Where are they now?

October 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm 6 comments

They weren’t many of them around. So many were the eyes focused on them, Ethiopian celebrities of the pre and immediately post-Dergue era. That also being the era where an Artist won’t be given the time of day unless in trouble with the government, dead or in need of urgent medical assistance, the minute they moved from the public eye, they are as good as dead. This is, therefore, my attempt at “Esti Enastawsachew” to Artists who once lighted the dark screen.

Artist Abebe Teka
We’ve all heard the story about the greek philosopher Diogenes, “the cynic”, who used walked through the streets carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for a human being, but unable to find one. But how many of us know Abebe Teka’s “sew tiru, sew tiru annd sew” is the Amharic version of that song? He’s cute, he’s a playa and quite in touch with his emotions (especially when a prize is involved 😉 ). Artist Abebe Teka: a heart-throb and a dream boat of the girls from my generation.


Once you saw her in one of the many adapted-for-TV dramas of Yilma Habteyes’ detective novels she did with the likes of Artist Wegayehu Nigatu, you are unlikely to forget her. She was the Halley’s commet of her era creating in many of us young’uns a yearning still to be pacified. She’s also the founder of Taitu Entertainment Center, that has been providing training about the art of writing and acting to students in the high school, college, as well youths in church. Last time I saw Artist Alemtsehai Wodajo was on a video of Artist Muluken Melese’s wedding, looking happy and very pregnant.

Artist Alemtsehai Wodajo, MiddleHere is what member of the Ethiopian Student Assocation (EsAi) website has to say while nominating her for something or other:

 … renowned artist and living theatrical legend, Alemtsehay Wodajo. She is truly a unique individual who has dedicated her life to Ethiopian Performance Art and literature. She has worked as a performer, author and producer of numerous plays, and poems. She had appeared on many stages playing leading roles, a testament to her exceptional acting ability. She has also worked on TV, radio and cinema in Ethiopia, Europe and North America. She is a very talent poet and song writer whose songs have been sung by leading Ethiopian singers.


Artist Dereje Kebede

Regardless of our stand regarding his view of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, as described in his song: “Zinjero Aydelehum”, most of us have a soft spot for Gospel Singer Dereje Kebede. According to the myths related to him, he is the ultimate “prodigal son” of the herd or body of Christ. Holding his guitar high when being a “Zemari” paid nothing but can cost one his/her life, but switching loyalties when things became relatively easy, Dereje Kebede is more enigmatic than the god he claims to worship.


Artist Kalkidan (Lily) Tilahun

She, along with the famous “Shibsheba Choir” where her younger brother (Dagmawi -DaGi- Tilahun) was also a member, helped break the stigma against and played a role in revolutionizing the Protestant church gospel music in Ethiopia. Filled with love, admiration and awe for the Creator, her songs show what a true “Worship” song is meant to sound like. Kalkidan (Lily) Tilahun is the only Gospel Singer whose spiritual songs this blogger doesn’t mind listening to from time to time inspite of being a sworn Agnostic.


Artist Abebech DeraraIf the color black had a golden lining, Abebech Derara’s skin would be it. She’s sexy, luminious in her Afro, endowed with the voice of nightingale. Abebech Derara, or as we used to call her, “beshewa lay dese tachun beBorena..” is a treasure the city of Hossana gave the rest of Ethiopia.


Artist Aster Kebede - curtsey of Daniel from Germany

You may or may not have heard of her romantic involvement with Neway Debebe. But you’ve been told how she moved to Saudia Arabia, got married and quit singing. Rumor has it that she is planning a big comeback. Hoping it would be as good as “Abebaye Hoye” or “Ante Amele Tiru, Ante Amele Shega” or even better .. we roll the red carpet and demand the VIP treatment for Artist Aster Kebede.


Her my space profile called her “Ethiopian Cultural Ambassador”. Artist Kuribachew (Kuri) Hailemariam is not just drop-dead gorgeous but the greatest traditional dancer of all times.

Artist Inye Takele

Remember “Hizb Le Hizb”? Ofcourse you do. And who is the first person that comes to mind? Cute baby face Inyie Takele! Traditional Dancer and proud owner of “Inyie Ethiopian Restaurant”.


Tirufat Gebreyes Sahlemariam Beyene
“Tirufye” (Tirufat Gebreyes) and Sahlemariam Beyene of “Yelijoch Gize”


And, ofcourse, the Artist who took Ethiopia’s Comedy to a new level: Lemenih Tadesse

Artist/Comedian Lemenih Tadesse

Anybody I forgot to mention?

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

The ocean in the seashell Daddy’s too big a shoe..

