Music Permissions for Video

I was interviewed for this ASMP Bulletin about the difficulties in securing permissions to use music for multi-media presentations. Thank you, David Schommer, for granting permission to use one of your groovy songs from Bole 2 Harlem for my Ethiopia: Feel The Love video. Bole 2 Harlem was playing everywhere I went in Addis last month!


Read interview here.

Betam Konjo!

Ethiopia: A Streetboy With Integrity

Day ends, and I am bone tired.  Dani took me to meet his aunt Welansa and I instantly fall into her and her very enaging friend who recently moved back to Ethiopia. They are a duo of fun, and I once again find myself wanting to stay here forever.

I feel like I fit here….my humor is understood, I dance every day, my visual senses are fed. I miss my family and friends at home, and I wish I could somehow bridge the two. Perhaps there is a way….

I find myself wanting to be silent – watch everything go down in front of me.  Mix mash of people, classes, tribes and various forms of transportation and languages. A sashay of Amharic and Oromic interplay, here, there, everywhere.  Music, click click of high heels on sidewalks, people running everywhere, fast. Rhythm. Everything has rhythm here.

Out of the chaos, a small boy tugs my sleeve.  I look down, and see Miki, hair church-ready slicked back and torn shirt haphazardly tucked into his frayed pants. I see a lot of street kids here, box of gum in hand, showing a persistency that any CEO would envy. But Miki seems different. There is something about him that makes me want to engage with him. Yet, experience warns my heart, and I pass by, finding a seat at the nearby coffee shop.

I see that Dani offers Miki one birr ($.05) for gum.  Miki’s face lights up and he asks Dani to choose what flavor he would like. Dani waves at him and says it is ok, he doesn’t need gum today, sell it to someone else. Miki instantly begins to cry, deflated that Dani was not taking his gum. He pleads with Dani, saying that it is not right to take money without giving Dani what he bought. With integrity front and center, he stands firm until Dani relents and takes a piece of gum.

Miki works the same corner, in front of Friendship Mall in Addis Ababa, every day. He was born on this busy street, and remains at the same spot, living with his mother and trying to make a few cents each day in the most fair manner.

Ethiopia, I am so honored to be here and learn from your people.

Ethiopia: Selflessness

Addiss talks with each woman, giving swift advice and health care diagnosis as she recognizes issues. One by one, the women come in to the makeshift clinic, exposing their vulnerabilities and asking many questions.

Every woman has the right to deliver a healthy baby.

The husbands wait nearby, eager to hear of any news, with their hands reaching out to their wives. Waiting, waiting.

I watch Addiss care for one patient, two patients,…..six patients. Their eyes tell me of their desperation to be seen by a knowledgeable health care worker. Addiss simply moves through her day, ego in check. After all, this is what she sought: to help all rural women in this area give birth to their children without devastating results.

I ask Addiss if she has time for herself, and this question is met with curiosity. She can’t even comprehend what I am asking. After searching my face for a sign of understanding, she simply relays: I am dedicated to the mothers of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia: Meet My Bro, Dani

Dani appears from the darkness surrounding the Mimosa Hotel, and my heart takes an extra jump. DANI! I am incredibly happy to see him, this young man who keeps me safe, and more importantly sane, in Addis Ababa.

I am here! He says. Do you think otherwise?

We share the same love for hip hop and rap music, as well as more traditional Ethiopian fare, and when our eyes first meet each time we see each other, we break into shoulder dancing. It is always so great to see him!

He helps me get settled the first day here, and the love I feel for him grows each day I am with this funny and spirited guy. Dani!

Each morning, he comes to pick me up in his van, and helps me navigate language barriers, cultural protocols and equipment issues. Such a creative soul he is. Give him any problem, and he will think of a solution. He only likes spending time with “people of positive” and I watch him as he intently looks at people….he has an uncanny ability to assess situations and make the most of them….or get the hell away.

Do you want to take lunch with me, he asks? YES! I say, and off we go on another happy van ride…..he in modern style, me trying to respect and emulate Ethiopian traditional culture. We make a great pair, and by the end of each day, my cheeks are literally aching from laughing so much. He personifies the Ethiopian wicked sense of humor.

Dani works with me at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, helping to set up interview equipment for our time with Dr. Hamlin and other work. He also is a compatible travel partner; our time in BahirDar following a midwife by foot into the bush to see her outreach health post was productive…..and wildly fun.

And can he DANCE! The professional dancers can not even keep up with him, whispering in his ear on stage that they are tired and need to rest.

I learn so much from this special soul. We sanction our friendship into “family”. He is now my bro in the most heart bonding sense.

I love you, Dani.


Copyright 2017 Joni Kabana. All rights reserved. Site by TD