Mitmitta Musika 95 Comments

As winter was fast approaching, I made it a point I needed to travel somewhere warm this year. I was not going to get stuck in another “snowmaggedon”. You’d figure that after all of these years living abroad, I’d get used to the cold or learn to appreciate it. So i decide to make my way back home, Ethiopia. When travelling, I make a very short and concise list of things to do. Everything that happens in between is sheer luck or happenstance.

I was on a mission to meet this guy known as DJ Mitmitta. It was on my to-do list. I was trying to make use of every minute, second of my days that I missed out on asking about this man. One chilly night, I decide to go a jazz bar with a friend. In between sets I hear this great mix of ethio jazz and I ask my friend who the DJ is, low and behold : DJ Mitmitta. DJ Mitmitta, also known as Kidus, owns a music shop in aware called Mitmitta Musika. Did I forget to mention that this man is norwegian and speaks amharic that will make you question yours? Yes. So now, I’m confused that I am communicating with this norwegian guy in amharic and his knowledge about ethiopian music is rather impressive, for someone who’s only lived in Ethiopia 3-4 years. I digress.

I stumbled up on Dj Mitmittas’  tumblr blog, thanks to a friend, and ever since then I made it a point to find this man. After playing phone tag and missed appointments (addis style), I finally made it to his music shop. As soon as I walk in, I see famed masinko player Idriss Hassan playing a tune and few members from the band Le Tigre Des Platanes walking out from the back room.

I look around his music shop; he sells mostly old cassettes tapes and CD’s from ethiopian musicians living abroad, such as Debo Band. However, much to my dismay, I did not see any vinyl. Apparently, no one really sells vinyl “in public”. People sell some of their collections via middle men or you know someone who owns a collection. I ended up purchasing 5-6 cassettes tapes which he then turned into mp3′s on a CD for a small fee. Some of the artists I had never heard of like : Kedir Said, Ali Muhammad Birra, Abetew Kebede… I am not a connoisseur of traditional Ethiopian Music so if these artists are common to some of you, please cut me some slack.

Besides owning a store in aware, Dj Mitimitta has a weekly gig at Guramayle Jazz Club in Bole with the in-house band called the Jazzmaris. He also has aspirations in the music scene which are exciting and can’t truly reveal. If you ever make it to Ethiopia in the near future, I urge to visit his shop, support good music and get a taste of the local Ethio Jazz nightlife which is thriving!

95 Responses to “Mitmitta Musika”


  1. 1 Shiro

    Its about time Beshou, you have been slacking.

  2. 2 Nahom

    me likey…thanks for the clues on how to find that good music.

  3. 3 Alem

    why did they name him “Dj Mitmittas’” and how abt Kuduse? is that his name am confused by the name.
    Thanks in advace for your answer.

  4. 4 beshou

    Shiro, that’s funny. i’m sorry you feel that way. lol

    Alem, he named himself dj mitmitta. as far as kidus is concerned, i am not sure. Hopefully he is reading this and can answer it :)

  5. 5 justme

    thank you, thank you, thank you. His blog is amazing. how come you never heard of Ali Berra?… the best singer and performer! i know this without knowing what is he singing about. The love of music made me to check him out his songs and his performance. After all music is tie us together! Ethio Jazz might know lots about him…i assume. Thanks for sharing..will visit his store this summer. degmow a’Tetf’ee

  6. 6 mister_mister

    great find. thanks for sharing beshou. am i the only one noticing the culture is being disseminated by non ethiopians – k’naan sampling, marley shoes, francis falceto (ethiopiques), random norwegian’s gobbling up vinyl, oh no’s – ethiopium. interesting. how do you feel about that ?

  7. 7 Dinich

    Mister,
    A lot of high calibre musicians are these days turning to world music to spice up their music. People are tired of same old 12 bar blues, ii-V jazz, bluegrass mandolin etc…. Musicians are under a lot of pressure to break new ground and of late they have been turning to ethnic music and world music type of genres to get ideas to mix with their western styles. In turn Ethnic musicicians are also turning to western music to spice up things for their bored listeners. A typical habesha living in addis is sick and tired of Masinqo music but people like Zewdi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxGfOxiv_7c) are spicing up their music with a hint of Masinqo and elilta making it attractive to both ends of the spectrum.

    We are at a very interesting time in the history of music where things have been shuffled and most listeners are confused about who to love and who to not love. Today, there is probably more hate for music than ever before because listeners are confused and they hate everything except that one or this one. Hateful youtube comments are the order of the day in today’s music. All the boundaries we have been building between music styles are tumbling down.

  8. 8 beshou

    mister_mister,

    good point. IMO, on one hand the fact that the culture is being disseminated by non-ethiopians is not a bad thing. it’s exposure for musicians, artists who may have never had the chance to gain exposure to the “western world”. on the other hand, it’s dissapointing that ethiopians, or east africans in general, are not as organized to take ownwership of the arts/music and present it to the western world. as far as i know, there are a handful of artist in the west who have managed to do that (tommy t, gigi, mulatu astatke etc…) it’s a lack of certain skills that hinder us, as ethiopians, to do the job ourselves.
    prime example : teddy afro. how many non-ethio who really think they are in tune with top african stars are familiar with him? not many. it’s a fine line…i think the fact that we are insular may also be a problem. but, i digress…

    and ditto to dinich’s comment.

    we NEED to get Ethio_Jazz back to this BLOG! i’ll make it my mission to have him commit to at least 1 or 2 blog entries per month :)

  9. 9 mister_mister

    beshou/dinich – totally agree with your point… don’t get me wrong i’m a connoisseur of the mashups of music, culture, fashion etc. it makes for a richer artistic experience in my opinion.

    what I was getting at was where beshou was going around artists owning their works when they’re widely spread across the west. in terms of royalties and recognition you would hope that those funds are re-invested back in Ethiopia to build (grow) artistic institutions. I’m drawing parallels to what occurred to African American musicians for most of the last century (maybe I’m reaching here)

    ethio jazz – we need you. do we need to put your picture on a milk box ?

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