Damian Marley is set to do a concert in Addis Ababa on June 6 at the Ghion Hotel. The highly anticipated concert that will be held on a Tuesday due to the artist’s Africa tour schedule will also be featuring Zeleke Gesesse who is also co organizing the concert as well as Jonny Ragga, Zema Lastas, Black Note Hip Hop crew and Mehari Brothers.
Damian Marley released his album Welcome to Jamrock on 12 September 2005 in the United States and 13 September 2005 in the United Kingdom. It sold 86,000 copies in its first week of release, and was eventually certified gold after selling 500,000 copies in the United States. Other notable singles from the album include “The Master Has Come Back”, “Road to Zion” featuring Nas, and “Khaki Suit” featuring Bounty Killer and Eek-A-Mouse. This album has gained him a lot of fans across Africa including Ethiopia.
Damian’s half-brother, Stephen Marley, was a producer and co-writer of the hugely successful song of the same name. The lyrics to the single “Welcome to Jamrock”, which were performed over a riddim produced by Sly and Robbie for Ini Kamoze some 20 years earlier, centered around poverty, politics and crime in Jamaica.
While the single was controversial at home over its perceived negative viewpoint of the island, many praised the content of the song. Dr. Clinton Hutton, professor at the University of the West Indies, said of the single, “‘Jamrock’ uses the icon of the inner city, of alienation, of despair, of prejudice, but of hope, of Jamaican identity, to remind us of the fire of frustration, the fire of creativity, the fire of warning to open up our eyes and look within to the life we are living.
The concert that is expected to have thousands in attendance was not remotely easy to pull off according to the organizers. “We currently don’t have any sponsors for the event. Beer companies who are usually sponsoring such events told us they couldn’t do it as the event is on a Tuesday. We are basically handling all the related costs of this event,” said Zeleke. He further stated that after the concert, there are plans for Marley to visit places such as Lalibela as well as Shashemene, an area where a large number of the Rastafarian community in Ethiopia reside.
“We don’t want him to just leave after doing the concert. We want to show him around so that he can learn a bit about the country and the people. We want to promote the country as well,” Zeleke also said. He also mentioned that there are plans for the artist to visit Bob Marley Square that is currently located around Imperial Hotel, Gergi.
Marley will be on stage alongside his full band and entrance will be 400 birr for regular tickets and 600 birr for VIP.