Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), Ethiopia’s best selling artist, controversial, often times poetic at all times talented released his long awaited album – Ethiopia – this week. It has since shot to number 1 in Billboard’s World Album chart – a milestone for Ethiopian music. At home, relaxed, uplifting and vulnerable at all the same time, he hosted Samuel Getachew and Dawit Endeshaw of The Reporter as he opened up on his family, career, Ethiopia and what it means for him to be loved by millions of people around the world. Excerpts:
The Reporter: Congratulations Teddy on your new album. Since we saw you four years ago, you have become a second time father. You seem more in love with your wife. How is it different to perform, not just as an artist, but as a father?
Teddy Afro: The difference is perhaps felt more by others who observe me when I perform. It is true, being a responsible husband and a father has given me a sense of who I am and where I belong. It has changed me. It has helped me become a better person, a better artiste. It has given me a home, a place to belong. It is something to behold. It really has been a blessing and a happy experience for me.
Going to your latest work, inside the album cover, you describe yourself as “Ra’ey” (vision). What exactly are you referring to? Are you referring to yourself having a vision, your country’s vision or something else?
As you saw for yourself, I included pictures of my parents, my father, mother and a picture of Emperor Tewodros II. It is to be a remembrance, a memorial. As a child, I called my mother Ra’ey. For me, Ra’ey is to be Ethiopian. Ra’ey is to be given by God. That is what I meant.
Your album is a hit and has given a sentiment value to your fans. You named your album Ethiopia. What does Ethiopia and Ethiopianism mean to you?
I have often been asked that question and I have always been frank with my assessment of what it means. I have reflected on it a lot by the way. For me, being Ethiopian is to be free, kind, patient and humble. It is to have and hold on to better ideals for oneself.
Read more at: The Reporter