Your Majesty (Germawinto)
Many of our world’s historians have testified that the emperor has traveled from Mayichew to London when he learned that he can only look for diplomatic work to defend the brutal invading enemy and the kind of prophecy speech that the emperor made at the League of Nations in the city of Geneva has been the result of the decommissioning of the league. Furthermore, it has been recognized as one of “timeless” few speeches of the world ever recorded. It is widely spoken that the books that he wrote about his life and his country, Ethiopia have been able to impress many people of the world
But because of our blind hatred that we have before the revolution and of the ‘anti-monarchy” propaganda of the Dergue, our understanding of the man has been clouded and altered first and later on has faded and eventually we even forgot he ever existed. The great children of Africa who strived with him have confirmed that he is the prominent one among the Africans who struggled to unite Africa. Even a great artist like Bob Marley has dedicated significant part of his life praising the legacy of this man. He made the man very prominent to the extent that his followers (Rastafarians) have come to believe that he possesses a divine power. But, we, the ones who can’t deny his business was also our business, were about to completely forget him.
Teddy did not live at the time of this man. We can see his age and understand that he has no other way of knowing about “ His Majesty” except from what he heard, listened, read, assumed as well as his own research. However it will be to say the least that he is a young hero who was able to do what other people who lived at the king’s time and who regrets silently for not doing something, he is one who tried to make us listen to the shouts of Bob Marley and his kind, he is the one who tried to fill the void created by our regret inside us and who had the courage to try to preach an issue that no one has dared to do so before him.
Our long time saying of “a dead boy’s neck is long” represents our failure to be grateful for important people who were still alive. We can see that he has done pieces that showed us that if we praise someone while he is still alive it may encourage him, be proud and maybe of a simple gesture may extend his life a bit longer and yet we deprive him of these things and when his time reaches and exits our world that he can not hear us we start to praise him and admire him with words, colors, songs, poetry, statue etc. Maybe it’s our sense of indebtedness that made us shout on emptiness after the guy that we deprived of our praise passed away.
Of course, Haile geberesilallie achieved all his goals out of the humanistic desire of getting ourselves to a higher achievement. However aside making his dreams come true, the joy and sense of pride that he gave us can not ever be measured in any scale. If one of the people that were mesmerized by the victory of Haile at the Olympics is asked how happy he is, he only may pour out tears instead of words. At that happy and joyful moment, anyone will be willing to give sometime off his life on earth to Haile. However, after the moment has passed we began to even forget the where about of Haile until he presents us with another victory that will make us shout with thrill. The truth is that it will not be enough to shout day and night for a year to pay him for the unforgettable happiness he gave us at that moment. As such, we can say we are all in his debt. However, we certainly know that we haven’t been able to give Haile the proper appraisal except our gratitude and expression of feelings through television, radio, newspaper etc. He has partly paid off the debt we owe to Haile. This will in turn make us that we are indebted to Teddy.
Sometimes at any moment unexpected situation happens. The event might be heartbreaking or pleasant. But the main thing is that it does not only draw international or national attention but also creates a current that spans over horizons. This happened when the Rock and Roll singer Elvis Prisely died, when the actress Marylin Monroe committed suicide as well as the sudden death of Princess Diana. It is not unusual that singers that have the talent and the swiftness try to express their feeling about the event with music. However, the time will not be enough to make the music immediately before the wave of that event created nationally and internationally cools off. Therefore, the music will be outdated and unsuccessful. Because of this, musicians who want to come up with a song in time for the occasion will rearrange the music they have worked on for another concept by making it go along with the lyrics for the event while the event is still fresh. However, selecting either the proper lyrics or melody and arranging the two in time presents great challenge and requires great intelligence. Because the odd of the success is very narrow.
At the sudden death of Princess Diana, Elton John’s song “Candle in the wind” might be referred as remarkably successful piece. Many have confirmed that Elton John’s “Candle in the wind” has magnified their grief ten times harder. But, the sensation that Teddy’s “Kenenisa” created here in our country can be said that it is unprecedented in any part of the world
It is not difficult to assume that Teddy didn’t create this beautiful and deep piece of music with those one or two days. Nevertheless, to pick this among the other pieces, he worked on for other songs and to write the right lyric that became the flesh and bone of the song and furthermore to make a music clip that gave life to the flesh and bone tells us that the young man is multi talented and intelligent.
The day that Teddy’s “Kenenisa” was viewed repeatedly in Ethiopia Television an unusual situation was witnessed. A father, a mother, a sister and a brother shared a mutual feeling for the first time and cried out happy tears. The Engineer, the priest, the barber, the doctor, the teacher, the mechanic, the student, the judge, the shoe shine, the driver, the tailor, the lottery vendor, the Minster, the constructor, etc for the first time were elevated by mutual feeling and shared tears. There has never been such kind of profound sensation.
