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  • HORSEMEN KEEP TITLE HOPES ALIVE AS SIDAMA TRAIL

    HORSEMEN KEEP TITLE HOPES ALIVE AS SIDAMA TRAIL 05 May, 2017

     
     

    Week 27 of the Ethiopian Premier League is to be staged across the country this weekend. St. George will travel to Jimma to play against Jimma Aba Bunna while Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, who are hoping to avoid relegation, will host Sidama Coffee at Addis Ababa Stadium. In another fixture, Ethiopia Coffee will face Electric on Sunday at the national stadium.

    With the season coming to an end, unlike previous seasons, it has become difficult to predict who will be crowned champions. However, last week’s EPL matches were close to unveil title winner. The Horsemen’s impressive run continued with a 1-0 win over Hawassa. The lone goal came in the 16th minute from Saladin Said. The Horsemen managed to secure all three points are three points clear from second placed Sidama Coffee having a game in hand against Fasil City.

    Though Hawassa City were dominant in ball possession, they were not able to find the back of the net. After three consecutive losses, Hawassa City are placed 9th with 31 points. The Horsemen will travel to the south-west to face Jimma Aba Bunna. A win for both sides is crucial as St. George will strengthen their lead while Jimma will be on track to avoid relegation. In last week’s match between Jimma and Ethiopia Coffee ended in a goalless at Addis Ababa Stadium. Jimma are placed 13th with 28 points.

    St. George the remaining matches are against Electric (H), Addis Ababa City (H), Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (H) and Fasil City (H). Based on the remaining fixtures, the tie against Jimma will be the last away match of this season for St. George.

    Elsewhere, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) will host second placed Sidama Coffee at Addis Ababa Stadium. Last week, title chasers Sidama Coffee beat Addis Ababa City on home ground. Haile Eshetu of Addis Ababa City opened the score sheet on the 18th minute. But, Sidama found the back of the net twice on the 37th and 55th minutes with both goals coming from Laki Sani. Addis Giday’s 61st minute killed the Addis Ababa City’s hope of staying in the top flight. Sidama victory enabled them to move second with 46 points. Addis Ababa City are still dangling in relegation zone with 19 points.

    In other EPL fixtures, Dedebit will take on Fasil City, while Ethiopia Coffee will play againt Electric. Fifth placed Adama City will travel south to play against Arba Minch City.

    St. George lead the table with 49 points with a game in hand. Sidama Coffee follow with 46 points. Dedebit are third with 45 points while Ethiopia Coffee are fourth 43 points. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, with 24 points and Addis Ababa City with 19 points, are placed 15th and 16th at the bottom of the table.

    Week 27 EPL fixtures

    Saturday 06/05/2017

    14:30 Defense vs. Dire Dawa City

    16:30 Commercial Bank of Ethiopia vs. Sidama Coffee

    Sunday 07/05/2017

    15:00 Dedebit vs. Fasil City

    15:00 Arba Minch City vs. Adama City

    15:00 Jimma Aba Bunna vs. St. George

    15:00 Hawasa City vs. Woldia City

    16:30 Electric vs. Ethiopia Coffee

    Monday 08/05/2017

    16:30 Addis Ababa City vs. Woliata Dicha 

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  • THE HYPE OF TEDDY’S NEW ALBUM

    THE HYPE OF TEDDY’S NEW ALBUM 05 May, 2017

     
     

    The release of one of the most acclaimed artist Teddy Afro’s album, entitled “Ethiopia,” definitely is one of the stories that “broke the Internet” (went viral) among Ethiopians and the Ethiopian diaspora.

    Various memes, pictures of the artist, verses from the lyrics and reflections from his fans are some of the content social media pages of Ethiopians and those in the diaspora are composed of.

    The virtual commotion seems to be shared on the ground, specifically when one considers what is happening on the streets of Addis. Following the release of the album, vendors have been trolling the major thoroughfares displaying the front cover of the album adorned with a photo of the vocalist as they try to lure residents – pedestrian or otherwise – into buying a copy.

    The phenomenon  created a temporary job opportunity for street vendors who praise the artist with remarks such as Yegna Jegna (our hero). Amusingly, there was a tent around Mexico Square with a framed picture of the artist hanging visibly and huge speakers amplifying the music to passersby. Especially in the morning last Tuesday, demand for the album was high, and the price of a copy went up to 100 birr. Whereas other albums normally sell for 25 birr, the going rate for Teddy’s album is 50 birr.

