A noted blogger was once asked to describe music by a certain Ethiopian musician after hearing it for the first time. He explained his first reaction as feeling as if he [had] died and returned from the dead. He said it took him on a journey of "deep bass, some jazz/rock funk mixed with Ethiopian melody (tizita) from a distance future."
This is a wonderful compliment for music that has yet to be discovered by the rest of world. The fact is that Ethiopian music has been undiscovered partly because Ethiopia was never a colony of the outside world. While there have been superstar Ethiopian artists such as Mohamud Ahmed and Aster Aweke, their success remained within Ethiopia and did not translate onto the international market.
The young and gifted Ethiopian artist Tewodrose Kassahun (a.k.a. Teddy Afro) might just be the one who can help introduce Ethiopian music to the world. His latest CD, which is entitled Tikur Sew (Black person), is perhaps the most anticipated, controversial and scrutinized album in Ethiopian music history. In just one week, it sold well over a million copies and took Ethiopian social media by storm.
The CD has 11 tracks and includes songs arranged by the Ethiopian Japanese producer, Abegaz Kibrework Shiwota as well as the artist himself. Teddy Afro's music is an anthem of many causes and among them is black power, African pride, love, country, and relationships are some of the themes. In the title track -- Tikur Sew -- he pays homage to an Ethiopian famous Battle of Adwa and its hero Emperor Menelik II in Amharic as well as in Oromiffa.
Des Yemel Sekay (Happy misery) is a wonderful dance hall track with impressive lyrics. In Africaye (My Africa), Afro offers a wonderful tribute to the continent of Africa, while in Hail (Power) he mixes powerful words of his own with those from the late playwright laureate, Tsegaye Gebremedhin's great poem Feran coupled with beautiful Ethiopian Orthodox church hymns.
This album is expected to cement itself not only in the heart of fans, but also in the history of the Ethiopian musical journey. Similar to African music that is now known all over the world -- Mariam Mekebe and Lucky Dube of South Africa and Youssou N'dour of Senegal, for example -- the music of Teddy Afro is on the verge of being discovered by an international market.
It was his second album, Abugida that made Teddy Afro a household name in Ethiopia. A collection of tributes to Ethiopian greats, such as long distance running champion Haile Gebreselassie and the late Emperor Haile Selassie, with an ultra-accessible mix of reggae, funk, and Amharic music, it was this second album that made him an instant star.
His sophomore album, Yasteryal, took him four years to produce. While it was enormously popular, his socially and politically conscious songs were highly controversial. Some of these songs were banned and never heard on the radio in Ethiopia.
Teddy Afro's youthful, and noble messages of social change in most of the songs (which included both love songs and dance songs with dance hall beat) resonate with fans, in particular young people. However, the music, persona and talent of Teddy Afro have been a wedge issue among Ethiopians. Either he is liked or despised. However, his latest effort deserves the attention it is getting, though most of the songs sound very similar to his older songs. It may not gain him new Ethiopian fans, but will solidify his devout fan base. As long as his song writing talent is concerned, he joins the elitist group of Ethiopian talented song writers such as musician Neway Debebe.
Tikur Sew consists of many excellent songs by anyone's standard. If his latest effort is any indication, Teddy Afro will indeed become a real international superstar, and be the one artist to bring Ethiopian music to the world.
Mc Mike & Yoni Yoye - Gonderigna(ጎንደሪኛ)
Helen Tilahun Gessesse memory of her father. Its really beautiful song indeed.
“Branawu yinebeb tezergto batronosu lay, yenefasiledes yenetewanay.” This is a verse which is taken from Tewodros Kasahun, a.k.a. Teddy Afro’s, new album Tikur Sew. The lyric is from the second track Sile Fikir.
In this verse he mentioned the legacies of King Fasiledes, who built the castle bearing his name, and this verse is a remembrance of a period (The Gondarian period).
The mystery name in this verse is Tewanay. Some people who heard this song have been asking what Tewanay is or who Tewanay is. Even some of them were confused why he compared him with King Fasiledes.
Tewanay is a big name in the ancient Ethiopian Likawunt history.
