21 Days: From Baaba Maal at Womad to Marcus Samuelsson at Ginny’s in NYC.

This blog covers the 21 days which follow 24th July. It’s 301 days since my installation as Chancellor at University of Manchester.  We  begin this blog with the  second night at the proms. In the photo is seasoned  presenter Naomi Wilkinson and myself.
then an interview with britain’s foremost performance poetry organisation  Apples and Snakes at Freeword Centre on 27th July
Lunch on 28th with literary agent Clare Conville  of Conville and Walsh in Soho  where finally I sign the contracts for my new book Gold from The Stone.
on 30th July I perform at WOMAD. it’s a beautiful event. Poetry beneath the poet tree.
Then backstage  I met Baaba Maal. This picture is taken by Suzette Newman.
And then the genius  inviteD me on stage to read Let There Be Peace which features on his latest album Traveller.
13876551_298434223842637_3581752287713343183_n On August 2nd I went to the West End to see  SHOWBOAT  with the artistic director of he Place  Kenneth Tharp.  Showboat is a brilliant piece of work featuring Paul Robeson’s Old man River.  It’s beautiful. To me it is all about family.
On August 4th I travel to Notting Hill Gate to drop in to my publishers to see my book for the first time  I’m over the moon. It’s the first time a book has felt like the first book since the first book.  Only a writer will know how profound that first book feeling is and how difficult it is to get that feeling back.  Well it is back.
The day after on August 5th I fly to Washington DC and land on 6th. That evening my beautiful Godmother welcomed me with a celebratory meal among friends in Potomac. My books are being sent by Fedex in the hope they arrive for my reading tomorrow. (Photo by Matt Andrea)
HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie came to the meal with his wife. I am honoured. (Photo by Matt Andrea)
This is my Godmother Ethiopia Alfred. The picture was taken at her home in Potomac.
The next day on  7th I am interviewed by Gera Deregework for Diaspora TV in one of my Godmothers rooms.
And then I’m on stage at a synagogue. It’s a beautiful reading (Photo by Marta Ali)
But I think this picture  says it all.  It tells me everything about love and poetry. (Photo by Matt Andrea)
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The books haven’t arrived so  the poster signing  afterwards takes their place. Sophia Alfred and Tutu Alfred to my left.
My events span all the generations. Poetry above all,   has the ability to do this.(Photo by Matt Andrea)
And this is the MC for the event. Her name is  Nunu Wako. The kiss is a tradition now.(Photo by Matt Andrea)
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And this is Grammy nominated singer Wayna Wondwossen who performed her songs.   She has three albums to her name and also sings with Stevie Wonder. She is Ethiopian American and the great woman on her left with her is  Kiddy. They are beautiful people.(Photo by Matt Andrea)
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After the event we ate at meaza restaurant in Virginia  This is Annett Johnson  who went to school with my mother in Ethiopia and remained close friends up until around the  time I was born.(Photo by Matt Andrea)
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and below is the Princess Adeye Emeru and the ambassador to Germany on Haile Selassies time  meru zeleke   He is 90 years of age,  Dr Abebe haregewoin  and I am honoured they came to my event.  (Photo by Matt Andrea)
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and this is Yohannes Zeleke and Zenash Shukro outside the restaurant.(Photo by Matt Andrea)
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On 9th August we travel to New York and stay at the New York Palace Lotte Hotel. It’s where Obama stayed.  This is the view of midtown from my room. The church is where the Kennedys were married.
Later on in Harlem I performed with Wayna Wondwossen at Ginny’s Supper Club which is downstairs below Red Rooster run by star chef Marcus Samuelsson. I appreciate that he passed by to say hello. I know he was working at his other restaurant & has a newborn.
And then it was time to read on stage after Wayna Wondwossen.
It was a great gig.  My books have arrived too. They sold out in 15 minutes. Most memorable is  this boy who was working in the Red Rooster kitchen. He overheard my reading and rushed out to buy a book. When the kitchen staff love what you did then you know it was good. It’s all about the kitchen.
Ginny’s Supper club was the first signing of my book on 9th August. It  predates the book launch at The Edinburgh Book Festival on 21st August.                   IMG_9753
Thankyou Marcus Samuelsson and Tadias for an incredible event. The man on my left is Girmachew Azbte. I  thank him for The New York Palace. And while I am at it I think both Ethiopia Alfred and Kiddy.
The next day we all eat at The Queen of Sheba restaurant. It is  the oldest Ethiopian restaurant in NY.
And the day afterwards  my Godmother takes me to Delaware for a detox day of relaxation 13912378_676781659136728_6446468207191030852_n
This is a picture of beautiful  Wayna Wondwossen outside Red Rooster in Harlem.
All this activity in America has been made possible by my Godmother Ethiopia Alfred . She supports me with love kindness, laughter and warmth.   This is my book on the reception desk at The New York Palace. I am hoping to be back in the States in the last week of  November. If you are interested in US Bookings while I’m there then please write nicky@dontpanicprojects.com

5 thoughts on “21 Days: From Baaba Maal at Womad to Marcus Samuelsson at Ginny’s in NYC.

  1. Dear Lemn,
    Once more, I am so delighted I was able to participate with you and your extended “family” in Washington DC. You have made us all part of your family by reminding us of that young boy who just wanted to be loved, accepted and heard!
    As I reconnected with all the Ethiopians at these events and found out how many of us shared mutual friends from my own childhood I also felt healed from some of the loneliness that time and distance has imposed on me.
    A child’s message is always true. “Love me and respect me and tell me the truth and I will become the future. When you hurt me sometimes I survive and sometimes I don’t.”
    So thrilled you survived, and share it with us so well.
    Hugs and all the best every day forward

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