Teddy Afro

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Teddy Afro
Teddy Afro.jpg
Teddy Afro performing live in Melbourne Australia, June 2011
Background information
Native name ቴዲ አፍሮ
Birth name Tewodros Kassahun
Born July 14, 1976 (age 39)
Addis Ababa
Genres Ethiopian music
Occupation(s) musician
Instruments Singing
Years active 2001–present
Labels Nahom Records
Website http://teddyafro.in.

Teddy Afro (Amharic: ቴዲ አፍሮ?; real name: Tewodros Kassahun, Amharic: ቴዎድሮስ ካሳሁን?, born 14 July 1976) is an Ethiopian singer and one of the most popular artists in Ethiopia.


In 2001, Teddy Afro released his second album, Abugida, named after the Abugida syllabary of the Ge'ez language. Several tracks quickly caught the ear of many listeners in Ethiopia - "Halieselassie", a tribute to the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I; "Haile, Haile", a single in honor of the Olympic long distance champion Haile Gebrselassie; and "Mona Lisa", a song about the measure of human beauty.

His third album, Yasteseryal, was released in 2005. The release of this album coincided with elevated political tension in Ethiopia surrounding the Ethiopian general election, 2005. His politically and socially inspired songs acted as a call for unity and peace and made the 17 years of TPLF-led government in power concerned.[citation needed] Consequently the government banned four songs including "Yasteseryal" from playing on radios and TV.[1] The most popular song of the album "Yasetseryal" claims that there is no real change in Ethiopia but a new government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fight against the Derg was nothing but an infamous military junta. The album sold more than a million copies within a few months after its release, becoming the biggest selling Ethiopian music album to date.[2]

His fourth and most recent studio album, Tikur Sew, was released in 2012. Its lead single Tikur Sew, which is the namesake of the album, hailed Ethiopia's Emperor Menelik II as a champion for all African people, citing his feat of leading the Ethiopian people to victory at the Battle of Adwa. Tewodros tried to appeal to an audience among the Oromo people by mentioning and acclaiming Oromo generals who participated in the war. He also wrote some of the lyrics for the song in Afaan Oromoo. Nevertheless, the song was made part of the controversy surrounding the celebration of the 100th year anniversary of Menelik's death in December 2013. As a result, Heineken's sponsorship of Afro's concert tour prompted a boycott of Heineken products among Oromo people.[3] Heineken dropped Teddy's tour sponsorship.

Legal issues[edit]

Afro was accused of hit-and-run manslaughter and was imprisoned in April 2008.[4] Some sources claimed that the accusation was politically motivated, following the release of several songs critical of the government, especially during the May 2005 national election.[5] Afro pleaded not guilty to these allegations, and his court case and imprisonment were national talking points in Ethiopia.[6] Some members of the opposition viewed his imprisonment as part of the regime in Ethiopia attack on symbols of Ethiopian unity.[7] Afro was convicted of manslaughter on 5 December 2008 and the judge sentenced him to six years' imprisonment and a fine of 18,000 Birr (apr. 1800 USD). On 18 February 2009, Afro's prison sentence was reduced from six years to two years by an appellate court.[8] On 13 August 2009, Afro was released from prison eight months early on account of good behaviour in prison.[4][9]

Released works[edit]


Album Information
  • Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Nahom Records
  • Singles: "Lidjennet Alat", "Leman Lemash", "Mona Lisa", "Abugida", "Laylalawkim", "Ayne Hul gize", "Haile Haile", "Baygermish", "Birabiro", "Haile Selassie", "Hewan Endewaza"
Tarik Tesera
  • Released: 2004
  • Record Label: evangadi production
  • Singles: "Tarik Teserra" (Anbessa)
  • Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Nahom Records
  • Executive Producer: Elias Fikru
  • Singles: "Yasteseryal", "Bel Stegne", "Lambadina", "Promise","alamin"
Yasteseryal Edition 2
  • Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Nahom Records
  • Executive Producer: Elias Fikru
  • Singles: "Yasteseryal", "Bel Stegne", "Lambadina", "Promise", "Alamin", "Seleme", "Kier Yhon", "Shemendafer", "Balderesu", "Semie lelieleh afe", "Lemn Yhon", "Tizita", "Hab Dahlak", "Itegie", "Ngeregne Kalsha"
Best Collection-Nahom Volume 14
  • Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Nahom Records
  • Singles: "Menta Wedije", "Yregal", "Lamie Bora", "Sdet"
Tikur Sew
  • Released: 2012
  • Record Label: AdikaRecords
  • Singles: "Tikur Sew"


DVD Information
Tarik Tesera By Tewodros Kassahun
  • Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Nahom Records
  • Executive Producer: Elias Fikru
  • Singles: "Tarik Tesera" (Anbessa)
Yasteseryal - DVD
  • Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Nahom Records
  • Executive Producer: Elias Fikru
  • Singles: "Yasteseryal", "Promise", "Anbessa", "Seleme"


  1. ^ http://www.ethiopianreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10689&p=53228
  2. ^ http://www.ethiomedia.com/aurora/when_will_the_daybreak_come.html
  3. ^ Mos, Bart; Richard van de Crommert (28 December 2013). "Heineken verslikt zich in popzanger". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Malone, Barry; Tsegaye Tadesse (13 August 2009). "Pop Star Teddy Afro Freed From Jail in Ethiopia". ABCNews.com (ABC News Internet Ventures). Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Teddy Afro - Another victim of Ethiopia's ruthless dictator", Ethiopian Review 20 November 2008 (accessed 26 July 2009)
  6. ^ " Protests over Ethiopia pop singer" BBC website, 23 April 2008
  7. ^ "In Ethiopia, jailed singer Tewodros Kassahun is a political symbol", Los Angeles Times, 11 August 2008
  8. ^ Yahoo News (dead link)
  9. ^ [1] - ethiomedia news

External links[edit]