He is considered as a man who overcame death, who confronted the angel of death and who understood the universe’s mystery.
This giant man lived centuries back and according to literature it goes as far back as five hundred to six hundred years. The foundation for his knowledge was a place Deke Estifa around Gojam from invisible mythological creatures; men with the face of dogs (Getse Kelebat).
These mythological creatures who lived in Gojam area trace their story to one incident and man. Deke Estifa was a well read, educated, wise and knowledgeable man in the traditional context. While giving lessons of qine to the then king (Eskinder) he started having sexual relationship with the king’s wife. The king found out their relationship and he burned them alive. Luckily the man had an immense knowledge of witch craft and he escaped from the fire.
The then azmaris knew they survived and the king heard this news and he sent his soldiers after them. Eventually, the king’s wife revealed herself and told them how she is was captivated by his heart and knowledge and they were cursed to be dogs.
So the curse passed from generation to generation where they took that feature. These people were highly sophisticated in many things and he learned the knowledge of these people. This man, who is renowned not only with his poetry (qine) but was also mentioned as a man who died on his free will and this was the man what was remembered by Teddy Afro after generations.
As one poet, Zedingil Lemma, said his lyrics, poetry should be read between the lines. There are only a few singers who are adored, loved and scrutinized like Teddy Afro. He is seen as a revolutionary artist, freedom-fighter for many of his fans. With his latest albums he was able to win many people’s heart.
It has been seven years since the release of Teddy Afro’s last album and it was highly anticipated and many people were waiting for his album with anticipation. Some of them were predicting how the album will turn out with the release of a couple of singles.
Finally this album was released last Saturday. Walking around Piazza and Cazanchis the feeling seems infectious where the whole town was listening to the music of one man—Teddy Afro.
Many people were seen waiting queuing up to buy his album. It was even sold on the street more than the actual price. It is not only the music shops which were playing his music, the shoes stores, taxis were playing his music. Especially the drivers have been hooked with his song; what is better than taxis to hear music?
The different social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, have been busy with Teddy Afro’s comments of his fans. With this album, a mixed feeling is going on among the urban dwellers of Addis. And in some of the comments there seems to be a little bit of disappointment.
Around Axum Hotel Hailu Ayenewu, a taxi driver in his mid 30’s, is sitting in the hope for someone to come, and with the heavy rain that is raining his hope has been slightly shattered.
Sitting silently in his car he is listening to track number five; Bashaw. And within just a few days he seems to know most of the lyrics.
I guess the lyric copy inside the cover helped him to memorize the songs. When passengers get into his car he turns up the volume a little bit to share this love with his passengers.
It is visible that he is Teddy Afro’s fan where the pictures of Teddy are posted even on the dashboard with alongside the late Tilahun Gessese. Even if he is a deeply-rooted fan he did not hide how he is disappointed by the album.
“I cannot explain what I was expecting but I did not expect this, the songs are full of noises where you cannot even here the lyrics,” Hailu tells The Reporter.
After saying that he felt sad and says: “It is Teddy and he knows our heart-beat; however, some of the songs are not that good.”
From all the songs he likes the fourth track and, according to him, the song is connected to his personal story even if he does not want to reveal the story.
For Zedingil this album is one of the finest albums he heard in years especially the mention of Adwa, which according to him is way of reviving patriotism and the legacy.
“The young generation is forgetting the history and the legacy of Adwa. So in this album, he tried to revive that,” Zedingil told The Reporter.
Some of the verses are amazing for Zedingil like ‘Giorgis feresu komo sai’ which actually tells the Ethiopian version of the story how Saint Giorgis, saint part of the Adwa victory.
The song also includes Oromiffa lyrics in the album which a meaning to Zedingil. According to him most of the battles that are held before Adwa like Sehati, Dogali, Metema in which participated northerners (from the north) and Adwa brought all Ethiopians together and the two leading warriors Dejazmach Balcha, a.k.a. Balcha Aba Nefso, and Fitawrari Habte Giorgis Dinegde, a.k.a. Aba Mella, were Oromos.
