Lamb movie showing in London 3 & 7 Nov

Lamb movie is showing in Hackney Picturehouse next Tuesday 3 Nov at 9pm (21:00 or 3 o’clock habesha time) and at Brixton Ritzy cinema next Sat 7 Nov at 2pm (14:00/ eight o’clock habesha). Its the first Ethiopian movie selected for Cannes film festival.


Directed by Yared Zeleke Ethiopia/France/Germany/Norway. 2015. 94 mins. Colour. Amharic with English subtitles – great chance for students of Amharic in London to use their ears and hear more Amharic in an easy setting!

Ephraim is a young Ethiopian boy, the son of a farmer. His father leaves him and his sheep, from which he is inseparable, to be looked after by distant relatives, far from his drought-ridden homeland. Ephraim isn’t very good at farming, but he has a hidden talent: he is an excellent cook. One day, his uncle tells him that they have to sacrifice his sheep for the next religious feast. Ephraim is ready to do anything to save his only friend and return home with him by his side. Handsomely shot in Ethiopia’s beautiful, mountainous countryside, this multi-layered first feature from Yared Zeleke adds depth to its characters and places depictions of everyday Ethiopian life centre stage.

Any of our Learn Amharic students and friends going? Let’s meet up, comment on our facebook page or send us an email.

Mulatu Astatke concert in London 5 Nov

Great Ethio-Jazz musician Mulatu Astatke is performing next week Thursday 5 Nov in London in an “Intimate Ethiopian evening”. For your tickets, look here.
The music that became known as Ethio-jazz is a compelling fusion of traditional styles with funk, jazz and soul. Its creator, Mulatu Astatke has a musical history rivalled by few. He has contributed music to the film work of Jim Jarmush, been sampled by the biggest names in hip-hop and played to audiences of thousands at festivals around Europe.
See more info at Check this link for some of his music, video of Ato Mulatu and a free MP3.
Please share with your friends, great sounds for people who learn Amharic in London!

Mulatu Astatke Tour Dates & Tickets

Beauty of Amharic language for family links

“Amharic is thick and sweet; it takes its time rolling off my tongue.”

American-born writer Hannah Giorgis wrote in her July column in the Guardian about the beauty of Amharic language, as students of Amharic language can find out for themselves.

“The first language I learned to speak, under the careful instruction of my doting grandmother, was Amharic. Ethiopia’s official tongue (the second most commonly spoken Semitic language after Arabic) connected me to her then and still runs like a live wire through my extended family’s conversations. We are thousands of miles apart, separated by oceans and passports. But when we call each other, it is Amharic that carries our love across the sea.”

“..sometimes I still dream in Amharic. When my feelings are deepest and most difficult to diagram, they take on Amharic’s vivid imagery.”

Hannah Giorgis, columnist at The Guardian
Hannah Giorgis, columnist at The Guardian

But she writes in English: “the words I know best are in English. The grammar I can most readily bend to my will is that which I learned in American schools, under the perfunctory instruction of teachers insistent on making my immigrant-daughter tongue fall in line. The classical literary canon I consumed as a child – and the books topping recommendation lists even now – are those of white authors for whom English is always statement, never question… I can no longer read or write in Amharic – the alphabet hanging over my bed is more decorative than didactic.”

She told of her visit to Ethiopia in January 2015, after 10 years, and how her cousin Kidus said he enjoyed her writing, but added he did not understand everything. “The gentle accusation hung thick in the air: you write in English; your articles are not for me. For the artist in diaspora, choosing what language to create in is fraught. Indeed, I never know what language to use when explaining myself. English is easiest; I swim in it every day. But English is not the language in which I love.”

She quotes the poem from Pérez Firmat’s book Bilingual Blues, published in 1995:
“The fact that I
am writing to you
in English
already falsifies what I
wanted to tell you.
My subject:
how to explain to you that I
don’t belong to English
though I belong nowhere else”

What is your experience of Amharic language? Have you listened to the fast and ready wit of the azmari singers, or the country and eastern longing of tizita music and its lost memories, have you laughed at the Amharic stand-up comedians or wept with the heroine of an Amharic movie?

Amharic is one of Africa’s liveliest languages today, and we encourage our students of Amharic in London to learn as much as possible.

