“Ethiopia await, all Prince and Princess!”—so chants famed reggae artist Buju Banton on his album ‘Til Shiloh, but what Buju didn’t know was that the wait would soon be over; Ethiopia birthed an artist–a true embodiment of the Reggae movement’s romantic longing for Ethiopia. Her name: SHEBA Sahlemariam. A refugee from the majestic war-torn land of Ethiopia, Sheba was reared among the concrete jungles of New York City, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa. Named after the Queen of Sheba, famed empress of Ethiopia, to whom her family traces direct ancestry, Sheba is a cousin to Emperor Haile Selassie, which highlights the serendipitous circumstances that moved her family from Ethiopia to Guyana, where she spent her early childhood and later, Jamaica, which deepened her connection to Reggae and Dancehall, the glue to her global and urban sound. Sheba stirs up a unique musical brew that is a mélange of Reggae grooves, Afro-beat, Ethiopian traditional music and jazz, R&B riffs, 16 bar rhymes, and Dancehall Sing-Jaying –souvenirs from her nomadic life, having lived and traveled all over the world.After an impromptu post of Sheba’s freshly recorded song, “Love This Lifetime”, drew an instant crowd on YouTube, Sheba Sahlemariam’s first single was decided by movement of the people: within hours of the post, requests for the song began to pour in from all over the world. A few weeks later, the song was receiving spins from some very respectable DJ’s, like luminary DJ David Rodigan of KISS 100 FM in London, all before anyone even knew who this Sheba Sahlemariam was. All signs pointing to the song becoming an official first single, she went back
to the lab and remixed “Love This Lifetime” with infamous dancehall veteran and superstar, Bounty Killer. This new version of the song and the emergence of others on her forthcoming album are predicted by Radio Jockeys to ‘blow up the reggae airwaves’ and introduce a growing base of fans to Sheba’s gorgeous four octave range, soul stirring, provocative lyrics and fierce ability to dial up a diversity of musical styles. Sheba sits at the razor’s edge and will expel you from preconceived definitions of urban, pop and world music. As early as the age of four, she was singing and making up songs to entertain her playmates, but it wasn’t until a random meeting in Brooklyn, when Sheba forged a musical partnership with Tommy “Madfly” Faragher, an accomplished Songwriter, GRAMMY nominated Producer and one time recipient of the celebrated ASCAP POP AWARD, did she finally begin to chip away at her lifelong dream to write and record music. Together they began to collaborate of what will be the basis for her first album: The Lion of Sheba and forthcoming digital mixtape: “The Lion of Sheba…Soon Forward!”
Songs from the forthcoming album are for real music lovers: big vocals, powerful songwriting and beats that challenge your boundaries. The wait is over. You may not be able to get to Ethiopia, but The Lion of Sheba will bring Ethiopia home to you. The Lioness, Sheba…soon come.
Born in Senegal to a Gewel griot family, singer and percussionist SIDY SAMB is the son of Daro Mbaye, one of the first women singers in the popular mbalax genre and from whom he learned the foundations of technique and composition. On a visit to Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo, he discovered a passion for flamenco music and decided to make his home there. He quickly found his way into the music scene and became a founding member of Mártires del Compás (Martyrs of the Compass), a seminal “nuevo flamenco” band, that same year.Read More
Bidew Bou Bess
BIDEEW BOU BESS (“New Star” in the Wolof language) is a performing group of three brothers: Moctar, Baïdy and Ibrahima Sall. The trio is recognized throughout Senegal for their innovative mix of musical genres and languages, as well as for their attention and commitment to important social issues at home and abroad. Natives of Podor, the brothers relocated to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, where as young hip-hoppers they began performing in 1994. After winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education in 1996, they caught the attention of Senegalese cultural icon Youssou Ndour.Read More
MAIMOUNATA (“Maï”) LINGANI is one of the most popular singers and songwriters of Burkina Faso, West Africa. She currently divides her time between New York City and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Maï was born in Koudougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and started singing professionally during her late teens. In the mid-1990s, she won several prizes with bands playing styles ranging from reggae to the traditional musics of various Ivoirian ethnicities, and toured nationally. In 1996, she met the musicians Lukas Ligeti (of Austria, now residing in the U.S.) and Kurt Dahlke (of Germany)and participated in the recording of their group Beta Foly’s critically acclaimed CD, her first international release (“Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly”, Intuition Records, Germany, 1997).Read More
Ndongo Bahoum Diop was born in Ziguinchor, which is the richest cultural city in Senegal, in July 1964. His nickname is Lucky. He belong to the Diola (jola) tribe, one the rare tribes where everybody is a musician! His father’s position in the justice department gave him the great opportunity to learn about the dynamic music of the Toucouleur and the Wolof tribe at his early age. At the age of 10, Lucky was already performing for his classmates. In high school, he was among the first students to join the music band which won several competitions nationwide. During his last two years in high school, he collaborated with Solo Cissokho, a prominent kora player in Senegal. Lucky spiced up his compositions with sabar, bougarabou, seyrouba and djembe rhythms. As Solo’s repertoire became more diverse, they both gained more fans.Read More