Posts tagged ‘Copy right’

K’naan: A pirate, a guitar

Dressing the part

I was hoping somebody would bring this subject up and I’ll be allowed to give my distinguished opinion about it ;). Nobody did, so i decided to do the dirty work myself – with, ofcourse, some help from For, as the Home Depot commercial would tell you, doing it on your own doesn’t mean doing it alone.

For those of you who don’t know who the guy on your right is, his name is K’naan Warsame. He is a Somali-Canadian poet/musician/rapper born in the district of Wardhiigleey (“The River of Blood”) and brought up in “the meanest streets in the universe”, or ‘the risky zone’ as he calls it, “full of pistols and russian revolvers”.

His mission:
Seeing to it that the “average Somalis”, the “most forgotten people in the world”, have a voice other than all the voices that talk about them & drawn their’s. Voices of “violent warlords, or pirates hijacking ships off the coast”. He’s made it, the above mentioned website reports, L.A. Times’ “an artist to watch” list after:

His first album, 2006’s The Dusty Foot Philosopher, was a hit with critics here and abroad. His latest, Troubadour, features Mos Def and Damian Marley .. The Guardian called him “powerfully low-key, theatrical [and] witty.”

And what was it about him I was hoping a reader would bring up & i comment?!
In a word copyright. In two words, copyright violations. This up and coming Somali rapper has been accused by Ethiopians of violating international copy right laws; in the form of copying/stealing/taking without permission or acknowledgement some beats that are rightfully ours. The beats he allegedly copied/stole/took with neither permission nor acknowledgement are “the original composers and singers of Ethiopia namely Tilahun and Alemayhu eshte”. A special attention has been brought, both by and Jimma times, to this song.

I, being one of those who give more attention to the ‘giTim’ instead of a rhythm of a song ( although my Introduction to Poetry teacher at AAU, one Wondwossen Adane, another genius on his own right, repeatedly said a song won’t be a song without the beat), am no more bothered by it than I would by anyone around my age “kilil” winning the celebrity status. And he’s an awesome geTami, this ‘weriha’, of an experience most of us went through back home and continue to [go through] abroad, as this poem here amply proves. [Did i just add myself to the list of “most of us abroad”?! You’d think i’ve been “affer meGfatting” for 30 years, instead of 3 months; well.. the first 6 months are supposed to be the hardest :cool:].

More importantly, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. For it’s no secret to us how if there is something the Somalis are good at, it’s piracy. It’s not bringing their issues to the table and thrashing it out, it’s not having ambitions that are realistic by nature (Barre’s outrageous day dreamings and Aweys’ blabberings come to mind), it isn’t even going without “chaat” for a couple of days. It’s piracy. Taking what doesn’t belong to them and making profit out of it. [And ..oh yeah.. renting a room in groups that has a landline telephone; making long distance calls to their various relatives in the UK and Canada, talk for hours on end and disappearing when the bill shows up. They are good at that stuff!] Not to mention how “counterfeiting” is “tirsachewin neQlewu yaDeGubet muya”. But a friend of mine has been pretty chocked up about it, to the point of asking me to do a post on it [which I, loyal to my loyalty to the “Dusty foot philosopher”, refused], then giving VOA’s Amharic Service a call and alerting them of the theft. Then alerting me of the call. [I know, it’s pretty confusing :)]. “Well..”, I said to self last night (while pacing the room with a sleeplessness that bordered with insanity), “he’s been a ‘lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ these past few months, giving me pointers on what to do and when — to make the American transition easier. He’s also been my source for any mischievous act Meles or his government has committed lately :). Lemme google the songs and give the post a try”.

Here are my findings. I’ll start with 15 Minutes away, which just became one of my favorite songs of all times. [Tiny Western Union office on “Global Hintsa”, biresash Qegne yirsagn!!]. America, ABC’s and I come prepared.

You tube and The Official K’NAAN Website has a lot more.

June 16, 2009 at 11:04 am 6 comments

DTBaS, the sequel

We have talked about the row between Zemari Muluken Melese and Artist Bizuayehu Demissie under the post Daddy’s too big a shoe.

First, an explanation:
The expression “walking in daddy’s shoes” shows a younger person’s desire, attempt or tendency to walk the way his/her father walked. “Be in his shadows”, so to say. Live his life. Behave his behaviors. Earn his rewards. It usually is a futile attempt at being bigger than self. For daddy would always be older, wouldn’t he?! Unless your mother is a cougar, married her toy-boy boyfriend who just happens to be younger than you yet expects you to see him as a “fatherly figure”, call him “dad” even, and you were the extremely obliging type. That is the way i understood the daddy shoe idiom/syndrome/whathaveyou, and that’s why i chose it for a title. [Feel free to disagree, but beMereja].

Bizuayehu Demissie is young, talented and (more importantly) ambitious. He sees himself as capable of singing. Singing, of all things, Muluken Melese’s songs the way the Idol did once. He believes he can get enough market for it too. Muluken, as we learned from his interview with VOA Amharic Service, does not think so.

And why am i bringing it up now?! Because I think it’s about time we voted on it and moved on. [And because Mazzi, God bless her heart, sent me Bizuayehu’s re-makes for a “Medeberia”. And because zSHARE has been so kind as to allow me upload it].

If you, therefore, haven’t already come across them, herebelow are a total of 12 (10 of Bizuayehu’s, two by Anteneh AbatuManew) remakes of Muluken Meles’s oldies goodies [or goldies] that made me view his songs with a new eye. The titles are self-explanatory so i would not dwell on them. But I’d dwell on one thing. The video I found on Daveox Space when googling for photos of the young Artist. It reads:

Let us respect the copyrights of our Ethiopian artists, recording artists and poets. Let us always buy the original products of their works, instead of asking for copies or duplicating and distributing them for free, for our artists need money to keep up with their creative works. By buying their original products, we are contributing and supporting them indirectly morally and financially to come up with more exciting ideas. So let us get conscious.

If you can’t see the irony in that, I don’t think you’d be able to see irony if it sits on your lap and calls you “mama” (“dadda” or whatever name ironies call their family members by when sitting on their lap).

Yene Qonjo, Yene Alem, Yebirhan Kokeb, Tizita, Tizez BeGelaye, Misikir Eyaye, BeGilts BaDebaBai, Endet Lichalew, Embwa Zebider, Che Belew, BerG’t Agegnesh woy and last, but not least, (oh maybe a little) Anteneh’s Kemekem & Emb’wa Bey Lamitu.


May 22, 2009 at 10:10 pm 3 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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