Teddy Afro – an Ethiopian experience?

Thursday night – Christmas Day – was the night of the long-awaited Teddy Afro concert in the grounds of the Ghion Hotel. I went with a bunch of people from the Embassy. There were big crowds. To explain … Teddy Afro is very popular in Ethiopia (Addis?) in part because of his music and in part because at the time of the last elections he released some songs that became the focus of anti-government and pro-democracy sentiment.

Spot the Teddy?

Spot the Teddy?

Some of his songs were banned and a couple of years later he was imprisoned. Some say that he was imprisoned for running someone over. Others say that his imprisonment was politically motivated. Anyway, he was released (early) a while back and remains a major icon for young people – I’m including people of my age in that category – in Ethiopia. It will be interesting to see how vocal he is in the run up to elections this year.

Anyway, first we had to contend with a very inefficient and bureaucratic beer-selling system. Stage one was having to pay some money to some one in a pitch black tent, where a bloke was trying to wire up a bulb to some live cables while tottering on a chair. Then having Qd 30 minutes for that, you were directed to another tent to try to exchange the piece of paper you’d just purchased for beer. Having Qd for 20 minutes, it became apparent that the beer tent was devoid of beer. When the beer eventually arrived I was told that I should have swapped my first piece of paper for a second piece of paper, but they took pity on me and gave me some beer.

I was thinking I’d never come across a two-stage system for buying beer but then remembered that we’d had to do the same in Pacha at Sharm el Sheik. Must be something about this part of the world. They’re all in de-Nile. Boom boom.

Teddy didn’t come on for 3 hours. Then he did 1.5 songs and the sound system blew. Actually, must check whether there are any conspiracy theories about that. Then he did about 45 minutes, which were good, but we were far from the stage and there were no screens to see projections of him. Anyway, was an experience. I’ve now got one of his CDs – sounds much better than the gig did. Some low-quality photos of the concert can be found here

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