Ethiopia’s most revered singer feels the weight of the crown on his new album, albeit dozens of criticisms and controversies in progress as it was before.
Since Teddy Afro’s album has been put out just a week before, hope you still listen his music everywhere in Addis. Singer and song writer, Tewodros Kassahun, popularly known as Teddy Afro is the most revered musician, including his latest influential albeit controversial fifth studio album, “Ethiopia”.
The soundscape of Addis changed this week with taxis, private cars, video stores, bars and other establishments playing his music. Amazingly some of his new hits have been a big source of entertainment for wedding celebrations too.
Fans have opened their arms wide for Teddy Afro’s “Ethiopia” album with upbeat and positive vibes.
“Teddy is the special one for me, I cannot even stop listening his new music’s with my earphone everywhere I go, in a taxi, at my office, inside the café and at home,” one of the fans told this writer. The fan hailed the album as “Perfect!”
On Tuesday, last week, one of his fans showed his patience—waited for a long queue around a bus station, locally called Atobis Tera to buy the album for inflated price of 100 Birr. He did that because he believed that in case the first edition of the album would finished quickly, he had missed the album. The average price of CDs in previous times was 25 to 30 Birr.
Around Kazanchis, Bole, Mexico and 22 Mazoria, the going price for Teddy’s CD still ranges from 50 to 55 Birr. Last week, we have seen a tent installed around Mexico square while some public transport provider minibuses posed their day to day activity and sold the album on the release date.
Teddy’s album is also a good magnate of thriving business for some street and book vendors who temporarily shifted their business directly to distributing the CD. Following the release of the album adorned with a photo the singer, those youths are trying to lure residents, either pedestrians or otherwise into buying a copy.
Teddy Afro, Ethiopian pop star, has been a center of attention, both much-respected celebrity and controversial public figure for long, more specifically, after his some songs were “politics mingled with history” on “Yasteseriyal” album, which released in 2005.
We have been hearing mixed feelings of the people about the new album from many sides.
His fans in Addis are still louds the city atmosphere with what some they said a “political critic” song—Tewodros II, which dedicated to
Emperor Tewodros II, a king in the 19th century era of Ethiopian modern history. The singer, as he did before, and now also has a fondness of researching and quoting historical scriptures in his music.
Mar Eske Tuaf (Fikir Eske Mekabir), Ethiopia and Mematsene are some of the songs you might heard of everywhere in the city.
His fans do not stop at praising and defending his music talent and lyrical brilliance; but sometimes in a fit of frenzy can go so far as insulting and threatening people who are dare criticize him. There were comments that took any critique of Teddy Afro as betrayal, and as a sign of being less patriotic. This puts him at the center of the current controversy on the question on nation and nationalities.
Tewodros Tsegaye, a Journalist, TV Program Producer and Presenter has been a major victim of dozens of criticisms on social media following his critics on singer’s proposed Ethiopia album posture and what sort of music’s should be incorporated.
Teddy is a rather polarising figure due to his lyrics on historical and political issues, which are considered by some groups as “divisive”.
On the one hand, the song “Ethiopia” was criticized (by some elites) for “preaching the grand narrative of Ethiopian nationalism without deconstructing the historical injustice, thereby denying the existence of oppression”.
Whereas, others praised him for calling for unity in an ethnically-divided Ethiopia.
His fans actually go to the up to the length of giving him royal titles, comparing him to the country’s former rulers, including Emperor Tewodros II.
While some fans are complaining that, “Ethiopia album is not as much to their inflated expectations”. The controversy, however, goes far beyond this.
On the other side, Teddy was severely criticized by listeners that he has recorded a melody of his reggae single in the album from Alpha Blondy’s, a reggae singer “Wish you were here” song.
Word fights from all these sides, which etched into the genre of Teddy continues to push him as the most contentious singer ever seen, despite his skyrocketed popularity.