Ethiopia’s Aster Aweke and Ivorian star Alpha Blondy for Swedish festival

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Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke. Photo: www. kulturfestivalen.stockholm.se
Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke. Photo: www. kulturfestivalen.stockholm.se

Running between 16 and 21 August, the 2016 edition of the festival will feature music, film and other artforms. The event was founded in 2005 and has since become a major attraction on the nation's cultural calendar.

Ivorian reggae star Alpha Blondy and his 12-piece band The Solar System will take to the festival’s main stage in the heart of the Swedish capital on the evening of Friday 19 August. One of the world’s most popular reggae artists, not only has he been instrumental on putting Ivory Coast on the reggae map but over the years has made it his primary concern to share messages of peace and reconciliation. His latest album, Positive Energy (2015) - the 18th of his career - was arranged by seasoned Ivorian producer Evariste Yacé and features Jamaican star Ijahman Levi, Tarrus Riley and zouk master Jacob Desvarieux. It features the popular single and video, 'No Brain, No Headache'.

Aster Aweke’s charisma and vocal style has been compared to legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin. Aster was born around 1960 in Gonder in northern Ethiopia and later moved to the capital Addis Ababa, where she began singing in bars and clubs. Like many Ethiopian artists, Aster fled her county's civil war and Mengistu’s military regime that censored music and moved to Washington DC in the USA. Today she divides her time between Ethiopia and the US. Her 24th album, Ewedihalehu (I love you), was produced by long-time companion Abegasu Kibrework Shiota, as well as exciting new producers Henock Negash and Maru. Alongisde her Masinko Band she will also be taking to the Swedish stage on Friday night.

Last year's edition of the Stockholm Culture Festival also featured a strong Ethiopian contingent, with Ethiocolor, Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete invited to perform.

With another stellar line-up of artists, this year's edition will offer jazz, pop and folk from every corner of the world, performed by both established and rising stars on various musical stages. For more information visit the festival’s website.

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