World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gigi (singer)

Article Id: WHEBN0002005750
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gigi (singer)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bernie Worrell, List of one-word stage names, Music of Ethiopia, Bill Laswell, Tony Cedras, Nicky Skopelitis, Material (band), Gogol Bordello, Idan Raichel, List of African musicians
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gigi (singer)

Birth name Ejigayehu Shibabaw
Born 1974 (age 39–40)
Origin Chagni, Ethiopia
Genres Ethiopian music
Occupations Singer
Instruments Voice
Years active 1997–present
Labels Palm Pictures
Associated acts Tigist Shibabaw, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Wayne Shorter, Henry Threadgill, Pharoah Sanders, Nicky Skopelitis, Aiyb Dieng, Karsh Kale,

Ejigayehu Shibabaw, known by her stage name Gigi, is one of the most successful contemporary Ethiopian singers worldwide. Coming from an ancient tradition of song originating in the Ethiopian Church, she has brought the music of Ethiopia to wider appreciation and developed it in combination with a wide variety of other genres.

Recording career

Gigi was born and raised in Chagni in northwestern Ethiopia. She has described learning traditional songs from a priest in the family home.[1]Template:Efn She lived in Kenya for a few years before moving to San Francisco in about 1998.

Gigi recorded two albums for the expatriate Ethiopian community, but it was her 2001 album, titled simply Gigi, that brought her widespread attention. She had been noticed by Palm Pictures owner Chris Blackwell, who had years earlier introduced reggae to the mainstream through his former label, Island Records. Blackwell and Gigi's producer (and later, husband) Bill Laswell, decided to use American jazz musicians (including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, and others) to accompany Gigi on the album.

The result was a fusion of contemporary and traditional sounds. The album was a critical success internationally and generated controversy in her home country for such a radical break with Ethiopian popular music.[2] This release was soon followed by Illuminated Audio, an ambient dub style remix of the album by Laswell.

2003 saw the release of Zion Roots, under the band name Abyssinia Infinite. Bill Laswell played guitar and keyboard (instead of his usual bass), and several of Gigi's family members contributed vocals. The album was a return to a mainly acoustic sound for Gigi, incorporating instruments such as the krar and the tabla. The track "Gole" is in Agaw, the language of Gigi's father's village.

Gigi's voice can be heard in the Hollywood film Beyond Borders (2003), in which Angelina Jolie portrays an aid worker during the 1984 - 1985 famine in Ethiopia.

She released her sixth album, Gold and Wax on Palm Pictures, in 2006.

She has also appeared in "Running From the Light" in Buckethead's Enter the Chicken (2005). In 2010, she recorded Mesgana Ethiopia with Material, released on the M.O.D. Technologies label.[3]

Her 2001 song "Guramayle" appears in the 2006 documentary God Grew Tired of Us. It plays over opening and closing credits.

Personal life

Gigi is married to her producer Bill Laswell, and they have a son, Aman, who has accompanied his parents with vocals. Her younger sister, Tigist Shibabaw, died under unknown circumstances in 2008.[4]


  • Tsehay, 1997
  • One Ethiopia, 1998
  • Gigi (Guramayle), 2001
  • Illuminated Audio, 2003
  • Abyssinia Infinite: Zion Roots, 2003
  • Gold & Wax, 2006
  • Mesgana Ethiopia, 2010

Featured on

  • Future2Future by Herbie Hancock
  • Sacred System: Dub Chamber 4 (Book of Exit) by Bill Laswell
  • Realize by Karsh Kale
  • Live at Stern Grove by Tabla Beat Science
  • Enter The Chicken by Buckethead
  • Radioaxiom by Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble
  • Putumayo Presents: One World, Many Cultures Compilation
  • Putumayo Presents: Music from the Coffee Lands, Vol. II Compilation




External links

  • Official Website
  • Gigi Music Page on
  • Gigi Profile Page on
  • Bale Washintu - Gigi Shibabaw music video EthioTube
  • Fly: Review of Gold & Wax
  • Afropop Worldwide (PRI program):
    • Afropop interview with Gigi

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.