​Singer Teddy Afro’s New Album Holds Fast to His Vision of a Diverse, Yet United Ethiopia

(Global Voices Online) Ethiopian singer Tewodros Kassahun’s most anticipated and highly promoted studio album was released to great fanfare at the beginning of May 2017.

More popularly known as Teddy Afro, his latest album — his fifth — comprises 15 songs of tribute and love that touch on issues of solidarity, reconciliation and the hope of living collectively in a diverse country. The album also includes a song with lyrics in a coded language, which is being interpreted by some as a rebuke to his detractors.

 Ethiopian singer Teddy Afro, who delivered opening remarks at a U.S. Embassy-sponsored workshop for students on the occasion of World Environment Day 2015. Photo by U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa; CC BY-ND 2.0

Ever since he caught the public’s attention with his debut album in early 2001, Teddy Afro has been a household name in Ethiopia. He is a melodic singer and prolific songwriter. “Ethiopia”, a single that appeared on his new album, racked up millions of views on YouTube as soon as it was released. His album attracted sales of up to 6 million Ethiopian Birr — a feat that no other Ethiopian singer has ever managed to accomplish — which is telling commentary on his popularity.

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