Afripedia Debuts 360° VR Music Video

The Swedish Embassy in Kigali and the Swedish Institute recently hosted a two-day program, Sweden@Rwanda, in which Swedish and Rwandan creatives came together to discuss the cultural and creative industries within both countries. NEW INC members Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe, the creative duo behind Afripedia, traveled to Kigali to participate. Goitom and Berhe created Afripedia first as a five-part documentary series, and have now set their ambitions on developing a platform and visual guide that will give Western Audiences access to the incredible art and contemporary culture being produced by African creatives worldwide.

Through highlighting the creativity coming out of the African continent, Goitom and Berhe hope to change popular narratives, perspectives and assumptions about contemporary Africa. At Sweden@Rwanda, Afripedia debuted their latest project, a 360° VR music video featuring the Ethiopian folk band Ethiocolor. Goitom and Berhe took a moment to speak with the NEW INC team about the making of the music video.

What was the inspiration behind Ethiocolor 360°?

We wanted to showcase the traditional folklore band Ethiocolor in a new way. They are a great live act and the 360° VR experience let us really capture their stage presence and create a unique music video.  

What was the process for making this?  What resources did you use? And were these informed by the locale you were shooting in?

We shot this on the roof of the National Theatre in the heart of Addis Ababa. This was more of an experiment for us, since this was our first time creating a 360° VR experience. We had to do some research and preparation. We only had one Go-Pro camera on set, which made the shoot a little more time consuming. We ended up with seven separate takes that we later stitched together for the Ethiocolor 360° VR experience.

Why did you decide to make the video 360? Was it something that felt important for the nature of the work?

360° music videos is not yet a common format around the world. We wanted to put Ethiopia on the map as a frontrunner in VR experiences. This was the first 360° music video out of Africa.  This type of music video lets the audience experience Ethiocolor as if they are in Addis Ababa themselves. By using this new technology, we hope to introduce a wider audience to Ethiocolor.

How did you come to work with these artists? What inspired you about their work?

Ethiocolor is an Addis Ababa-based folklore group consisting of musicians spanning three generations. The group is recognized for their vibrant live shows where traditional instruments are arranged in contemporary style along with the rhythmic dance Ekista. Through their pioneering sound, which combines modern and urban influences, Ethiocolor is a valuable documentation of Ethiopian culture.