Monday marked the first day of the new Ethiopian year, but it hasn’t been much of a holiday for Teddy Afro, the country’s biggest pop star.
First, the government informed him that his New Year’s concert was canceled. Then, on Sept. 3, police broke up the launch party for his successful new album, “Ethiopia,” in the middle of the sound check at the Hilton Hotel, claiming Teddy hadn’t received permission to hold the event.
“Asking for a permission to organize an album launch is like asking a permit for a wedding or birthday party,” Teddy wrote on his Facebook page. “This is unprecedented and has never been done before because it is unconstitutional.”
But government disapproval certainly isn’t anything new for Teddy: This year was his third straight aborted New Year’s concert. And even as “Ethiopia,” which briefly hit No. 1 on Billboard’s world music chart, could be purchased or heard on virtually every street corner in the capital, Addis Ababa, after its May release, Teddy’s songs were nowhere to be found on state radio and TV. An interview with a public TV network was even canceled at the last minute, prompting the resignation of the journalist involved.