The New Year with Ethiopian icon Teddy,

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The New Year with Ethiopian icon Teddy,

Postby enkuye » Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:09 am

አቤት የልብ አውቃ ማለት ይሄ ነው, መቼም ጰሀፊው ትክክል አድርጎ ነው ያስቀመጠው, በዝግጅቱ ላይ የነበርን ስዎች ሁሉ የተሰማንን ቅልብጭ አድርጎ, ሀበሻ ሲተርት እጄ ይቆረጥ አለ, እውነቱን ነው.


Commentary

The New Year with Ethiopian icon Teddy Afro
By Fekade Shewakena
January 5, 2006


I was one of the few people who attended Teddy Afro’s show on New Year's Day in Washington, DC. Lack of space had sent many people back home. I hope those who missed Teddy would have a chance to see him again. I have heard there were people who cried because they were turned back. The organizing and marketing of the show has had serious problems. Some say there were fishy deal breakings and sabotages behind it. I don't know. Teddy's shows deserve to be organized in bigger convention centers and arenas next time around.
But in any case, the show must go on, it went on and went on so beautifully. It was a show unlike any other at least for me and I believe many Ethiopians who were there. There was a Teddy fever all around. I have rarely seen such a loved Ethiopian musical icon as Teddy. And you don't need anybody to explain to you why so many love him so much. A young Ethiopian I once talked to said, God has given us Teddy to give us a soundtrack for our struggle and dream of changing Ethiopia for the better. His songs of love and unity and dream resonate with me more than the sermons of the godliest priest, he said. The young man has a point. I was once told, and I think I also read it on reports, that young prisoners who were being ferried on huge trucks to their suffering in concentration camps by the TPLF government were singing Teddy's songs. I was also told demonstrators in Addis Ababa were also singing Yasteseryal.

Many see Teddy as a talented musician which he is. I for one see more than a musician in Teddy. I see a genius, a visionary artist with a sense of purpose, an icon living way beyond his age. In Teddy, I see a young man with great idealism and a dream for his people and country. I see something Teddy does that no intellectual or politician can do. It is a god given unique power that few people are endowed with. I have seen the energy live on this show.

Teddy came out on the stage to a sound of earth shaking Ethiopian beat, a thunderous roar and scream of welcome from the audience that waited so eagerly to see him. Young men and women, the vast majority of the audience, who have come to the occasion armed with our beautiful tricolor, were waving it in amazing frenzy. Frankly, you can't stand there and not be emotional. I have seen an older man who was jumping up and down like a little kid. And there were the V-fingers everywhere raised to greet Teddy, which makes you wonder whether kinijit has really become the spirit that CUD’s vice president Bertukan Mideksa, another icon of our freedom, now a prisoner of conscience, has once said. Teddy's voice of love soon started to overflow his audience's hearts and began to fill the huge ballroom. You can see the energy in the ecstatic reactions of the audience. Each time Ethiopia's name comes out from Teddy mouth the crowd goes crazy, I saw some cry. When he calls out the name Ethiopia, it carries a different meaning to me, I feel like my heart is exploding with my country's love, said one audience standing besides me.

Ironically, earlier in the day before the start of Teddy's show, the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Ato Syoum Mesfin was talking on a radio station mostly badmouthing the Ethiopian Diaspora for the predicament his TPLF government has gotten into by disappointing its donors. At one point, he shamelessly accused the Ethiopian Diaspora as people who don't care if their country is burnt to the ground’. Syoum was obviously mad that the donors that his corrupt government has been successfully fooling for so long have now seen his ugly fascist face and refused to fill his bottomless pocket. Ato Soyoum, by the way, has a son who was penniless 14 years ago but now owns a fleet of Scania trucks in Ethiopia that crush any competitor in the business. May be his business is affected by the donors refusal to withheld the aid. The Ethiopian Diaspora has never asked donors to withheld humanitarian aid. I only wish this obnoxious human being had a chance to be there in the middle of a huge Diaspora and see the kind of love the Ethiopian Diaspora has for their people and country.

That is for another show but let me go back to Teddy for now. At one point during the show it seemed that everyone in the room was flying like birds along with Teddy's swings. Listening to Shemendefer on CD is one thing, but watching Teddy sing it live was another. Teddy knows how to sing Shemendefer before he starts the song. Christians here! Teddy said, to a thunderous Yaaaa. Moslems here! He said again, to another thunderous Yaaaaa. And then you know the lyrics. And then you see Christians and Moslem dancing to the same music like the children of the same mother that they are, holding each others necks. I wish all religious begot come there and take a lesson in love that transcend religion, including Meles Zenawi who thinks pitting Moslems against Christians it is another card to be used for the extension of his lawless regime. The Metaphor of the Annuar Mosque and the St. Raguel Church at Merkato separated by a fence and the prayers from inside both compounds reaching the same destination is something only a creative artist could see. It was just beautiful.