    Some city residents The Reporter approached said that there were amazing scenes such as that of a vendor approaching a taxi full of commuters. The taxi stopped instantly and all of its occupants purchased a copy of the album without hesitation. In addition to the fanfare, the soundscape of Addis changed this week with taxis, private cars, video stores, bars and other establishments playing his music.

    Without exaggeration, the situation is somewhat bizarre in that on top of playing Teddy Afro’s music in a loud stereo, the horn honking and chants of “Teddy Jegna” seem to come across as over-the-top reactions for those who do not have a taste for music or are not his fans. In a café located around Atlas Hotel called Mamo Kacha, The Reporter observed a person sending  songs from the album via Bluetooth that he purchased online to friends. In addition to the exchange of music, many people also changed their social media picture into Teddy Afro or that of Teddy Afro with Emperor Tewodros.

    This communal participation started with the news of the album release. The single “Ethiopia”, which was highly shared on social media, got more than 2,800,000 viewers.

    On the one hand, the song “Ethiopia” was criticized for preaching the grand narrative of Ethiopian nationalism without deconstructing the historical injustice, thereby denying the existence of oppression.

    Especially this criticism came from some Oromo “elites” who claimed the grand narrative of Ethiopian nationalism is one of glorification of an “oppressive empire state”. On the other hand, others praised him for calling for unity in an ethnically-divided Ethiopia.

    His fans actually go to the extreme length of giving him royal titles, comparing him to the country’s former rulers, including Emperor Tewodros.

    His fans do not stop at praising and defending his music talent and lyrical brilliance; but sometimes in a fit of frenzy can go so far as insulting and threatening people who dare criticize him. There were unfair comments that took any critique of Teddy Afro  as betrayal, and as a sign of being less than patriotic. This puts him in the picture in the current controversy on the question of nation and nationalities.

    Among his devoted fans, there is no gray area when it comes to Teddy Afro's music and it appears that there is no room for constructive criticism when it comes to the works of this particular artist. Due to such a polarized atmosphere, music critics keep mum and refrain from giving their professional opinions. A couple of music critics openly said they faced various kinds of threat from devotees of Teddy for daring to take a critical look at his works. Scared of the trolling and name-calling, they actually eschewed making any kind of comment about his music.

    Renowned bloggers are requested to say “good” vs. “bad” things about his music and they pass judgment depending on their political views.

    Within the two days, self-proclaimed critics are dissecting the lyrics, the music arrangement and the inspiration for his songs. Some of the comments include he has committed acts of plagiarism from famous artists, including Paul Simon and Alpha Blondy.

    Despite some claiming that the song “Adey” was copied from a song by Alpha Blondy, the album’s music arranger, Abel Paulos, contradicts that and says it was merely inspired by it. Another song was actually credited to Paul Simon by another arranger, but not in the case of Alpha Blondy.

     

    “We did not sample the song (of Alpha Blondy), but rather we used two keys which do not even qualify it for sampling," Abel notes.

    In addition to that, Abel says taking inspiration is a common phenomenon when it comes to reggae music. Talking about the process of producing the album, Abel says they used live instruments, including legendary musicians from Roha Band like Jovani Rico on bass guitar and Selam Seyoum on lead guitar.

    Abel, the arranger of nine songs of this album, previously arranged for vocalists such as Tsedenia Gebremarkos on her album “Yefikir Girma”, Abinet Agonafir’s songs such as "Astaraki", "Yachin Ken" and Gossaye Tesfaye.

    Calling it "historical and his proudest moment," Abel says that Teddy was highly involved in the production of the album.

    “Without compromising my creative freedom, he consulted me at every stage. However, many arrangers in the past complain that Teddy dictates what should be in the music. My experience was to the contrary," Abel adds.

    With such memorable songs as “Haileselassie”, “Tarik Tessera”, “Yasteseryal”and “Tikur Sew,” Teddy is widely recognized as an artist who transformed the Ethiopian music scene. Especially after the historical election of 2005, his songs seem to be a voice for those criticizing the status quo.

    His music is highly politicized and his every word is analyzed for juicy political tidbits.

    One of those examples is the release of his album, which was supposed to be released on Octave day of Easter, was put on hold. One of the reasons given by his fans was Teddy's resistance to release his album while the state of emergency is still in effect. Contrary to this, his manager, Getachew Manguday, says the release of his album was postponed  because of delays in printing the album covers. With a less-than efficient album-distribution system, and music shops struggling to survive due to the ever-declining sale of albums, Teddy Afro’s album distribution seems to proceed smoothly. According to Getachew, they devised a mechanism where the artist sold the album to a company called “Joyous,” that is now responsible for the distribution. Though Getachew did not want to disclose the amount of money the artist made through the sale, there are rumors that it was a seven-digit-figure deal.