Truth to be told, the success and the professional skill capacity he has showed with this work can never be matched. If we ask why at the day of arrival ceremony of the athletes at Addis Ababa stadium the crowd was shouting for Haile more than the victorious kenenisa, we will find out without going too far that it was because of Teddy.
Teddy titled the song “Kenenisa”, but many recognize the effort and victory of Haile. Because of this, we learned not to repeat the cold feeling we show for a hero that failed to be successful one time at the reception of Haile. It forced us to give Haile the same or even more admiration and respect when he wins. It eludes us if the music was made whether for Kenenisa or Haile creating such a balance that showed young man’s maturity. Most musical experts including Mozart agree that music is an outstanding piece if it is loved among children. It may not be certain to assume children in schools will sing out the national anthem of Ethiopia word by word. But we can be sure that every child will definitely sing Teddy’s “kenenisa anbesa” without a trouble.
We are about to point out the main issue why Teddy is different from his national and foreign counter musicians. Some music genres are not only created by the creative skill of the artists but are also the results of the time’s general life style. If we go a little bit further back we find the genre Blues. Blues was a type of music that the black children of Adam that were considered less of an animal by their owners and how were laboring in cotton plantations and mining sites in south America two hundred years ago were singing to express their plight and grief. Blues is not a song. Blues is expression of agony. Blue is rebellion. There fore a person that really does not feel agony can not out of no where play it properly. This is why even talented musicians like Eric Clapton were not successful in pure Blues. Eric Clapton is not black hence he would not have tried blues if he had known there was no sadness that would give rise to Blues.
When we come to our century and see the sixties we found another type of music that was created as a result of rebellion. And this is Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll was born when youngsters who were still at the shock of World War II for the next two decades in which there was low self esteem, lack of vision and living in unnecessary principles that their father kept during peaceful times wanted to express their problems in stiff manner and liberate their spirit. As such Rock and Roll is not just a song but a rebellion that rose from the time’s pressure. It is an attitude and philosophy that opposed the old system. An artist who hasn’t realized this principle can’t be successful in Rock and Roll.
It is the same with Reggae. The creator and king of this genre Bob Marley is a unique artist who has deep character that sings not with his throat but with his heart, spine, spirit as well as his beautiful soul that every one sees. It is only possible to find out Reggae music style’s right shape and content by looking trough this artist’s song with serenity. Though after Bob Marley there has been numerous Reggae music artists the question whether these artists have really understood Reggae is not that much debating. They haven’t understood reggae is the answer. Very few have tried to come close. In this sense the difference between Marley’s reggae and his followers’ reggae is too big like the ocean. If we simply represent Marley by “mustard” then his followers (Peter Tosh, Denis Brown, Gregory Isaac, Alpha Blondy before he joined The Wailers band etc) then can be represented by mayonnaise. Mustard and mayonnaise might seem the same at glance but we realized when we taste each one.
The trend in our country is not that much different. . Many tried to play reggae music. The think they have played the style. But the thing is just because there is a familiar bit between the base guitarists’ stroke it doesn’t make it a reggae music. Our article limits us to start to give analysis on the features of the right kind of reggae music. Let’s just pass it by saying it is helpful to carefully compare the works the style’s creator with the others’ work.
Teddy has sung such song like “Girmawinto”, “Leman Limash” and especially later on “Eyerusalem” as well as “Shashemene” in reggae style. If we study each work we can see how teddy is close to the right reggae music style. The content of the lyrics, the weight and depth of the issue, the shape and aura of the melody, the singer’s sound rhythm and color and in general the arrangement, musical flavor etc without a doubt had a right reggae taste. All in all the reggae style has been tried both our country’s and foreign singers. However there were few who understood the essence and who came close to try it in the right way. According to the writer of this article, Teddy afro is the one that has been seen to adapt the style’s essence better than others.
It is one thing to be a famous artist. And it is another thing to be more than famous and make way for others and produce followers. From the past, Kassa Tesema and afterwards artists like Tilahun and from the most popular; Aster etc were very famous, adored and respected. These are our country’s precious artists who were even reached to status of being worshipped by few. However we have witnessed that there were only few that could step in the shoe of this great artists and follow beyond worshipping then like gods.
Our country’s recording history began seventy eight years ago by Negadras Tesema Eshete. According to a study, beginning from that period until Teddy’s first album, artists who recorded their work are not more than two hundred in number and on the other hand, the study shows that the number of young female and male singers who followed the foot steps of teddy in the last four years is not less than two hundred. Be the contribution of technology, attitude, the sharpness of the investors in the field as it may, the absence of significant difference in what happened the last seventy five years and last four years is one of the many indicators that teddy’s appearance in the process of our country’s musical history is not to be taken lightly.