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mazzi  |  October 13, 2008 at 1:50 am

    What a pleasant journey down on memory lane…. 🙂

    I am a child of the 80’s and how nice to be reminded about some of the ‘celebrities’ and ‘TV personalities’ of that era. I too wonder what became of them, and where they might be. I look forward to finding out if anyone writes back about their where abouts.

    For a very brief and not so glorious moment of my childhood, I was a regular on “Yelijoch Gizze” program on TV. When the opportunity presented itself, I could not wait to meet Abbaba Tesfaye in person! He was as close as I came to ‘celebrity’ worship, and naively thought it would be magic to interact with him in person. Oh how wrong I was.

    It was fun hanging out with Turufat, Sahlemariam, and other children featured in the program. We all witnessed Abbaba Tesfaye narrate his famous children’s stories to a solitary TV camera pretending that he could actually, through the camera lens, see and talk to the children watching him from their living rooms. Off camera, however, I found that man to be cold, serious, and not so friendly to children at all!!! Can you believe that??? Sahlemariam, with her very serious face, was more friendly and compassionate to children than he was. Every one knew to leave him alone after he recorded his story telling sessions and he often disappeared somewhere in the offices away from the children.

    I nipped my little ‘celebrity’ worship in the bud then and there, and I have taken that lesson with me even across the ocean to the land of celebrity worship. So thanks Abbaba Tesfaye for an early invaluable lesson!

    Turufat once made me and other nerdy looking kids (not thrilled to have been lumped in the nerdy looking group) read on TV Amharic poetry that was written by other kids from around the country and sent to the program through mail. She told us to lie and say we wrote it!!!! (Sorrry Turufiye if you are reading this :-(.) Even then I knew what we were doing was wrong. I hated doing it, and wondered if the actual kids who wrote the poems were watching me on TV with disbelief.

    The whole charade and the absolutely dull programs were beginning to be a bore, and I was not disappointed when they stopped calling me to be part of the program.

    I wonder if they have better quality children’s program on Ethiopian TV now a days for those who can not afford satellite TV……..

    hmmmm….

  • 2. Mengedegna  |  December 20, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Tiru tiwusta neuw, abesheet. Yihew eneim be’shewa la’y dessei, tachun be’borena eyalku, sigoogle ezih dedjish la’y kettef alku be’tizeta.

    Now, I am not sure if it was Abebech Derara who first sang the song, but the one I recall watching on ETV’s “Hibre Tri-eat” was a (lead) singer from a Harar band who allegedly was killed with most of her band members during the civil war in 1991.

    Was that Abebech Derara or someone else? I know there was a tendency back then to have a song recorded by many other artists.

    Esti mela beyign, abesheet. Ye’tizeta mengedegna hognei Qerehu’esa.

  • 3. Anchi!  |  June 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Anchi lij!
    Where in the heck did you get Sahile Mariam and Tirufat’s pictures?! The rest I can also find on the net. lol….Abebech Derara was interviewed by Alebachew wayyyyyyy back when they were both thin. See it at ethiotube.com. I always liked how she wore her hair natural yene zoma. Aster Kebede ahunim timechegnalech, yehonech chachut dimts. Also her video is up. hmm let me see. Kuri has been nicked Viagra by the dc diaspora. Limenih is keeping on best he can. Alemtsehay is a goddess for what she does, true artist. Abesheet you are the best for digging this up. I always love your blogs, ok? You are simply amazing on how you connect us to an innocnet times of our youth and bring matters to our attention in a humanistic sort of way.,peace

  • 4. whorwe  |  June 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Okay, so the truth MAY have been revealed. What is going to happen next? How long have these hybrids been mixed within us? Are there any ‘good will’ halfbreeds in the mix. Another thing, WTF are we so preooccupied with the minute icons on the celeberty totem pole? What about the ones who are leading us to be bred to die? What about the POLITIANS? The ones who are really in charge.
    Obama is a freak with 200 tongues and 300 heads, but he’s still a puppet. Ans so are we (puppets). Like Jewel asks; “who will save your soul?” Obama is an affirmative action hire pin-up. You think the world dislikes blacks now, wait til this President gets done. Blacks will be walking targets. Yes, I am bi-racial.
    And Beyonce is a creature….a big ugly screetching one.

  • 5. DIDO  |  June 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    THANK YOU, not only the people i remember also the dream i had in old days they were pure,
    Go in peace

  • 6. mamush  |  February 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Ohh I got that mixed feeling, It just took me back to 1980s when I was very small kid ordered by my father to dance with these legendary Ethiopian singers and entertainer. So what I can say now, just lived all those years to see beautiful days

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