Ethiopia's Lij Mikael debuts on Coke Studio Africa

Two of East Africa’s fast rising music acts are set to collaborate at the ongoing Coke Studio Africa recording session in Nairobi. Yamoto Band and Lij Mikael’s pairing promises to bring a unique fusion of Tanzania’s muziki wa dansi with Ethiopian hip hop.

Tanzania's Yamoto Band with Ethiopian artist Lij Mikael. Photo: Lij Mikael's Facebook page
Tanzania's Yamoto Band with Ethiopian artist Lij Mikael. Photo: Lij Mikael's Facebook page

Ethiopian hip hop artist Lij Mikael emerged on the music scene in 2007 with the single ‘Arada L’arada’. Early this year he released his debut album Zaraye Yehun Nege. The 15-track album brings out the best of the artist as indicated by singles such as ‘Zaraye Yehun Nege’. The album, Mikael says, is to encourage people to be happy with their current state of life. His work continues to attract attention across Ethiopia; Mikael has been nominated in two different categories in the forthcoming Leza Awards.

He will compete against other fast risng acts such as Ras Mule, Sami Dan and Bisrat Hailemariam in the Best New Artist category, while his album will compete against other 14 others in the Best Album category.  Speaking of the nomination Lij Mikael says he is confident that he will win in the respective categories and is grateful that his work as an artist is being acknowledged.

Talking about his Coke Studio pairing Mikael says: “I have listened to Yamoto’s music, I can’t wait to see how the two sounds merge to create a unique fusion of East African sounds.” For their collaboration the artists will be produced France-based producer DSK. 

Yamoto band have continually mesmerized their fans with their releases since they emerged on the Tanzanian music scene three years ago. The band made up of four talented individuals who were discovered by Tanzanian music promoter Mkubwa Fela. The band’s music addresses day to day life experiences. The quartet of Aslay Isihaka popularly known as Dogo Aslay, Mbwana Yusuph Kilungi aka Maromboso, Enock Deogratius and Bakari Abdul Katuti aka Beka are upbeat about their collaboration with Mikael as he becomes the second artist with whom the band is working with out of Tanzania. In the past the Yamoto has collaborated with Natacha from Burundi on the single ‘Unaniongopea’. They are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with other artists from around Africa.

"We are glad to be paired up with Lij Mikael, even though his style is different from our type of music. He raps and we sing, but the beauty with music is once you understand the message your want to put across the rest is easy. We welcome the challenge to fuse our sound with rap music,” notes Dogo Aslay.

Production on Coke Studio Africa commenced in June. So far artists from 11 countries have been participating in the recording sessions. The show is expected to be aired in October. For more details visit the show's website.

Read about other artists such as Waje and Henock Mehari who are also taking part in this year’s edition.

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