The following is a statement from the Organizing Committee of the Dr. Ali Birra’s Oromo Music Career: 50th Anniversary Tribute Celebration (1963 – 2013) (which was held on September 7, 2013 in Toronto, Canada).
The 50th anniversary tribute celebration 1963–2013 held in the city of Toronto this past weekend on September 7, 2013 has concluded with great success.
The event, which was organized by three community organizations, Oda Relief Association of Toronto, Oromian-Canadian Society of Ottawa and Dirre-Oromos of Toronto, was well received by the audience and well attended by an estimated attendees of more than 300.
The night was kicked-off with a breathtaking moment welcoming the legendary artist entering the audience hall, accompanied by ladies dressed in Oromo cultural dresses, and the first ever song played by Dr. Ali Birra in 1963 ‘Biradha Barihe’ playing in the background by artist Muhktar and the audience join together in singing. It was a memorable moment.
The night’s opening speech was delivered by the host, Obbo Abdo Alisho, who welcomed the guests and paid tribute to Dr. Ali Birra for his significant contribution to the advancement of our language, art and culture.
After a brief video clip, produced by Obbo Girma Gemeda, a highlight of Dr. Ali Birra musical career, the president of the Oda Relief Association of Toronto Obbo Zaim Ibrahim welcomed the guests and wished all participants a wonderful night.
Several guest speakers, which included prominent individuals and community leaders, paid tribute to Dr. Ali on this historic occasion.
The president of the Oromo-Canadian Association of Toronto, Obbo Kitaba Megersa, in his speech, raised the importance of Oromo artists in the Oromo national struggle in general, and that of Ali Birra in particular.
Obbo Abdulhamid Ame Kabira, an Oromo nationalist, expressed his interpretation of the true meaning of Dr. Ali Birra’s nationalist songs, and what kind of messages they were delivering in different times and situations.
The audience also heard from members of Hiriyaa Jalalaa band – the first Oromo musical band of Dr. Ali Bira — Obbo Abubakar Mohammed — chairman of the band, Obbo Ali Abdi – accordion Player, and Obbo Abdo Barento — band dance member. They recounted how they invited him to the band at a time, and paid tribute to his long musical career.
An Oromo nationalist and song writer, Aadde Makiya Abdullahi from Germany via Skype, also read her beautiful poem, which captivated the audience.
But the highlight of the event that night was the marvelous speeches given by our young Oromos, Sabrina Galmo – the daughter of the late Saleh Galmo (RIP), an Oromo artist and one of the founders of the Oromo Sports Federation in North America (OSFNA), Lensa Ali, Jalo Ismail and Urgee Urgeesa. They talked about what he meant to them and how he touched their lives. They were inspiring speeches that the audience would not forget.
The dazzling tribute performance of several Oromo, Harari and Somali artists, such as Adero Mukhtar, Shamsudin Ali, Adham Adus, Adib Abdosh, Awale Adem, Koshen, Abdo Jobir, Abdulhakim Ibsa, Abdulhakim Gorbe as well as The Young Oromo Band of Toronto – who were there to pay tribute to the legend – made the night exceptionally special.
It was the legend himself though, when he took to the stage, before the end of the event, that thrilled the audience with his wild performance playing his all times songs: Biradha Barihe, Karaan Manni Abbaa Gadaa Eessaa, Anis Biyyaan Qabaa, Afaan Oromo, and other songs, and the audience, not surprisingly, went wild.
A young Ali Birra picture with an autography of Dr. Ali – which was donated by Obbo Girma Gemeda (Lagatafo Studio) to the Birra Children Education Fund, was put on auction at the event. An astonishing $600 was raised to the foundation, and Anisa Qawwee declared the winner.
Aadde Lily Marcos, Dr.Ali Birra’s wife, expressed her sincere gratitude for all the help and support given to the Birra Children’s Education Fund (BCEF), a non-profit/non-governmental organization founded and led by Dr. Ali Birra, herself and other volunteers. She added that, through collective effort and commitment, Dr. Ali and BCEF are dedicated to providing disadvantaged children with sustainable assistance they need to access education.
Shorty before the end of the event, the 50th Anniversary Tribute Award was presented to Dr. Ali M. Birra for his lifelong commitment in the development of the Oromo Language, Arts and Culture. The awards were presented by the presidents of the three organizing community associations, Obbo Zaim Ibrahim, Obbo Abubakar Mohammed, and Obbo Ali Abdi.
The Organizing Committee would like to take the opportunity to thank all the participants who took part in this historic event and congratulate our beloved artist Dr. Ali Birra on his 50th Anniversary celebration.
The DVD/video of the event will be released soon.
The Organizing Committee.
Watch More from the Toronto Golden Jubilee Event of Dr. Ali Birra in Oromo Music Below …