Ethio Biography

Ethiopian Online Biography

Ejegayehu Shibabaw (Gigi)


Ejigayehu Shibabaw (stage name Gigi) is an Ethiopian singer and songwriter. Gigi is known for combining original traditional sounds with a variety of international music. She is also one of the few Ethiopian musicians recognized globally, performing in many stages worldwide.

Early life

Gigi was born in 1974 in the Amhara region, Chagni, Ethiopia. Her family moved to the capital Addis Ababa in 1984. Gigi decided to become a singer and songwriter at a very early age.

Musical career

Her family, who are traditional and religious, challenged her decision to become a singer. To make her dream a reality, Gigi had to run away from her country to Nairobi, Kenya. She was only 19 years old at the time. In 1993, Gigi established a bad and had her first concert in Nairobi. Upon return, she joined the National Theater in Addis Ababa and met musician Fantahun Shewankochew and Weres Egziabeher. The trio was known for its traditional sounds composed by Kirar and Masinko. They have toured eastern and southern Africa as well as some European countries with their music.

In 1997, while performing at a World Music Festival in France their music impressed a record company Maison des Cultures du Monde. The company approached Gigi and her bandmates to record Ethiopian traditional love songs. The company released the record in France with the title ‘ÉTHIOPIE/Chants d Amour’. The same year, Gigi also released her album titled ‘Tsehay’ (the Sun).

In 1998, Gigi moved to the United States. She settled in California and started recording her first album with Dereje Mekonen. Gigi wrote all the ten songs in the album and performed with her sensual voice. The album titled One Ethiopia brought Gigi to the limelight, recognized and loved by many Ethiopians. The strength and the message of the lyrics and the originality, as well as the cultural appropriateness of the melody, singled out Gigi as one of the best creative musicians in the industry. The album draws the attention of Chris Blackwell of Palm Pictures, which led her to meet the renowned musician Bill Laswell.

Bill invited an impressive group of master musicians to record an album, which is now known as ‘Gigi’ and Guramyale (mixed). In 2001, the album was critically acclaimed and became the highlight of Gigi’s music career. The album was a fusion of Africa, Asia, jazz, and funk sounds. It is still considered a masterpiece of Ethiopian/African music.

Gigi also released Illuminated Audio, 2003 (Laswell’s remix of the 2001 album “Gigi”) Abyssinia Infinite: Zion Roots, 2003, Gold & Wax, 2006, Mesgana Ethiopia, 2010.

Gigi’s voice is in the Hollywood film Beyond Borders (2003), in which Angelina Jolie portrays an aid worker during the 1984 – 1985 famine in Ethiopia.

Personal life

Gigi was married to her long-time mentor and musician Bill Laswell, and they have a son together. They are currently separated. Gigi lives in California, United States.


7 thoughts on “Ejegayehu Shibabaw (Gigi)

  1. Marriage out of your Culture is painful.
    Gigi is Ethiopian tradition lover who loves
    her People , tradition , and Every part of
    our Country’s Cultural and Community

    She is beautiful and genius.

    Her Marriageto another foreigner who knows the Culture and Value means Money, Sex , Alcohol , drug Smoking and with no vision apart from what is infront of him for
    his personal satisfaction and no respect
    to such highly Cultured Ethiopian genius
    with proud & lovely upbringing is a disastor
    and make angry and that has consumed her

    Women are like Chdren and who knows her
    American husband might taught her drug
    Smoking and alcohol Consumption.

    Some American husbands are Polygamy and
    that brings reproductive and
    Oropharyngeal Cancer due to their out of
    natural way sex practice.

    Generally I guess that Gigi is suffering from
    Cancer of some type just by looking at her
    history and life pathways.

    I pray to Almighty God who has the power of
    healing any disease and resurecting the dead again to life.

    Prayers , family and friends love , Ethiopian Organic food and care will be her again.

    I commend our honest steadfast helper
    Brother Tamagn Beyene to launch the
    “Go Fund Me account” and all of us must
    Contribute where Tamagn go and hand over
    the Money and Assess her status for better
    recommendation on how to help her further.

  2. Her genius and beauty is still there. Because she married a foreign person doesn’t mean she forgot her culture or where she came from. Women are not like children and it is not up to you to decide what was good for her life. You are a very judgmental and ignorant person.
    women don’t need men or anyone else to decide what is good for them.
    We can make our own decisions.

  3. Ejigayehu is not only the daughter of Shibabaw and her mother but also the beloved kid and sister of all Ethiopians.Ifshe is in any kind of problem,something must be done as quickly as possible before something happens to her.Otherwise,if we don’t help her as soon as possible,we will loose her and it will be a great loss to all Ethiopians.Tamagne,you the generous,please do something your sister Ejigayehu.This is Genet Balcha from Dallas.

  4. I am sorry to say Women are like Children. Women
    are the most brilliant in all aspects among all
    human being on Earth.

    Women are by far the best surpassing men in
    Education, intelligence, family leadership, Military
    and so on…..

    Ejigayehu Shibabaw has wealthy family who can
    do all she needs.

    Dr.Wodajene & his x – wife who will remarry him
    again are there for her if she needs further Counselling.

    She is very healthy and Ethiopians may Celebrate
    Ejigayehu’s visit to her Motherland.

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