Many of our country’s singers’ success is not only limited to themselves. On the contrary, except for very few, most of them are successful due to the efforts of the professionals behind them such us lyric writers, melody writers, arrangers, instrument players. This is where Teddy is different from many of his professional colleagues. He writes his own lyrics, creates his own melody and since he plays some instruments, he also plays part in the arrangement of his music. This is not to say that he doesn’t need the help of others for future success but to indicate that he has a mighty shoulder to carry most of the inputs he needs for his music and this can be seen his contribution for both veteran singers and young ones who has followed his foot steps providing them with lyrics and melodies.
We can only hope for sincere art alters like Teddy to deliver us from our time’s trouble and confusion in which baritone saxophone is thrown because it does not have a mouth piece; instruments such as viola, violin cello thrown in dusty corners of a storage room loosing their strings; clarinet, trumpet and French horn considered to be old fashioned and rugged thrown in the gutter and where this tasteless instrument we call keyboard has ruled over our music and where attempt is made to finish the arrangement of an album less than a month; where creating sentimental melodies became as hard has being reborn; where were forced to be weary of life listening to a serious of chik chika music.
Yes indeed! They boy knows what he does and say. As we tried to study him as much as we could, we saw that his thinking capacity is far beyond his age, He always ask inside and outside himself with undying thirst for knowledge, he always keeps himself with the utmost professional discipline, he stays away from obstacles that would hinder his journey, he is careful to not to be lured by fame, he concerns himself day and night to come up with a better work.
This great singer came with a new album on the eve of 2004 Easter holiday. He named his album “Tikur Sew”. This album praises the work of the great king of Ethiopia, Atse Menilik. His album was officially released at the Hilton hotel in the presence of patriots and other guests.
The clip of Tikur Sew was also shown for the audience. The work was the first of its kind in Ethiopia. Like his past albums, this “Tikur Sew” album contains numerous messages. The number of cassettes and CDs sold is record in Ethiopian history. The “ Tikur Sew” Concert will be shown in London for the first time on August 4 to encourage our athletes at the London Olympics.
“ I am proud of him”
Hon. Dr. Tilahun Gessese
His father Kassahun Germamo was a stage host for police Orchestra and journalist for a Police Program in a radio. His mother W/ro Tilaye has worked at the same department with stage dancing.
I am very happy that Theodros was born from a family of artists. It makes one proud to come from such a family and reach to this status.
As I have watched the boy, he can do important things despite his young age. I admire both his voice and work.
I can say that he is a qualified artist that performs works that he desires with his own melody, lyric and his own voice.
When I first saw the song he did for Kenenisa and Haile about their victory at the Athens Olympic, I really thought he wrote the song right there at the stadium watching the competition not like any of us watching it in television. The song he did for Haile Gebresillasie is not also to be taken lightly. It is a great symbol. He did a great memorial work for Ethiopian Athletes with his profession more than anyone.
In addition to his solid works I am also proud of Teddy because he takes care of himself, his being content and knowing where he has to spend his time. I give him my fatherly advice to continue this in the future.
“I wouldn’t mind if he sings for me while I am crowned”
I met him many times in several occasions. We met on the road one day and I kissed his forehead with admiration.
I don’t think I have a word so powerful that would describe him. The boy is like a beautiful sunset that is seen once in awhile. His four memorial works; for Haile, for His Majesty, for Kenenisa and Bob Marley have made me respect him. They have the power to go through your bones. I feel like his mind race faster than the athletes he sang for.
I love his mind. I have seen him in one occasion while being asked at the Sheraton hotel. The quickness of his reply describes his skill.
For me, there are four things that one can not get enough of. These are wealth, life, power and love. The boy has money, beauty, fame, young age and maturity. He is ideal for marriage. He is not a show off, if he was, he would have been spoiled by now. At last, I want to say I wouldn’t mind if he sings for me while I am crowned. He is a boy who had to be born after hundred years.
Ato Wubishet Workalemahu
“ He used his luck to work, not live off it”
Theodros Kassahun is the second person in his family who serves the people as he is the son of the well known journalist, Kassahun Girmamo. He loves his profession, loves art and his new songs are expected eagerly as they always touch different subjects. He has the capacity to transform what he saw and heard in to music. His “Tarik Tesera” (history was made) piece he made for the Athens Olympic sounded like he was there among the athletes. I admire his ability to listen to the heart bit of the people. This is not praise. I just want to describe him. He has a voice. He owns a good music style. His presentation glows a stage. He is a type of guy that is spoken little about his professional and yet who is listened to a lot.
To find the right answer for the question of whether he lived off his luck or gave his life for luck, it is necessary to carefully observe Teddy. In my opinion, I would say he gave his life in the hands of fate in order to satisfy his professional thirst. He used his luck to work not to live off it.