“It is like he is talking to the spirits of those warriors,” Zedingil explains.
For Zedingil his second track, Sile Fikir is lyrically amazing. The words he used atronosu, a geez word for a place where books are kept while reading. The other term arganon traces back to the praising of ancient Ethiopian writings for Saint Mary by Aba Giorgis the Gascha.
In this track again there is a verse “Afer yizo wustu arenguade lemin yihon yerabewu hode” is a representation of how today’s Ethiopia is resource and knowledge wise.
“He says yemetanbet tarik restenal (we forgot what our history is) he used to explain this generation and he tells to claim our history,” Zedingil states.
According to Zedingil, including the name of Ishmael (Ismael) and Yishak in the same sentence who are considered to be the fathers of Israel and the Arab world are descended from the same father but have been in a series conflict for many years.
From all the things his usage of word was what captivated him and according to him with only one word he tells stories of generations.
“It is like he is trying to connect the past, present, future to create a futuristic world,” Zedingil says.
For Zedingil in this album by making ancient Ethiopia the centre the song Africaye tells how Ethiopia is the cradle of human kind and also says something about Abay River.
It is not only lyrically that the songs are gaining acceptance. The music composition, according to Zedingil, is also focused on ancient Ethiopia. In the first song he included negarit (which was used during wars), musho (for funerals) and in one of the song “hail, the 7th track he included the Orthodox Church melodies. And he says melodically he has a touch of Wollo with Bahiru Kagne’s singing style.
With this album there are some who question why Teddy has drifted from his focus on political ideas to ordinary ideas. But for Hareg Workineh, a boutique owner around Kazanchis, his latest albums also mentions concepts about Eritrea and Ethiopia and tried to explain it metaphorically with elephants’ fight.
And also how there is no government change in Ethiopia and most of the songs focused on real issues but this album is about more about a woman’s love.
“He is not like other artists: he is Teddy. I did not expect this from the album. There are many problems in this country and he has to raise those issues,” Hareg says.
Her favorite song from this album is Tikur Sew because he mentioned Emperor Menilik which, according to her, is related to his past status. This album is dedicated to Emperor Menilik, the late Tilahun Gessese and Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedhin.
It is not only Hareg who did not find the album as she expected it. Maereg Negash (not his real name), has raised some point regarding this album.
Maereg does not question his lyrical talents but he thinks that the arrangement of the music is not well done as he expected Teddy to be the standard setter. According to him, most of the songs are done in a one-man band by using a synthesizer which made the songs sound the same.
“Having all that recognition and financial capacity, I don’t understand why Teddy focused only on the lyrics,” Maereg says.
According to Maereg, with the current trend the arrangement has been shifted to recording live and he is confused why Teddy chose to do that.
“A music to be categorized as good music has to be good lyrically, melody wise and arrangement but in this album the arrangement is not that good and even when listening to the melody it seem to be unbalanced,” Maereg comments.
With the mixed feelings going on around town the album has managed to become a hit in the music industry and, according to Adika, within less than a week he was able to sell hundred of thousands of copies.
