US Embassy Kicks Off Film Competition


The U.S. Embassy is excited to announce this year’s video competition under the theme “Our Ethiopia.” The video challenge is part of the U.S. Embassy’s ongoing efforts to highlight the importance of tolerance and diversity through open and constructive communication.

In a globalized world, tolerance is important for creating a society in which people feel valued and respected, and in which there is room for every person, each with their own ideas and dreams. This video challenge is intended to promote these values.

Open to all Ethiopians, the video challenge asks filmmakers to create a video of up to three minutes about the strength in Ethiopia’s diversity, the challenges it faces, and what everyone can do to support tolerance and mutual respect.

The first place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 80,000; the second place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 50,000; and the third place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 30,000.

The deadline for submission of videos is midnight on February 18, 2018. Interested contestants can submit their video either by uploading to YouTube or sending to the U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section (OurEthiopia Video Challenge), P.O. Box 1014 in a CD or DVD. The video submission can be uploaded in any format accepted by YouTube and after uploading the hashtagged video, send a link to your video submission to

All videos must be done in the Amharic language with English sub-titles. The Embassy reserves the right to reject any video that discriminates against any religious, ethnic, or cultural values or any gender or persons with disability.

You can find the details of the competition through the link: .

Source: U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia’s Oromo community observes peaceful thanksgiving celebrations

Ethiopia’s Oromo community has staged their thanksgiving celebrations known as Irreecha. Members of the largest tribe in Eastern Africa drawn from Ethiopia and the diaspora, attended the fete that was relatively peaceful- compared to last year’s. CGTN’s Girum Chala attended the function and filed this report.

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Coke Studio Africa 2017 officially begins in Ethiopia

Coke Studio Africa 2017 officially begins in Ethiopia
Ethiopia will be represented by a diverse group of artists which includes Betty G, reggae sensation Sami Dan, Ethiopian rock phenomenon Jano band, “Bale robe” and “Dendasho” hit maker Asgegnew Asheko and top Tigrigna artist Dawit Nega.

Coca-Cola Company celebrates the official launch of its music flagship Coke Studio Africa 2017 in Ethiopia. Being broadcasted in Ethiopia for the second time in its history, Coke Studio Africa has become bigger and better this season with the merger of Coke Studio Africa and Coke Studio South Africa which were previously held separately.

Ethiopia will be represented by a diverse group of artists which includes Betty G, reggae sensation Sami Dan, Ethiopian rock phenomenon Jano band, “Bale robe” and “Dendasho” hit maker Asgegnew Asheko and top Tigrigna artist Dawit Nega.

Tigist Getu, Brand manager of Coca-Cola in Ethiopia says, “We had a great experience last year. And from that experience, we are very glad to bring a bigger and better Coke Studio Africa for the continent and for Ethiopia in particular. We have a group of top artists with diverse flavours this year incorporating the cultural and modern music experiences in Ethiopia. This will give more exposure to Ethiopian music and promote our culture globally”.

For months, the artists have been working alongside a highly talented house band while performing songs that will showcase the remix and cover of some of Africa’s hit songs. These artists are expected to showcase Ethiopian music & culture as well as share the values and traditions of their country with artists they will be collaborating with from the rest of Africa.

Epic moments to look forward to in the upcoming season include Betty G’s collaboration with the multi-platinum International pop artist Jason Derulo on the global fusion edition of Coke Studio, Jano band’s collaboration with South African Shekinah, Asgegnew Asheko working with Ugandan star Sheebah and the premier of the season; the Ethiopian New Year special episode.

“What makes this year special is that we have an Ethiopian New Year show and on that episode the Ethiopian Coke Studio artists come together to perform a special New Year song, arranged by top Ethiopian music producer Abegazu Kibrework Shiwota. We have also involved Alemayehu Deneke on the song writing. This by itself promotes Ethiopia, our special calendar, as well as our traditional clothes and dancing on a platform that Africa comes together to grasp each other’s values and connect as one,” Tigist added.

Coke Studio Africa 2017 will be broadcasted weekly on EBS television. It promises to be a melting pot of musical talents bringing together renowned music producers and top-notch artists drawn from various parts of the continent.

