By Seble Teweldebirhan
Addis Ababa, June 11, 2012 (Ezega.com) - Teddy Afro’s recent album, Tikur Sew or Black Man, is going through a serious scrutiny. The attitude towards the album has changed form ‘wow Teddy Afro” to ‘What happened to Teddy Afro’. Those who were the first to buy the album with no consideration to its content are now coming up with questions and criticism.
Even the media, which is usually in love with Teddy, is coming out with several criticisms. In fact, Teddy has continued his record for being the most discussed celebrity in the country, with new topics related to his relationship with his producers, sponsors and manager, and most importantly his recent surprise engagement to actress Amleset. With all this, the usually supportive magazines and newspapers seem to be slowly leaving his side and come up with several questions of their own.
Though the album managed to sell more than any other music album in the country, its content has disappointed many of Teddy’s fans. In the eyes of many, the most celebrated singer and songwriter Teddy Afro, with his new album, was largely unable to show his extraordinary talent through lyrics and melody. In comparison with his last two albums, the pubic now has come to an agreement that “Tikur Sew” is the downside of Teddy Afro. This is probably mostly because of the expectation to get another masterpiece from the young king of music. Some are suggesting that, on the first few days of its release, Teddy Afro sold his name instead of the album.
With all this criticism in the background, last Tuesday night, Teddy Afro launched his music video for his cover song titled Tekur Sew with an exclusive invitation party. More than 700 invited guests attended the launching ceremony at the Hilton Hotel. Adika Communications and Events PLC organized the ceremony alongside with Teddy’s management team. Tesefaye Gessese hosted the ceremony. The guest list included Ethiopian celebrities like Abebe Balcha, Fekadu Teklemariam and the business community
The song Tekur Sew is a tribute to King Menelik II and wife Taitu Bituel for their Adwa Victory over the Italians. It also commemorates the brave worriers on Adwa war like Balcha Aba Nefso and Fitawrari Habtegiorgis. However, the song is criticized for some factual mistakes and overlooking some important war heroes including Ras Mekonenen.
Accordingly, the music video of Tekur Sew is all about the war between Italy and Ethiopia on Adwa Mountains. Four hundred actors showed their talent to make the video look the real Adwa war. Tamerat Mekonon directed the video in a very professional and impressive manner. Several horses and Ethiopian traditional war costumes are also used and the video is in black and white. The video probably is one of the most expensive music videos in Ethiopian costing nearly 500,000 birr, according to the producers.
Indeed, the characters have played Ethiopian war heroes very well. The location and costume is one might call perfect. In addition, it showed a significant improvement in make up use, which is usually the problem with Ethiopia music videos.
However, the video had notable flaws. Primarily, Teddy Afro was nowhere to be seen except for a brief moment at the beginning of the video. After that, only the audio plays and the characters keep fighting. That made it look like the singer did not participate in the making of the video and somebody compiled pictures with the audio.
It also showed an exclusive violent side of the war, which might make it unsuitable for children. The major part of the video is Ethiopian worriers killing the Italians and dying with no fear. Though Adwa Victory has a great message, which is more than war and killing, the video failed to make a point other than the bravery of the warriors to kill or die. Including the process for the preparation of the war, the planning, the march, ties created between the diverse Ethiopian people, the pride after the victory and many other important lessons are overlooked.
In addition, there was duplication of scenes throughout the video. Expressions of a few heroes shown repeatedly made the war look like it was only theirs.
Teddy Afro performed one of his new songs on the stage. He also gave a speech about Ethiopian people, the importance of learning from history, forgiveness, love and, most importantly, the power of God. In a house full of people with different religious background, Teddy sounded like a preacher, which shocked some of the audience. Host Tesfaye announced the difference between Adika Records and Teddy Afro was resolved through mediators. However, Teddy in his long speech failed to mention any of that.
Seble Teweldebirhan is Addis Ababa based Reporter for Ezega.com. She can be reached by sending email through this form.