Buy Firmat’s poetry book here Bilingual Blues (Poems, 1981-1994)

Hannah Giorgis is a Guardian US contributing opinion writer and an organizer working to end violence against girls and women. Follow her on Twitter: @ethiopienne

Anglo-Ethiopian Society events – King of Kings book launch

If you are learning Amharic in London, you may be interested in Ethiopian-related events too. Learn Amharic UK is proud to be a member of the Anglo-Ethiopian Society (, which organizes excellent networking and events. Here are a few highlights of their upcoming events for the rest of 2015:

book - The Last King of Kings of Africa

2 Nov (Mon) Book Launch “The Last King of Kings of Africa: The Triumph and Tragedy of Haile Selassie I”. Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate in conversation with Anthony Mockler, at SOAS, Russell Square from 19:00-21:00 (7-9pm). Haus Publishing have organised the book launch to coincide with the 85th anniversary of Haile Selassie’s coronation. Emperor Haile Selassie was a descendent of King Solomon and a forerunner of African unity and independence. He fought with the Allies against the fascist Axis powers during the Second World War and was the messiah of the Jamaican Rastafarians. He was a reformer and an autocrat, who was assassinated in a communist coup. He was an equally formidable and iridescent figure, who is brilliantly portrayed by his great-nephew.

Asfa-Wossen Asserate was born in 1948 in Addis Ababa as a member of the Imperial House of Ethiopia. He read history and law at Cambridge University and at the University of Tübingen, and received his PhD at the University of Frankfurt. He now lives in Frankfurt where he works as a consultant on African and Middle-Eastern Affairs, and as a political analyst. He is a bestselling author in Germany and has been awarded the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize and the Jacob Grimm Prize, two of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes.

This event is supported by the Royal African Society, the Anglo-Ethiopian Society and the Global Heritage Fund UK.
The event is free, but places are limited and must be reserved via Eventbrite, go to the link here. The event includes a standing reception and book signing. Copies of the book will be on sale.

17 Nov (Tues) Book Club – The Danakil Diary – Journeys Through Abyssinia, 1930-34, by Wilfred Thesiger. At the National Theatre. This was the earliest and most influential expeditions of one of the great explorers of the 20th century. Thesiger regarded his 2 journeys into the Danakil country in 1930-34 at the age of 24 years as the most dangerous he undertook. It was a remarkable achievement, he travelled in country that had wiped out 2 Italian expeditions and an Egyptian army before him, discovered what happened to the Awash River (one of the area’s last geographical mysteries to be solved) and managed to survive amongst the Danakil, to whom a man’s status depended on the number of men he had killed and castrated. People learning Amharic may enjoy Thesiger’s descriptive genius including the beautiful, savage landscapes and their wildlife as well as youthful evidence of his fierce motivation and uncompromising will. The book club gathers in the Long Bar on the ground floor, but if you to attend, or want further information, please email the Book Club.

Danakil Diary can be found at Amazon here:

25 Nov (Wed) Lecture – Witnessing the birth of an ocean: Rifting in the Afar Depression, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti by James Hammond at The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square. The East-Africa rift is the world’s premium natural laboratory for studying how continents break apart. Here, over the last 30 million years, a new tectonic boundary has been formed giving rise to the volcanoes and earthquakes that make up one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes. The Afar Depression is the northernmost extent of the East Africa Rift, where it meets two other rifts that form the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This so called triple junction is where the final stages of continental breakup are occurring.

In September 2005 some earthquakes culminated in a small volcanic eruption, which masked much bigger changes deeper in the Earth’s crust. A 60 km long sheet or wall of magma (a “dike”), had been injected into the Earth from depth in just 2 weeks, causing the ground to deform including 8 metres of sideways movement. It was the first time in the era of satellite and modern day geophysics. In response a UK/US/Ethiopian/Eritrean team led an 8-year study to monitor and understand the driving forces behind this region.

In this talk Dr. Hammond will provide an insight in what it is like to work in one of the world’s most inhospitable deserts, a tale of camels, volcanic eruptions and science diplomacy and he will present some of the key results from their work. Hammond is a Research Fellow at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, London. Capacity is limited, so please reserve your place soon at Eventbrite to avoid disappointment.

The AES also organizes supper clubs and other social events. has great Afar desert video has great Afar desert video