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Archive for the ‘In Memoriam’ Category

Asnaketch Worku Dies at 78

September 16, 2011 6 comments

Thousands of mourners have attended the funeral of Ethiopia’s celebrated singer and actress, Asnaketch Worku, who died on Thursday morning, four days after the New Year’s Day. She was 78. Asnaketch was one of the last divas of Ethiopian music and was considered one of the finest musicians of her day. She had been in poor health in recent years, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Many of the mourners had never even met Asnaketch –or had met her only long enough to shake her hand but her music has been heard on the radio and television for decades, making her a household name.
Early in the morning, Asnaketch’s life was also celebrated at an emotional vigil at the National Theater. There were reminiscences by her former collogues such as Debesh Temesgen, Selmawit Gebre-Selassie.
Living at a time when women were less likely than their male counterparts to have their music acknowledged as art, Asnaketch has come to build a solid reputation for her clarity of tone, her rhythmic perfection and melancholic love poems. In 1998, she was given a lifetime achievement award from the Ethiopian Fine Arts and Mass Media Prize Trust. Read more…

Yirga Dubale (1929-2011)

May 24, 2011 2 comments

Yirga Dubale, an iconic masinko player, raconteur and poet, left a lasting musical legacy when he died from nerve damage last week aged 82. Over the course of his career, which spanned more than 60 years, Yirga strived to broaden the exposure of Amharic folk and patriotic music with an intensely communicative style. With current of lyricism that expresses solidarity with the poor, he had an active role in preserving and promoting the Gondar’s Azmari tradition.
Born in Koza Belesa of Gondar region in May, 1929, Yirga developed an interest in music at an early age. His father, Likke Mekuas Dubale Negash was a celebrated music player who demonstrated to his son the deep pleasure of music. Yirga started playing maskino (a violin-like instrument) at an early age of ten. At twelve, he left his family and headed to Gondar town, beginning an itinerant life. Over the next few years, Yirga honed his skills and began to make a name for himself performing in cabarets and public places. Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam

Yohannes Gedamu (1947-2010)

March 21, 2010 10 comments


By Achamyeleh Debela
I want to tell the world that I lost a very dear friend, and a brother. I hate the idea of facing the reality that he is actually no longer here — now, my miserable now. But I take solace and pride in what we shared with the short time we had for the last 50 years. After all, Yohannes Gedamu was my childhood friend. Together, as young as 16, we made plans and decided to go to the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts. We took the two-month summer entrance course in 1963 and passed the exam, but the Director told us both we were too young and sent us back home. We cried together and later began to wait for Ato Ale Felege at the school entrance as he came to work and we prostrated, begging to be allowed to enter. We did this for several weeks (Dejtinat) but Ato Ale wanted us to go back and continue our academics. Yohannes returned to the Seventh Adventist Mission School in Akaki, but I persisted because someone had joined the 9th grade at Prince Mekonnen High School claiming to be me. Read more…

Categories: Arts, In Memoriam

Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin Memorial Prize launched

September 9, 2009 3 comments

A new prize named after the acclaimed Ethiopian playwright and poet Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin was launched in Addis at the National Theater on Monday, September 7. Established by the playwright’s family members and friends, the Institute of the Language Studies of Addis Ababa University Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin Memorial Prize is intended to encourage literature and theater arts students to study hard, pursue senior honors and contribute to the art world.
The prize intended to be an annual event would be given to the best contribution by a student member. Berhanu Asfaw from the Department of Ethiopian Languages and Literature and Tegegnto Sinshaw from the Theaters Arts Department were winners of the first prize. Read more…

Categories: City Journal, In Memoriam

Creator of “Astawesalehu”dies

August 27, 2009 6 comments

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One of the most successful musicians of the 1970s and 80s Colonel Lemma Demissew has died at the age of 68 on Saturday, August 24.A pianist, composer, singer and arranger, Lemma was the leading musician of Armed Forces band, a band that has entertained the army and visiting heads of states for decades. Among his appreciative audiences were Fidel Castro of Cuba, Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi and the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
His songs such as “Astawesalehu” “Adrashas Tefabegn” and “Des Balagnalech” are still popular hits.
Lemma also maintains reputation for arranging many of Mahmoud Ahmed’s and Alemayehu Eshete anthological vinyl records. Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam, Music

