy. Unlike you, he redirected us to listen to their second CD, which by the way? I LIKED!!! (see subsequent review up above)?

    but again, I don?t think you are from Addis…you write well, and you write like Americans?for that matter, you may even know me?

    No need to get upset. It is just music… let?s not go to war over it..

    The ?ASS? thing…not original…I already beat you to it?

    Thanks for the feedback.

  16. 16 Kebele7

    Ok! This one is for the Ye-Shimbra Kiit! (__Y__)AKA Shibra Ass. LOL Original enough for you?? Let me try again, Shiro Fit! Anywyas, you didn’t even ready the entire comment.. or responded to all of my questions, what’s the matter? did i hurt your feeling?? Ha! LOL

    Just like you said it’s music, but you still are missing the point which the Music!! I wonder what kind of music you listen to?? Hummm, should I guess by the way you review other artist music, or should I not! I don;t want to embarras you, maybe music is not your forte’

    There is no inconsistency on my writting, thank you for telling me my english is good ebough not to be from Addis…. Ignorant BASTARD! I got news for you, things have changed every since you left Addis for better education 20 years ago… It sounds like you haven’t learn anything since… The new generation is more pro-active and willing to build our country, rather distroy it by people like who lives abroad. So, my brother wake-up and smell the Ethiopian Cofee!! You still are in a Comma! ;-)



  17. 17 Ye Shimbra Assa


    ?I learnt long time ago not to take things personally? Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors

    Sorry if I offended you, but that was not my intention. I honestly mean it. Even about your writing skills. I am not sure why you thought I was being sarcastic, but I was actually complementing you.

    Let bygones be bygones and go home with smiles on our faces, as if we just hit the jackpot in Vegas

    If it makes you feel better, make me your punching bag?go ahead!

  18. 18 Nueva

    Dear kebele,

    So why don’t you tell us what is really wrong, uh. It sounds like you are upset by more than just the review. I am really glad you like the artists. And here in America, it is ok to have different opinions, really.

    Its not that serious, eshi.


  19. 19 Kebeke7

    Well Nueva, I was only talking to Shibra Assa, but hey I’m not upset nor offened, but love to get into Shibra’s skin, which I think I have suceeded. LOL

    Shibra; Enjoy your wining $$$$! Don’t spend it all in BAD country music! LOL Hope u come back to your beloved country one day and realize that you are missing the BIG changes in clutire, music, art and so on…

    I still suggest Ethiopian coffee for you, maybe you can use the money you won and open a Casino in Addis.

    Good day!


  20. 20 Ye Shimbra Assa

    ‘Under’ his skin NOT ‘into’ his skin…but yes, you did hurt my feelings…I don’t necessarily get up every morning looking forward to be called a “bastard”…especially for just sharing my opinion…

    I hope your purpose in life is not just to get “into” someone’s skin, or is that “under”…

    And yes, I do LOVE country music, and contemporary jazz, and Latin Percussion, and ‘begena’, and Latin jazz, and opera , and classical, and mambo, and various African music, and…

    As far me coming back home, now you know why it will be hard…we are too spoiled with the idea of free expression…we are afraid to be called “bastards” for having an opinion that is different from the main stream…even worse, we are afraid of being murdered for refusing to be someone else?

    Love you sister!

  21. 21 SoSit

    I just got this Blog about Bole2Harlem, I thought it would be interesting after reading the heated discussion above to see what everyone thinks of them now. I think they will make every Habesha proud, they certainly made me proud… Any thouts??

    Indie Music to appear on new ?Accepted? Soundtrack Posted by Kiwi Bloke in Blogroll, World
    Category: World Music

    This is the link to the Blog

    Indie Ethopian Band Bole2Harlem is being showcased on the new movie soundtrack Accepted. According to UPI: With tracks from popular bands such as the Pixies, Modest Mouse, Weezer, and the Hives, the new soundtrack offers a variety of music interspersed with a mash-up of lines taken from the film comedy, IGN Film Force reported. The soundtrack will also offer three previously unreleased songs from David Schommer, Maki Siraj of the band Bole 2 Harlem, including a cover of the Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby. The cast band the Ringers also recorded the original track, Keepin Your Head Up, for the soundtrack, which is due out on Aug. 8. The Steve Pink-directed film will be released three days later, Film Force said. Buy the Full Album

    You can also buy the iMix Sound Track for “Accepted” here!