The merger this year increases the number of participating countries to 16, up from 11 in previous edition. This season will broadcast in more than 30 countries across Africa. The production now includes artists from South Africa, Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia,Cameroon. The last edition featured Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire, & Togo while South Africa had its own production.

Some of the names this season include Bruce Melodie from Rwanda, Tanzanian artists: Rayvanny, Izzo Bizness and Nandy, Ugandan artists Bebe Cool, Eddy Kenzo, Ykee Benda and Sheebah, Khaligraph Jones & Band Becca from Kenya, Nasty C, Busiswa, Mashayabhuqe, from South Africa, Youssoupha from Democratic Republic of Congo, Runtown and Yemi from Nigeria.

Like the previous editions, Coke Studio aims to inspire and introduce Africa’s music talents to a new and wider audience through interaction, collaboration and cooperation amongst musical artists while also building a strong brand connection with Africa’s young and growing population. Africa is full of great music talent in communities, cities and countries, and Coke Studio Africa can give these artists wider exposure, while enabling greater interaction, collaboration and cooperation to create inspirational new sounds.

Coke Studio Africa is a non-competitive music collaboration show, which seeks to bring people together and celebrate the diversity of African music and talent. It also gives upcoming artists the opportunity to work with some of the best local and international music and production talent. It brings together artists from different genres, eras and regions to create a modern and authentic African sound through musical fusion.

Source: capitalethiopia

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Teddy Afro: At the top of his game

Teddy Afro: At the top of his game

Some may link my song on Emperor Tewodros with with what happened in Gondar. However, the song has nothing to do with the unrest.

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 artiste, 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.

The Reporter: 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?

Teddy Afro: 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.

The Reporter: 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?

Teddy Afro: 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.

The Reporter: The current generation, sees you as the voice of a generation. Even at the beginning, when you released your Abugida album, you were seen as a voice of that generation. The current generation also sees you, as the current generation’s voice. You seem to have a way with every generation. Do you see yourself as the voice of a new generation?

Teddy Afro: I cannot be far from any generation, especially my own generation. I can only reflect on an experience. Mine or others!

The Reporter: Woubshet Werkalemahu, has congratulated you on your interpretation of the iconic book “Fikir Eske Mekabir”. The book is 600 pages. Do you think your interpretation in a four-minute song is inclusive of the message of the book?

Teddy Afro: It’s true, the book is 600 pages and it’s long. I believe I only reflected the main characters in the book, which is the story of Bezabih while he was trying to find Seblewengel. Basically, the song narrates the story of Bezabih from Gojam to Addis Ababa. It talks about when Gudu Kassa helps Bezabih when he tried to find his love. So I have tried to capture this part of the book.

The Reporter: Was there anyone aside from you who was involved in writing the lyrics for the song entitled Fikir Eske Mekabir?

Teddy Afro: No, there wasn’t. I finished both the lyrics and the melody in one night. Then I have made some improvements after. So, except the contribution from the author of Fikir Eske Mekabir itself the song belongs to me.

The Reporter: Some say you’re all over everything. Given your popularity and fame people involved in the music industry always want to work with you. So how are you planning to work and mentor those young producers and musicians who want to be the next Teddy Afro?

Teddy Afro: Well, when I do my music, I always try to use every possible resource at my disposal. I always want and try to work and collaborate with other musicians. I go out of my way to do that. We have tried many times but effort couldn’t go beyond trying.

The Reporter: Speaking of your new album, in one of your songs, which is about Emperor Tewodros II, the style of your voice you used in this song is somehow unique and resembles with the tone of the so called Azmaris. How did you come up with the song and such unique ways to capture the unique voice of an Azmari?

Teddy Afro: I always found myself attracted with such unique and old voices. By the way, it was not the first time that I have played with such tone. Previously, I played the song by Bahru Kangne. So it comes from emotion and compassion. It was not planned. It just happened.

The Reporter: When did you write the song about Emperor Tewodros II?

Teddy Afro: It has been a while since I started to process the song but there were improvements made on the way. It was this year that I have completed the whole song about him.

The Reporter: Some people relate your song on Emperor Tewodros with the recent political unrest that erupted in the city of Gondar. Did you write the song after violence in Gondar?

