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Oromo Week Recap: Parties and the Miss Oromo Pageant

During the Oromo Week, night life becomes live and colorful. Often, Oromo singers from abroad come to town to entertain an audience who, in many cases, has never seen them perform live.

This year, Muktar Usman and Hirpha Ganfure’s dual performances were the highlight of the week’s concerts. Held at Kelly Inn, conveniently located less than a mile from the soccer field, the duo from Norway had two live concerts. While both were well attended and fun, the second one was packed to capacity for a slightly different reason: the Miss Oromo pageant.

Numerous Oromo artists, including the music legend Dr. Ali Birra, Saliha Sami, Habtamu Lamu, Lencho Abdishakur, and Abdi Nuresa were also in town entertaining their beloved fans. It is always difficult to choose which party to attend because some artists schedule two or three shows within a week time. To have all Oromo artists under one-roof will mean overcrowding and won’t allow each singer enough window to entertain her/his fans. But this is one area which needs more planning and working together to make the Oromo Week experience the more memorable and enjoyable. Some say, having an opening day block party or a big opener at soccer field – out in the open – would lift the profile of OSFNA and also attract more people.

The Miss Oromo pageant is an annual tradition organized by Mergitu Argo of Seattle. This year for the first time, the Oromo Artists Association had endorsed the pageant and gave awards to the winners. A total of four contestants competed for the title of Miss Oromo 2011. All exceptionally beautiful, the contestants were asked three questions: a demographic question, a question about what they wish to do if crowned Miss Oromo and a general knowledge question about Oromo history, Oromia’s geography, and culture.

The final round, between Seattle, Washington’s Biftu Abdullahi and Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Amane Kawo, was fun and entertaining. Biftu of Seattle captured the audience’s eyes and ears with her unique attitude and an account of a harrowing experience visiting Oromia last summer.

Amane Kawo’s mastery of Oromo history and culture gave her an edge. After repeated trial to decide a winner between the two, Amane answered the winning question about Siiqee, ending the final round. Amane Kawo, the President of Minnesota’s Oromia Youth Association (OYA), became Miss Oromo 2011. Congrats!

The Miss Oromo Pageant tradition began in 2003 the first time Oromo Festival was held in Seattle. It was colorfully repeated last year (also in Seattle) creating even more buzz leading to the selection of last year’s winner to participate in Miss Oromia Pageant to be held in Oromia.  The main focus of the pageant is a cultural celebration in the form of Oromo fashion show, invigorating music selections during the intermissions, poetry slams, and the Miss Oromo beauty contest.

A panel of three judges assess the participants’ ability to model in cultural outfits, demonstrate a thorough knowledge of Oromo history, and most importantly the ability to speak Afaan Oromo. Miss Ganame Bati of Minnesota was crowned the 2003 Miss Oromo. Ms. Idaho Oromo, Dureti Adama was the winner of 2010 Oromo pageant based on the crowds’ choice, by earning the most points answering the judges’ questions, and her ability to speak Afaan Oromo fluently.

Here is a Video of the Miss Oromo Pageant from HegereeMedia:


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