I’m 25 years old. I was born in Eritrea but I was raised in Ethiopia. My parents died, so I was raised by my Auntie.

My Auntie’s son was a DJ, so there was always music on our household. That’s what inspired me. I loved Eritrean and Ethiopian music.

When I became a DJ it was exciting performing with big African and European artists, there were many highlights. Playing to a big crowd, I would feel a mixture of excitement and nerves. I loved thinking that I could give people pleasure and enjoyment by listening to my music. I would focus on that while I was playing.

One highlight of my career was playing a huge venue in the downtown area of Ethiopia called Meskel Square, supporting Teddy Afro, one of Ethiopia’s most famous and influential singers. I performed in front of more than 60,000 people that night.

I supported other big stars like Rihanna, Drake and Major Lazer. I didn’t have very much direct contact with Rihanna though!

My journey to Northern Ireland took me from Ethiopia to Sudan, then to Turkey, then Greece, Romania, Germany and France before arriving in Belfast. I have been in Belfast about a year now. Migrant Help’s Belfast team contacted me, and they have been supporting me since I arrived.

Recently they gave me a new laptop [generously donated by SocialBox.Biz] which will be much better for my performance when I am DJing. I am starting to DJ in Belfast and loving getting back into it. I played with DJ Michael Krest – one of Belfast’s leading DJs – at Fountain Lane in May, and two of my friends from Migrant Help came and danced along too!

For the future, I want to get training, and study on a course to improve my DJing. I came from Eritrea where we have a different culture, but I am experiencing new things here in Northern Ireland, and starting to understand this new culture.

Orla Gardiner, from Migrant Help’s VSSS team in Belfast, says:

"Last weekend myself and Janice from the VSSS team in Belfast attended Fountain Lane in the heart of Belfast to witness one of our lovely service users on the decks with one of the leading DJs in Belfast, DJ Michael Krest.  Yordanos’ set included a mix of RNB, Hip Hop, Afro-Beats, including interludes of popular Eritrean music which was gorgeous and very well received. The dancefloor was alight the whole evening!  A number of the gentlemen in hotel accommodation came down to support their friend and myself and Janice remarked on how lovely it was to witness the young lads enjoy normal ‘life’. 

When Yordanos came to our office last year to our offices, he presented as a humble, quiet young man.  As part of our service we always try to get to know the full person - their life before arriving in Northern Ireland, their skills, their interests, their hopes for the future. I’ll never forget when Janice peered around the corner of my office to introduce me to her new gentleman.  Yordanos told us that in years gone by he had played support to some of the big names on the music scene like Rihanna and Drake in Addis Ababa, and had also played in some of the clubs in Greece: talk about being mind-blown! A phone call was made to a well-established individual in the music/entertainment business in Belfast, a meeting set up and the rest, as they say is history!  Our contact, a Mr Lindsay Dube has taken Yordanos under his wing, has mentored him alongside DJ Krest and given him a platform to perform at various festivals, etc this year.   He informs me that he is very pleased with Yordanos’ progress.   With the kind assistance of one of our corporate partners, he has been able to use equipment to help him in this journey, and for this we and Yordanos are very grateful.

We are so excited to see what the next chapter brings."