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Love and Ejigayehu shibabaw

Ejigayehu Shibabaw (born 1974) is an Ethiopian singer who goes by the stage name Gigi. She has performed Ethiopian music alongside a wide range of other genres, frequently in conjunction with her bassist and producer husband Bill Laswell. Gigi grew up in Chagni, Ethiopia’s northern region. In the family home, she learned traditional songs from an Ethiopian Orthodox priest. She spent a few years in Kenya before relocating to San Francisco in 1998. Gigi released two albums for the Ethiopian diaspora, but it was her 2001 album, simply titled Gigi, that garnered the most notice. Blackwell and Gigi’s producer (and later husband) Bill Laswell opted to use American jazz artists to accompany Gigi on the album, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, and others. The end result was a sound that was both modern and traditional. The record was a critical triumph around the world, but it sparked debate in Ethiopia because of its dramatic departure from Ethiopian popular music. This was quickly followed by Laswell’s Illuminated Audio, an ambient dub style remix of the album. Under the moniker Abyssinia Infinite, Zion Roots was released in 2003. Bill Laswell performed guitar and piano (rather than his customary bass), and various members of Gigi’s family sang.

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