    For Accepted Movie Trailer Click this link!

  22. 22 Nolawi

    Wow! sosit betam thanks for the link! that video is indeed very hot!

  23. 23 ahnd

    hey, that’s great news for them!

    those who’ve yet to hear the album, give it a chance. i’d initially had difficulty warming up to their songs, but i’ve come to enjoy the cd loads. “enseralen gojjo” is def. one of my favorite cuts this year.

  24. 24 sahia

    im so happy to kno et is comin up soon we gonna pass all these 50 cents and chamillionaires and show how we abeshas really do it and thats was up

  25. 25 celebratelife

    I’m loving all the comments! What’s up with all the hostility? Geeze Louise can you please lighten up or has the stresssss of life got you by your g-string?

    I don’t even know who/what Bole2Harlem is but they sound like they?re trying to fit into the ghetto life of the wonderful USofA ha/ha

    Kudos to Ye Shimbra Assa for telling your honest opinion, you?re someone everyone should bow down to. My goodness people (Debulbul the reigning queen of the “typical abesha”) take a chill pill maybe a teaspoon of metmetta.

    Nolawi thank you for the positive response, to deflate the tension, you get a lollipop.

    Kebele7, you out right disgust me especially residing in Addis and I love my Addis Abesha?s. What is the problem with someone clearly stating his or her opinion and what is your problem with the hardworking Abesha’s in the US. It’s ok you’ll make it here someday too. Until then enjoy the Sheraton and give a shout out to your Bet-boys. Don?t push me cause you?re close to the edge, I?m trying not to bop your head! If it makes you feel good to insult others hold a mirror and spit at the person you see, you?ll feel much better I promise!

    Hey Sahia forget about Bole2Harlem (I haven’t even heard their music) coming not even close to 50 or chamillionaire. I mean forget it! Have you heard their cd or listened to their lyrics. Girlfriend you have no clue what you’re saying. You’re either on something or coming off of it.

    For the Bole2Harlem crew please don’t get caught ridin dirty! I will listen to your music and promise to support you, if you?re worth it.

    Love your Abesha Sister.

  26. 26 konjo leje

    Hey i got something 2 say 4 kebelay 7 What the f*** is with u??? must be one of melase Chefra who belive just like him
    4 ur info. this is america any one can excepress his opinion and thought just to learn some thing out of sembra assa!!! sew zelo mesadeb dedebenet new!!! he just wrot what he felt i hope the page is made for that too don’t take things personally
    chill, easy, breath in and out
    by the way i like the song and the bit but the lyrics is very very poor they need to work on tha tvery hard

  27. 27 sahia

    lol thank u konjo lege i totally agree and 4 u celebratelife i guess i shouldnt even put chamillionaire and 50 cent in the same category as bole2harlem they speak diff languages and have diff ranks so thanks 4 the criticizem and 4 ur info im not and havent been on jack i was just tryin to show some luv to my people ishe

  28. 28 celebratelife

    My comment was not to imply durgs my dear but since you took it that way, my apologies. My point was 50 cent’s lyrics are just so raw and can’t ever be compared to even rappers from the US. So to compare him to someone who came from Bole 90210 was an insult to him, in my Opinion. He is my favorite rapper and my reason for defending him.

  29. 29 benson

    well i think u guys are bored and talking crap
    just chill and appretiate music
    and yeah 50 cent is pretty good

  30. 30 reduka

    yeshimbra assa, kebele 7 is defenitiley live in the US. What kind of university student from addis you know that uses a sentence like “they drop the second albmu soon and download on i tune and all that b.s.)
    I don’t like negative comments but when you’re an artist, you suppose to take the good with the bad..
    So, I’m just gonna go ahead and say that, bole to harlem were garbage.
    I hope they never touch another mic again.

  31. 31 baby

    Okay, i understand all the comments about the lyrics in thier songs in stuff like that, but i really enjoy thier music….what’s so enjoyable is the simplicity of thier lyrics…sometime i get sick of listening to the way-too-familiar sound of ethiopian music like “sethed seketelat”…

    Bole to Harlem is just simple, enjoyable music…it’s not complicated, it’s not too heavy…some love songs that come out of ethio is like damn what the hell did she do to him for him to be singing all these heavy and depressing lyrics……light up!

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