Teddy Afro: Well…some may link it with what happened in Gondar. However, the song has nothing to do with the unrest. So my answer is; this was not the first time I sung about our emperors and praise them at all the same time.

The Reporter: After the release of your album, we have seen many people lineup to purchase your album. It must be nice to be appreciated and loved by many people.

Teddy Afro: All is because of the grace of God; it is a blessing from the almighty God. But seeing this from my perspective, it is really hard. Having all this acceptance and recognition by itself put a sense of pressure. So I have no words to express my gratitude for the love and acceptance I get.

The Reporter: In a number of times you sang about Emperor Haile Selassie I. Speaking about Emperor, people have different opinion on him. Some consider him as god, others as a prophet and many asking. How do you see him?

Teddy Afro: The amount of grace and knowledge that our forefathers and emperors had is not something that would be easily explained. By their time, our kings were feared and respected by the world. So for me Emperor Haile Selassie I was a very kind leader – a leader who has ruled his country with grace and compassion.

The Reporter: So you see him as an Emperor?

Teddy Afro: Yes

The Reporter: One of your admirers is The Weeknd. He has listed you, along with Aster Aweke and Mulatu Astatke, as his musical heroes. He has said how his mother used to play your songs all the time. Are you open to the idea of working with him?

Teddy Afro: The simple answer is yes. I would be happy. He seems like a nice, decent young man. I met with his family inside a plane. It was indicated to me how much he loves my music. He is a talented artist. The simple answer is yes, I would love to work with him.

The Reporter: There are new artists, in their teenage years, in their twenties who are struggling and want to follow in your footsteps. What advice do you have for them?

Teddy Afro: The first thing is to know your real talent and your own potential. You need to have the right attitude. One has to be able to listen to different kinds of music. Attitude and confidence is the foundation to a great success in art. Build the foundation early. Be a team player.

The Reporter: Your wife is staring in a movie currently in local cinemas. You are both talented artists. Will there be any chance for a collaborative effort for both of you?

Teddy Afro: We have already teamed up (laughs). We worked on the video, for the song, Mar Eske Tuwaf. She was the star, playing Seblewengel and she was also the director. We saw the finished product yesterday and it was beautiful. I expect it to be released very soon.

Source: TheReporterEthiopia

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Eutelsat signs contract with INSA for new TV platform in Ethiopia

Home » Entertainment » TV » Eutelsat signs contract with INSA for new TV platform in Ethiopia
Eutelsat signs contract with INSA for new TV platform in Ethiopia

Ethiopia will use the capacity for its new TV platform, Ethiosat, which just launched.

Ethiopia’s Information Network Security Agency (INSA) has inked a multi-year contract with Eutelsat Communications for capacity at its 7/8 degrees west neighborhood, which serves satellite TV in the Middle East and North Africa. INSA will use the capacity for its new TV platform, Ethiosat, which just launched.

Ethiopia’s national satellite TV landscape currently features more than 30 channels that broadcast from multiple satellites. The new platform offers licensed channels the opportunity to broadcast in a single platform, ensuring easy reception for TV homes across the country and accelerating digital take-up. The first channels, including Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and Oromia TV, are available to homes on a Free-to-Air (FTA) basis. Multiple national and regional channels as well as commercial broadcasters are also candidates for inclusion in the flagship platform, according to INSA.

Viewers can access Ethiosat using a single 90cm antenna and set-up box rather than sourcing content through multiple providers at multiple orbital positions. The new platform also taps into the installed base of antennas already equipped for reception from the 7/8 degrees west neighborhood.


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

Ethiopian singer Teddy Afro

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.

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.

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 15 million Ethiopian Birr — a feat that no other Ethiopian singer has ever managed to accomplish — which is telling commentary on his popularity.

The recurring theme in Afro’s albums, is the need to nurture countrywide harmony, unity, and love which transcend ethnic and religious boundaries in his beloved Ethiopia.

Expanding upon this foundation, this latest album solidifies this message, both in thematic content and lyrics. While the album is mainly an Amharic language pop music offering, some segments of lyrics are inserted into his Amharic songs from other Ethiopian languages, such as Afan Oromo, Tigeregna, and Sidama, which all reflect the singer’s philosophy and interests.

