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  • The world loves Ethiopian pop star Teddy Afro. His own government doesn’t.

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Monday marked the first day of the new Ethiopian year, but it hasn't been much of a holiday for Teddy Afro, the country's biggest pop star.
     
    First, the government informed him that his New Year's concert was canceled. Then, on Sept. 3, police broke up the launch party for his successful new album, "Ethiopia," in the middle of the sound check at the Hilton Hotel, claiming Teddy hadn't received permission to hold the event.
     
    "Asking for a permission to organize an album launch is like asking a permit for a wedding or birthday party," Teddy wrote on his Facebook page. "This is unprecedented and has never been done before because it is unconstitutional."
     
    But government disapproval certainly isn't anything new for Teddy: This year was his third straight aborted New Year's concert. And even as "Ethiopia," which briefly hit No. 1 on Billboard's world music chart, could be purchased or heard on virtually every street corner in the capital, Addis Ababa, after its May release, Teddy's songs were nowhere to be found on state radio and TV. An interview with a public TV network was even canceled at the last minute, prompting the resignation of the journalist involved.
     
    At first glance, there seems to be nothing controversial about Teddy Afro, born Tewodros Kassahun, and his traditionally influenced pop songs about love, unity and the glory of Ethiopia. His tunes have earned him a rapturous audience both at home and among the vast Ethiopian diaspora.
     
    If anything, Teddy is quite the patriot. He's just the wrong kind of patriot.
     
    Teddy's music has increasingly focused on extended history lessons glorifying Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia, who was overthrown by a communist coup in 1974, as well as the great kings of the 19th century. The title track of his 2012 album, "Tikur Sew," for example, celebrated Emperor Menelik II and his defeat of Italian troops invading Ethiopia in 1896 — complete with a music video that was practically a war movie.

     

    Read More at https://www.washingtonpost.com 

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  • Ethiopia police halt Teddy Afro's event

    Authorities in Ethiopia have stopped singer Tewodros Kassahun, popularly known as Teddy Afro, from launching his much-acclaimed album, Ethiopia.

    On his Facebook Page, Teddy Afro says police asked him to have a permit for the launch that was to be held at a hotel in the capital, Addis Ababa, a demand he has termed as ridiculous.

    A BBC reporter, who was attending the launch, says federal police showed up at the hotel hours before the launch and prevented Teddy's sound team from setting up equipment for the gig.

    His manager told the BBC, that they are yet to get official reasons as to why the launch was cancelled.

    His concert scheduled for the eve of Ethiopian New Year, which falls on 11 September, has also been cancelled in unclear circumstances.

    Teddy's 15-track album has made history as the quickest selling album since its release in May this year and for weeks topped the Billboard World Albums chart.

    Source: http://www.bbc.com 

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  • GETATCHEW MEKURIA PASSED AWAY

    Getatchew passed away today. At the age of 81 and after a musical career of 68 years. He was a truely unique saxophone player. Born in the countryside of Ethiopia, he heard the saxophone on the radio at the age of 13 and went to Addis Abeba straight away. He wanted to play saxophone! And soon after that he got himself into the Municipality Band. Later he played in the Haile Selassie Orchestra’s, the National Theatre Orchestra and more.

    Since 2004 he played regularly with The Ex. It was his choice after hearing us at one of our festivals. He recognized something in our music which reminded him of the early groups he was in, like the Fetan Band (Speed Band). He loved playing with us and for us it was also an incredible experience. He was always totally himself, full-on intense and dedicated. We played more than 100 concerts and made two beautiful albums together.

    The last few years, his health was not very good. He couldn’t really go on tour anymore. As a kind of farewell concert for his fans, we organized a big event in the National Theatre in Addis Abeba. He got lots of attention and respect that night: 1500 people in the audience, three TV stations and a legendary concert. Getatchew was playing while sitting on a chair, but his playing was stronger than ever.

    His whole life was devoted to music. With his unique sound and approach he leaves behind an eternal inspiration!
     

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  • Ethiopia's Mulatu Astatke spreads jazz around the world

    Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke is gaining global recognition for his work.

    He is known as the godfather of Ethio Jazz - a term he coined when studying music in the United States.

    Our East Africa Correspondent, Will Ross, tracked him down in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

    Source : BBC

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