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As more institutions begin recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday, it is important to uplift and name the Black joy, resistance, and expression that have always been at the core of this jubilant celebration. From June 7 to 19, 2021 Southern California Grantmakers invites members and the community to a two-week journey highlighting ten Los Angeles-based Black musicians, cultural workers, and dancers.
Day Five: Kibrom Birhane
As an Ethiopian-born multi-instrumentalist and keyboardist extraordinaire, Kibrom Birhane is a leader among jazz artists — mixing spiritual and Ethiopian jazz motifs to create a uniquely deep sound that resonates across cultures and musical concepts. Kibrom with him an ancient tradition, a spirit of dedication to roots and ever-expanding innovation. Kibrom’s deep understanding of Ethiopian tradition and sublime ability to fuse those sounds with funk, gospel, pop, and folk earned him an All African Music Award nomination for best male artist.
Kibrom Birhane plays a krar, a traditional instrument from Ethiopia, and performs a traditional folk song called TIZITA meaning Nostalgia. “Tizizta” is also a scale, like blues, where musicians jam on instruments with other people, vocals, or just a solo like this video.
Kibrome Birhane plays and sings an original arrangement inspired by Ethiopian Orthodox Church chanting called “Zelesegna.”
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