He blends his version of reggae with Ethiopian beats, styles, and instruments. His deployment of the sound of mesenqo, a single-stringed Ethiopian bowed lute, which he mixes delicately with acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums — while he sings in Amharic and Afan Oromo on one of the tracks — is a great example.

The response to Afro’s album has been mixed. Teddy’s fans and detractors either apotheosize or admonish him based on his fame, his lyrical perspective — even his album’s cover art.

His enthusiasts adore him for his genius, while his detractors accuse him of simplifying the complex history of Ethiopia.

Music meets politics

The near-fanatical appreciation for — and opposition to — Afro’s latest album is an indication that, in Ethiopia, music criticism usually melds together with political ideology.

Since the release of the album’s single, “Ethiopia”, three weeks ago, much of the debate on social media has been about the politics of Afro’s songs. He received an unprecedented amount of criticism for being simplistic — penning lyrics that misrepresent the history of Ethiopia, the poetic quality of which, some believe, mixes cliché and nonsense.

As political concerns take priority over the quality of the music, the artistic aspects of Afro’s work are receiving less attention. However, there are some critics who falsely accuse him of recycling melody lines from his earlier albums, or even plagiarizing other people’s songs.

Powerful, yet vulnerable

As much as Afro is a prominent and influential artist, he is also a vulnerable one — producing socio-politically conscious songs while operating in a politically hostile environment. Ethiopian authorities have been known to censor political expressions, whether journalistic or cultural.

Afro was once denied playing a gig in the country’s capital, after authorities refused to issue a permit for the concert. He was also prevented from leaving the country for a concert abroad. In 2014, some individuals campaigned against him to strong-arm a beer company to cancel its sponsorship of Teddy’s national music tour over an alleged “politically insensitive” comment in an unpublished weekly magazine.

In 2005, when he released his second album, Afro was aligned with opposition politics because five of his songs were overtly political. One signature song in particular, “Jah Yastserial” can be read as a call for reconciliation among Ethiopian political opponents, a praise for Emperor Haile Selassie or, most plausibly, a critique of the Ethiopian government for failing to live up to its promise. Many consider this song as a popular anthem of anti-government protesters, as it resonates well with the mood of the post-election political turmoil of the 2005 parliamentary elections.

In 2008, Afro was arrested, charged with a hit and run, taken to jail and held there for almost two years. He denied he committed the alleged crime, and most of his fans claim the allegations are false and politically motivated.

While Afro does not fit the rebellious image of an overtly political singer, he forcefully asserts a collective version of Ethiopian history, culture, and identity, without bowing to pressure to adopt a political posture.

A vision of Ethiopia

In Ethiopian history, the dominant ideology was a national identity based on a shared, yet hybrid cultural and ethnic solidarity, with a modernizing project based on claims of Ethiopia’s 3000 years of “collective memory”. However, this project came to an abrupt stop in 1991, when two decades of civil war ended. The current regime defined “communities” based on their ethnic identity, and reorganized the Ethiopian state structure exclusively based on this — a deliberately administered, radical break with Ethiopia’s past.

Many blame the current regime for the gradual erosion of the shared Ethiopian identity. In what appears to be a response to the government’s over-emphasis on ethnic identity, Afro’s songs pay tribute to early Ethiopian civilization, history, and culture. He praises national figures of the past and considers them as enlighteners. In his latest album, he honored Tewodros II, a 19th century Ethiopian emperor who fought the British. In his fourth album, he did the same for Emperor Menelik II, who defeated the Italians in 1896 at the Battle of Adwa.

His assertion of a shared Ethiopian identity and national pride in an era of ethnic federalism, in which the regime has denied the existence of collective Ethiopian identity, is a potential threat.

For government supporters and ethnonationalists alike, Afro is a familiar villain. His tributes to past Ethiopian leaders and his devotion to “love and unity” represent an old Ethiopia, a defeated ideology.

Nevertheless, he continues to be a magnetic figure for younger generations and exerts a vast influence among his compatriots. Despite claims that Afro’s songs represent a defeated ideology, his albums generate sales on a record scale — and his fan base is passionate enough to overwhelm the Ethiopian internet and send the message that they are taking a relaxing break from repression.

Written by Endalk (Source:

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