Fitsum T Asebeshalehu new music
Teddy Afro - Tenanekegn Enba - AmharicLyrics
Teddy Afro - Africaye(አፍሪቃየ)
- በመጪው ቅዳሜ የሚለቀቀው የቴዎድሮስ ካሳሁን (ቴዲ አፍሮ) “ጥቁር ሰው” አልበም ማስተዋወቂያ የሆነው ‘ኦ አፍሪካ’ የተባለው የሞባይል ጥሪ ድምፅ (Ringtone) 100 ሺሕ ኮፒ ለተጠቃሚዎች ተሸጠ፡፡
በአዲካ ኮምዩኒኬሽንና ኢቨንትስ፣ በቤሌማ ኢንተርቴመንትና በ4 አፍሪ ትብብር ለአንድ ሚሊዮን የሞባይል ተጠቃሚዎች የአጭር የስልክ መልዕክት ተልኮ፣ እስካሁን የጥሪ ድምፁን 100 ሺሕ ሰዎች መግዛታቸውን ምንጮች ለሪፖርተር ገልጸዋል፡፡ ምንጮች አክለው እንደገለጹትም፣ በሚመጡት ቀናት ተጨማሪ ስድስት የቴዲ ዘፈኖች ለሞባይል የስልክ ጥሪ እንዲያገለግሉ ለ11 ሚሊዮን ተጠቃሚዎች በአጭር የስልክ መልዕክት ጥሪ ይተላለፋሉ፡፡
‘ኦ አፍሪካ’ የሚለው ዘፈን በአቡጊዳ ባንድ መቀናበሩ ታውቋል፡፡ በሞባይል ስልኩ ጥሪውን ለመጫን የሚፈልግ ማንም ሰው በአጭር የስልክ መልዕክቱ ጥሪ ሲቀርብለት ከተስማማ ሁለት ብር ይቆረጥበታል፡፡ ይህ የስልክ መጥርያ ማስታወቂያ (Ringtone Promotion) አዲስ የሆነ የማስተዋወቂያ ዘዴ መሆኑን የገለጸው አዲካ፣ ሌሎች ዘፈኖቹን በዚህ መንገድ እንደሚያስተዋውቅ ገልጿል፡፡ የቴዲ አፍሮ ዘፈን በዚህ የማስተዋወቅ ዘዴ ለሚሊዮኖች ተልኮ በሺዎች የሚቆጠሩት ሲገዙት ይህ ለመጀመርያ ጊዜ እንደሆነ ታውቋል፡፡
“በጥቀር ሰው” አልበም ውስጥ አሥራ አንድ ዘፈኖች የተካተቱ ሲሆን፣ ዘጠኝ ዘፈኖችን ያቀናበረው ወጣቱ ሙዚቀኛ ሚካኤል ኃይሉ ነው፡፡ የአልበሙ መጠርያ የሆነውን “ጥቁር ሰው” ያቀናበረው ታዋቂው አቀናባሪ አበጋዝ ክብረ ወርቅ ሺዎታ ነው፡፡
የአልበሙን ሙሉ ግጥምና ዜማ የደረሰው ራሱ ቴዲ አፍሮ ሲሆን፣ ለየት ባለ ሁኔታም የታዋቂው ገጣሚና የቴአትር ጸሐፊ የሟቹ ሎሬት ፀጋዬ ገብረ መድኅንም ድምፅ ተካቶበታል፡፡ “ኃይል” በሚለው ዘፈን ላይ ሎሬት ፀጋዬ ገብረ መድኅን “ፈራን” የሚል መጠርያ ያለውን ግጥሙን በማንበብ ተሳትፎበታል፡፡
አልበሙም ከፊታችን ቅዳሜ ጀምሮ ለአዲስ አበባና ለክልል አድማጮች በኤሌክትራ ሙዚቃ ቤትና በአምባሰል ሙዚቃ ቤት አማካይነት የሚሰራጭ ሲሆን፣ ለሰሜን ኢትዮጵያ አድማጮች ደግሞ በጣና ኢንተርቴይመንት በኩል ይሰራጫል፡፡
ይህን አልበም ፕሮዲዩስ ያደረገው፣ እያሰራጨና እያስተዋወቀ ያለው አዲካ ኮሙኒኬሽንና ኢቨንትስ ከቤሌማ ፕሮዳክሽን ጋር በመተባበር ሲሆን፣ ብቸኛ ስፖንሰሩም ሜታ ቢራ ነው፡፡
ቴዲ አፍሮ “ጥቁር ሰው” ለተባለው አልበሙ 4.6 ሚሊዮን ብር እንደተከፈለው ከውስጥ አዋቂ ምንጮች ቢገለጽም፣ አዲካ ግን የገንዘቡን መጠን ለመግለጽ ፈቃደኛ አልሆነም፡፡ ይህ ክፍያ በተለያዩ አካላት የተለያዩ መጠኖች ቢገለጽም፣ ትክክለኛውን ክፍያ ለማወቅ ፈጽሞ አልተቻለም፡፡
source: ethiopian reporter
Teddy Afro - Des Yemil Seqay(ደስ የሚል ስቃይ)