Did you know that Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is home to one of the best music scenes in Africa? In fact, many of the city’s (and country’s for that matter) music has its own subgenres such as Ethio-jazz, and many popular bands follow in the footsteps of traditional folk music using instruments from their homeland like the begenna and kettledrums. Music lovers that are planning a trip soon won’t have to look any further than hanging out in this gem of a city that centers around its lively music community. Get ready to learn all about the musical heartbeat that keeps the city in the groove, here are some of the best places to see great live music in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mama’s Kitchen – Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa’s own Mama’s Kitchen is a swanky joint that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped in to an upscale 1920s speakeasy. Travelers are pleasantly surprised by its lavish atmosphere of chandeliers, dark wood furnishing and a fully-stocked bar. But you’re not just here for the drinks. Mama’s Kitchen frequently hosts live music in its establishment featuring talented musicians from across the country. Diners can enjoy the high end buffet and glass of bubbly while the musicians jam out on stage, belting out their best notes.
Also located in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ghion Hotel has a cozy, intimate venue called African Jazz Village where die-hard jazz fans get their fix. Popular Ethio-Jazz bands perform snazzy tunes on stage throughout the week for revelers. This place is so well-reputed among jazz fans that its common to spot people from across the globe in its audience. It’s also advised to book a stay at Ghion Hotel for a convenient retreat to your room after a full night of dancing and good music.
In 2015, music lovers were heartbroken to receive the news that their beloved music club, Jazzamba Lounge had burned down. However, due to popular demand, the lounge was brought back to life in 2016, stronger and playing louder than it ever did. Today, music geeks can swing by Taitu Hotel (a historic, picturesque building built in 1898) to get their dose of local music. Live music is played in its lounge nightly.
Fendika Cultural Center
One of the area’s most famous music groups, Fendika, opened up its own music venue of the same name where they perform routinely along with other rising talents in the area. Traditional music is brought to life with a bit of funk and dancing for the audience to enjoy in this cozy center. Frontman of the band and owner of the venue, Melaku Bay, is known for dressing up and putting on eye-catching shows that’ll leave visitors coming back for more.
Bust out your best moves on the dance floor at Jams, where reggae music is the star of the show. Music lovers who want to listen to catchy beats can find it at this venue draped in Bob Marley motifs and everything else reggae. Come on a Saturday night where music icon Sydney Salmon “mashes up” the place with his intoxicating rhythms. Friday nights have occasional guest DJs that will spin a mix up of tracks to get the lively crowd tearing up the dance floor.
Throw your hands up in the air and sway along to the beat at Flirt Lounge, one of Addis Ababa’s most trendy dance clubs. A DJ will blast dance music late into the night for the crowd that are dressed up in their stylish gear. Most of the shows at Flirt will begin at 10 p.m. and will continue playing until 3:00 a.m. the following morning. The most popular weekly event is Flirt Fridays, but music lovers who are looking for a more laid-back atmosphere with a glass of bubbly are encouraged to swing by Acoustics nights held on every Tuesday and Thursday evening.
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