Teddy Afro, Ethiopia’s biggest pop star: ‘Because of our government, our country is divided’

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)

By Tom Gardner for The Guardian

Tewodros Kassahun’s manager meets me on a quiet suburban road inside a gated compound. With their neoclassical mansions, manicured lawns and white picket fences, compounds such as this are a rarity in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and this one is as grand as it gets. Still, I’m underwhelmed as we turn in to the driveway of the house, which, by contrast with its neighbours, is relatively modest. This is, after all, the home of the biggest star in Ethiopian musical history: Teddy Afro.

He greets me in the living room, padding around in a tracksuit and socks. The house is in a bit of a mess, and he apologises – they’re clearing up the remains of an album launch party over the weekend. He and his manager are in high spirits. Three days earlier, they released Ethiopia, his fifth studio album; it had a record $650,000 recording budget, was the fastest-selling record in the country’s history, and topped Billboard’s world albums chart. Teddy’s relief is palpable – the release was beset by delays – as he settles into a chair and begins outlining his philosophy. “Art is closer to magic than logic,” he says, beaming cheerfully.

It is difficult to overstate Teddy Afro’s popularity and importance in Ethiopia today. “His level of celebrity is simply unprecedented,” says Heruy Arefe-Aine, the organiser of the country’s Ethiopian Music festival.

Read More from The Guardian

Source

Join the Conversation on Facebook and Twitter

AddisNews is not responsible for the contents or reliability of any other websites to which we get contents from and provide a link and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed by them.

Comments

comments

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share to Friends