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Famed Ethiopia musician, activists slam govt over cancelled album launch – AN

(05-09-2017) Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban  AN—  Ethiopia’s biggest music export, Teddy Afro, has slammed the government for his inability to hold an album launch at an Addis Ababa hotel.


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In this photo taken Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Teddy Afro, the controversial singer whose album “Ethiopia” is topping the Billboard world chart, poses for a portrait during an interview at his home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Known for the political statements he makes in his music, an infectious mix of reggae and Ethiopian pop, Afro, 40, whose birth name is Tewodros Kassahun, told The Associated Press that raising political issues should not be a sin. (Mulugeta Ayene/Associated Press)

His management have also confirmed the cancellation of a concert scheduled to coincide with the Ethiopian New Year which falls on September 11.

The artiste, full name – Tewodros Kassahun, described as ‘ridiculous’ a demand by Federal police that he produced a permit for the album launch. The police stopped his team from setting up for the event.

It should be condemned by all as this is smothering freedom of expression and an attack on art no matter who the target is. But remember this is nothing new.

The U.S.-based musician is no stranger to clashes with the government. He has previously had run-ins with the government leading to the banning of his tracks in 2005, four years after his career took off.

He was jailed three years later for a hit-and-run incident – he described the trial as politically motivated. He enjoys cult status in the country with bars, public transport and homes playing his tracks.

A number of activists have waded into the issue and accused the authorities of gagging the artiste and by so doing smothering freedom of expression.

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Afro, had in June 2017 said he wanted to use the album titled ‘Ethiopia’ to beat down the political temperature in the country. The main track of the 15-track album is called – Ethiopia – is sung in Amharic – the dominant language used in the East African country.

The track was published on video sharing website Youtube on April 14, 2017 between then and now (September 4), it has been viewed over 7.9 million times. The track marked Teddy’s global breakthrough and his fifth album since he started off 16 years back.

The 6 minutes 37 seconds track recorded instant success when it shot to the top the Billboard World Albums chart, a feat the musician celebrated on his Facebook page. He told the BBC that the current track has exceeded his expectations. It is said to have sold over 500,000 copies since release.

‘‘It gives me great joy, there hasn’t been an album that has been this well received to my knowledge. All of my music is based on love, like Martin Luther King said, hate is defeated with love, darkness with light,’‘ he said.


  1. Love a country and a nation is against what Wayane/TPLF stood fore.Teddy talks and sings about love and respect for one another as people and a country.Wayane wants Ethiopia that has no peace among it’s ethnics specially the Oromos and the Amharas for it’s longevity.Yes Teddy and those who talk about united Ethiopia scare the hell out of un self confident Wayane/TPLF.Their survival is hinged upon our disunity.We all need to wake up since our existence is hinged to our unity and if not we will be done as a country.

  2. Hate preaching and hate songs can not substitute for uniting love songs.

    The Nefetegna tribalist singers/Azemare trying to get away with “hate songs” against Oromos history and oromos in general, but what will happen if Oromos rise up declare war against shows amharas is OLF did in the late 1990’s ? ?

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