The First Lady of Ethiopian Music (Part 2)
In 1952 the Municipality of Addis Ababa launched the first department of music and theatre. Nineteen young men were freshly recruited to form the core foundation. Help and inspiration in the theatrical and musical field came from dedicated trainers like Yoftawi Neguse, Mekonen Endalkatchew (then Prime Minister), Kevrork Nalbandian and his nephew Nerses Nalbandian.
Soon two talented young men, Tesfaye Tesema and Asfaw Tefera, wrote and produced “Ye Fikir Chora” (Rays of Love), the first proper modern Ethiopian theatre that told a story through dance and music. There was not yet a female actress who could play the female role. The Municipality Theater by then had a few female vocalists and folk dancers but was missing a proper actress who could play a role in a theatrical production, a foreign innovation. In the few theatre performances that had been staged previously, the women’s roles were played by male actors in female attire.
Find the full story at the Ethiopia Observer.