Who else except the evil who want to live at our expenses and see us kill one another can hate Teddy! How can you not love such a human being, a preacher of love humanity and unity? Did I hear that the Ethiopian government has banned some of these songs from government radio?

The Dahlak song is an illustration of Teddy’s genius to me. It is the work of a courageous young artist who defied conventional wisdom. Teddy wrote this song at a time when it is least popular to engage in such talks as keeping hope alive for coming generations and a possibility that the brotherly people of Eritrea and Ethiopia my come to realize that their destiny is as inseparable as their geography. And Teddy knows how to sing this one too. He said Eritreans here! Yaaaa. Ethiopians here! Yaaaa. Abesha here! A thunderous Yaaaaaaaa. And he reminded us that we are one people indivisible by humanly forces.

There was one other striking thing I saw. Throughout the five or so hours of show, there was something stuck in Teddy’s hand. It was our beautiful flag. He holds it to his heart, raises it to the sky and waves it at the crowd who wave theirs back to him. I now have began to understand why we are having more and more flag and freedom loving youth in my country. I have always feared that our symbolisms, be it legendary, mythological or otherwise would vanish in a few years because of the relentless attack by people who want to do something out of nothing. I was afraid of the inward looking ethnicism and tribalism, regionalism or call it any name you want. Thanks Teddy. You have gotten the secrets of nation building. I learnt the secrets after I became much older than you. All advanced societies use their myth as force to help them build their countries images and strength. Thank you for singing about Hailesilassie. You are courageous and wise enough to see and praise his positive contributions. My generation has done that crime of rolling him in all in his negatives and throwing him away as if he was not the man who cried in happiness the day he opened a school in Addis Ababa. Thank you for seeing what others cannot see because of their blind hate.

It was way past midnight and nobody, including myself never had enough of Teddy. But it had to end. Someone on my way home waved and stopped me and asked me how to get to Interstate 270 to go back to Columbus, Ohio – I gave him my map. It was love night and I could have given him my jacket if he needs it. Thanks bro my Ohioan brother said and left flying like a bird in front of me. I packed my car with family and friends who were telling me that they did not have enough of Teddy. I put Teddy’s CD Yasterserial in the player, filled the car with Shemendefeer and began driving to my home, my home very far away from home.

Twado yalebet eslam christianu,
Mhonu Tefashwoy Ethiopia mehonu

Shemedefeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer

God Bless you Teddy for bringing the best in us. Thank you for taking care of what many of us could not do. As far as I am concerned, you are my da Vinci, my Mozart, my Beethoven and the many others whose arts shine light on society’s darkness.

Thank you much for filling the gap.
enkuye
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Postby እንቁየ » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:04 pm

በጣምምምምምምምምምምምም
እኛም አርብ ምሽት እድሉ ገጥሞን ተቆንጆ ምሽት አሳለፍን ግን .......
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Postby ባቲ » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:33 pm

enkuye,
Great commentary!!!!!!!!!!
I love your spirit.
thx.
SaQ _Be _SaQ.....That's what I wish 4 all of Us
ስምየ ውዕቱ ክንዴ ባቲ
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Postby ትትና » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:42 am

በእውነት የጻፍከውም ሰው የለጠፍከውም ሰው ተባረኩ!!! ከምር ፍቅርን የመሰለ ምን አለ???????????????????????
የቴዲን እድሜ ያርዝምልን!! አሜን!
ትትና
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Postby ላህ » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:13 am

ለእንቁየ
ስለዝግጅቱ ባለማየቴ በጣም ቆጭቶኛል ያላየሁት እድሉ ስላልገጠመኝ ነው ግን እዚህ ጋ አምጥተህ የለጠፍሀት መጣጥፍ የዕውነቴን ነው የምልህ ጸሀፊው ቁልጭ አድርጎ ስዕሉን በአዕምሮየ ቀርጾት አልፏል ጸሀፊው ቃላት አመራረጡ ባጠቃላይ አገላለጹ ጥበብ የተሞላበት ስለሆነ ለጻፈው ሰው በጣም በጣም ማመስገን ዕወዳለሁ ምናልባትም የትውልድን ስህተት ያካተተ ስለሆነ ከአርትነቱ አልፎ ምን ያህል ከስህተታችን መታረም እንደሚገባንም የጠቆመ በመሆኑ ጸሀፊውን ከመጠን በላይ ሳመሰግነው አንተን ወንድሜን ያስነበብኽኝንም ምስጋናው እንዳካፋልህ በማመን ነው::
ቸር ይግጠመን
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