On a recent trip to Ethiopia, Mango Films had the chance to film a few Random Acts for Channel 4. Producer Christopher Pencakowski and director Henrique Goldman are both great fans of Samuel Yirga’s music and they where delighted to be able to collaborate with him on this episode.
The idea was simple. Get a piano in the middle of the busiest street in Addis Ababa and invite Samuel to play a spontaneous performance for the city.
On the first attempt the team faced a city-wide power cut and by the time a new location was found near a generator the beautiful evening light had faded.
Two days later they were ready to try again. Of all places the local bank agreed to hook up some power for the piano and speakers - such is the way thing go in swinging Addis. Finally, just after 3pm, with kids let out from school and the afternoon sun shining bright, Samuel began to play.
“This never happens in Addis” says Samuel, who has done similar spontaneous performances in London and elsewhere but never in his native Addis. “This is much different from an audience in an auditorium or club and I think it’s a bit scary, but when I get into the music I don’t think it will be”.
The crowd that grew around Samuel’s piano where totally mesmerized and delighted by his playing. People leaned out of bus windows and street vendors took time out of their day to take in the moment. It was a wonderful treat.
Samuel performed Ambassel In Box Revisited. The short film will air next Tues night/Weds morning at 00:05 (BST) on Channel 4.