A look at Entoto Maryam(part 2)

August 19, 2009 9 comments

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According to sources in the church, the establishment of Entoto Maryam came through prophecy. Long before the reign of the Emperor Menelik, there was prophesy about a king who would build a church in honor of the Virgin Mary on Entoto Mountain. At around 1880 the then king of Shewa Menelik waged a war against Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam at Embabo which he won easily.
It was then that he decided to bring the ark of Entoto Maryam to Shoa which he kept at first in a small house in Entoto, the location for the present church. Subsequently, the ark was moved to its present location after the church was built with financial contribution by Empress Taitu. The Empress took it upon herself to take care of the church and even became its first administrator. During the next years, the church exhibited growth and development. Read more…

Categories: City Journal, In Memoriam

A look at Entoto Maryam

August 17, 2009 11 comments

Emperor Menelik II is regarded by many as one of the greatest Ethiopians of all time. He was often, simultaneously soldier, politician, king, raconteur and some-time brick-layer. This can be seen at the church of Maryam (St. Mary) on Entoto Mountain, in which he has taken part in the building work.
The great modernizer of Ethiopia Menelik was born on 17 August 1844 in Ankober. He would have turned 165 today. Befitting the occasion, this weekend I set out to explore Entoto Mariam Church, the Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu Memorial museum and former palace located in the church’s very compound.
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For anyone who wishes to trace Atse Menelik’s legacy, visiting the church is important as it was here that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in November 1889, and his image hangs on its walls. The monarch himself personally played the leading role in establishing the church as part of his effort to build up his new capital Addis Ababa which in English meant New Flower. Read more…

Baalu Girma Foundation formed

February 15, 2009 9 comments

bealuIt was 25 years ago today that the famous Ethiopian writer and journalist, Baalu Girma, was abducted by the military junta Derg. He hasn’t been heard from since, but his legacy continues.

The Baalu Girma Foundation, established in his memory, has just been launched.

The foundation set up by his daughter Meskerem Baalu Girma “will strive to empower creative writers and journalists underrepresented in East Africa”, it was said.

“We are happy to announce that a foundation has been set up in the author’s name to advance his literary work and vision.”, wrote Meskerem.Find the web here.

Categories: In Memoriam

Memorial for Dejazmatch Zewde

January 7, 2009 Leave a comment

On January 1, 2009 the Institute of Ethiopian Studies organized a memorial service for the late Dr. Dejazmatch Zewde Gebre Selassie at the Addis Ababa University’s Ras Mekonen hall. Tributes poured in on the occasion, friends and families sharing their reminiscence of the nobleman and historian.

Prof. Bahru Zewde spoke of a historian and public intellectual who he said stands out for his unwavering commitment to his Ethiopianess.

“He has abundantly made it clear both in his publications and deeds,” Prof Bahru said during the memorial. “We celebrate him, not because of his ethnic affliction, but because of his lasting commitment to the idea of Ethiopia.” Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam

Farewell, Minilik

December 26, 2008 2 comments

Swinging Addis still holds a fascinating charm, thanks to in part to singers like Minilik Wesenachew. The songs from that period are still well-liked and heard frequently.

Minilik was part of those golden years when the Ethiopian music bloomed. Certainly, he was one of this country’s leading musicians, along with Tilahun Gessese, Mahamoud Ahmed, Girma Beyene, Alemayehu Eshete and others.

He died early Wednesday after a battle with complication related to pneumonia. As word of his death spread, the singer was remembered both by experts and ordinary folks for his opera like golden voice. Many said the country had lost a legend who had touched the lives of many people through his music. Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam