Radio Afuura Biyyaa (RAB): Interview with Elemo Ali
Elemo Ali is a passionate Oromo nationalist, and a well respected and highly talented musician. He was born in Haramayaa and he says his love for music started when he was about 12 years old, in the historical and cultural city of Dire Dawa, where he first heard local flute and harmonica styles. He started playing guitar after circumstances led him to be a young refugee in Djibouti. Thereafter, in Saudi Arabia, even the local laws restricting musical entertainment failed to prevent Ali from pursuing his passion for music and mastering the keyboard. He also plays the flute as well as being an accomplished guitar player and singer.
Elemo Ali has been widely recognized within his own Oromo community for his outstanding contributions to Oromo music and culture. Numerous awards of recognition have come from across the globe – Germany, Australia, United States and several here in Canada, most recently at the Oromo Community Achievement Awards of 1999. He currently has a new CD on the market, “Leelloo/Graceful,” and looks set to get broader recognition as a top African musician here in Toronto.
His music features many of the beats used in his Oromia homeland such as the shagoye (a reggae beat) ragada (a traditional 6/8 rhythm and the ceremonial dhichisa.
A descent family man, Elemo says the contribution of his family to his music is enormous. In what way do they contribute to his music? Do his children follow his footsteps?
A fervent nationalist, Elemo rejected a multiple call from the Woyane regime to perform his music in his native country. What is his reason? You get the answers to these and other questions in this interview.
Stay tuned and enjoy!