He will be more skilled as he is built with good sense of hard work. A person who truly says he speaks of the truth will speak about those around him who are striving without looking for the truth somewhere else. Let admiring those who prevailed be our culture.
Song lyric writer
“He has made me run until now. I think I would continue running with m y cane even when I get old”
I first met him at the ground floor of Dumble. I was with Zelalem (DJ Z) and my friend Yassin. They told me that it was him. I told them that he was very young. Then I invited him to my house. My wife loves him very much. He was shy then. I tried to encourage him telling him that a person that performs shouldn’t be shy.
Where did he reach?
He found his talent. But that alone can not be a success. He developed it. He reached a very high status utilizing his talent.
What about his age and his work?
I think at least the lyric should have come from another source. A person could be a singer. But I think being a singer and a melody writer is a tough job. Besides, pleasing more than million people is not an easy task. When looking at his age, he has grown now. He has grown with his songs. Some times his tuxedos were larger than his size.
What about song and feeling?
They told me that the song “Alehonilih Alegn” video was being shown. They made me listen to the song briefly by telephone. The quality of the sound on the phone was not good. When I returned I watched it with my family, it was really moving. I felt something inside. It is hard to describe that feeling. It disrupts your feeling. It immerses you in to a reality. It was amazing. I couldn’t sit or sleep after seeing that. I ran again after having a surgery.
What about character and work?
A lot can be said about Teddy. He is disciplined. He will die for his principle. He has high sense of patriotism. He has favorable character. He is careful about his work that’s why he comes up with different music.
Your choice of his song?
I love most of his love songs. But admire his “Girmawinto” song above all.
The part that says “merko shegniton hager” fascinates me. In the video when I saw an old man coming to the screen, when kenenisa turned his head to look his behind and when Teddy sings “to leave you behind and go….” Those parts really churn me inside. He has made me run because of his first song about me. And with this song, I think I would still run with my cane even when I become an old guy.
Love of his country?
Those who love Ethiopia are loved by God. God has made it all possible. Teddy for me is the same as those people who deeply worries about their country. With out our country we will not exist. Some say they will go abroad and live there. And they don’t stay there for long. They immediately return. He is successful because he loves his country.
Gift and blessing?
What I wish him is for him to stay in the music professional as long time as Tiahun Gessesse. He will be famous internationally in the future. May God give him health and long age. I would not try to describe my wish by singing because that is out of my reach. But if we run together, I know I would beat him.
“He speaks of truth through a song”
Author and film Director
“Yasteseryal” (pleading for others)
People say the issue is politics. No, it’s not about that. That would be just to stand still at some corner or to promote one idea or force one’s idea to get into the mind of others. His work focuses on issues that would benefit the society in common. He tells us truth through a song. He is just telling us it would be good for us to do what it would serve us best.
Some people draw a phrase and they would imply their own meaning and analysis. They take it to any direction they want. Any art output can not be summarized as black and white. We all see in different eyes. We all hear in different ears. We evaluate in different hearts. Therefore, we all give out our meaning hence, the meaning of Teddy’s songs vary as the listeners.
Chemin de Fer
I was born and raised in Wollo. My father was from Shoa and my mother was from Wollo. Her name is Tayitu Ali. My father is Christian. They have never been in argument because of religion. I have an uncle named Mohammed Ali who usually comes to our house. There is also a female Christian relative that visits us. And a harmony is seen amid these differences. I feel like Teddy has sung for me. No one can destroy this. Better yet if it was possible, we should have sold our values to others. Let me give an example to show how Muslims and Christians co-exist with love. There is one church in Wollo. If I am not mistaken the name is called Ruga Michael. Most of the people who live there are Muslims. The priests are small in number. The clergy decided to relocate the church to Desse because they could not administer the church. The Muslims living in the area objected the idea. They told them they will contribute whatever is necessary to fill what is missing and live there and would not allow the priests to go. A Committee was formed and fund was raised and the church is still at the same place. This is what Teddy has described with a descent language. This is not only for us. This wonderful value of ours could be sold to the other world. Ethiopia can be taken as a great example in this time when the world is upside-down with extremism. And we are proud of teddy for this. He should be thanked as he worked the work of an elderly mediator.
Separations that arose because of unfortunate time will create unhappiness in anyone. When I was in Eritrea, I had many brothers, sisters and friends. We were to be bounded together by blood had I been married and had a child there. We deserve to miss and love each other. We just couldn’t resolve our conflict and went to war at one time but we are not people that would exterminate one another until the end. It is to be recalled that a song was made saying “fell in love with the Japanese girl while I was in the Far East”. Where is the fault if one wants to express his affection and love he might just rise and go to her even if it is far east? His work is wonderful because art might be more than this.
We deeply thank with our great respect Artist Adanech W/Geberiel for the articles written above.