    According to Getachew, the artist tirelessly worked on the album for the past two years and he is happy with the result. Plans are under way for the artist to hit the road and hold concerts in Ethiopia and overseas.

     

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  • A BROOKLYN DESIGNER’S ETHIOPIAN DREAMS 29 Apr, 2017 By Contributor

    A BROOKLYN DESIGNER’S ETHIOPIAN DREAMS 29 Apr, 2017

     
     

    Bolé Road Textiles weaves modern ideas with traditional craftsmanship, to vibrant effect

    By Stephen Koepp

    After more than a decade at a major architectural firm, designer Hana Getachew knew that she wanted to break out on her own. The turning point came in planning her wedding in 2014. “I wanted to have an element of Ethiopian design for my table linens” to reflect the vibrant patterns and colors of her native land. Her family had left Ethiopia when she was a child, but she still felt intensely connected to the culture. Her journey back home to source her table linens became the spark for a new business.

    In Addis Ababa Hana went looking for weavers. “I went to one location where one of my family friends sent me. I showed them my designs. It was kind of hilarious because I didn’t know about weaving, and they said it couldn’t be done. It took me a while to understand,” she said, that their traditional looms had their limitations. But the weavers offered their own version of her design that was even more pleasing, in such colors as pink, red, and fuchsia. The linens were a success. “The napkins were beige, with fuchsia and red diamond-shape patterning all around.”

    What started with wedding planning is now Hana’s own housewares firm, Bolé Road Textiles, based in Brooklyn and named after a bustling thoroughfare near her childhood home in Addis Ababa. Hana designs the patterns in her home studio, then turns them into textiles for pillows, rugs, curtains, towels, and other products in a running conversation with master artisans in Addis Ababa. She sells about half her merchandise through e-commerce on her website and the rest through retailers, including Home of the Brave in Greenpoint and Collyer’s Mansion in Brooklyn Heights.

    Two families of design

    Most of Hana’s collections are inspired by nature, including landscapes and flora. Two were based on traditional textiles: the Konso Collection, drawing on styles from the south of Ethiopia, and the Heritage Collection, inspired by the customs of the Ethiopian Highlands. “Traditional Ethiopian dresses in most of the country are all-white cotton with colorful patterns on the hem, cuff, and sometimes neckline. These patterns, called tibeb, can be extremely decadent and saturated with color,” Hana says. By contrast, the clothing of other regions is often bold throughout. “Southern Ethiopia is comprised of over 80 ethnic groups, so it’s difficult to generalize. But in the areas known for weaving in the south, the entire garb will typically be full of pattern and color.”

    When Hana was three years old, her family moved from Addis Abbaba to Montreal, where they lived for a few years before moving to New York. Hana graduated from Cornell University with a degree in interior design and went on to become an associate principal at Studios Architecture in Manhattan, where she designed the offices of major corporations. Along the way, however, she made a return trip to Ethiopia 18 years after she had left, and never forgot the “overwhelming beauty and power of my first homecoming.”

    How she got started

    Leaving her job at a big firm was a “scary thing,” since she loved the work, but she went with her instinct. “I spent several months designing and producing two textile collections, which included a trip to Ethiopia to finalize the pieces in conversations with weavers, who are organized into collectives. “Anytime I approach them with a design, they’ll come back with something that’s even better. I couldn’t believe the variety of designs, altering my design a little.” While Hana always planned to sell her products via e-commerce, she decided to debut her brand with an event: Bklyn Designs in 2015, where her distinctive aesthetic got noticed.

    Since her first trip to meet the artisans of Addis Ababa, Hana has learned quite a bit about weaving. “While western looms typically have four or more harnesses and treadles, allowing weavers to easily lift up various combinations of yarns on the warp to create intricate patterns, Ethiopian looms only have two harnesses. This means that in order to create a pattern the yarns need to be lifted manually with a stick in a technique that’s similar to what we call ‘double weave’ in the west,” she explains on her website. “And because of the differences in their looms, Ethiopian weavers often have to do much more manual work than weavers in the west. Bolé Road’s process can be even more challenging as we often introduce new and intricate designs that are outside our artisans’ traditional repertoires.”

    Bolé Road produces small batches in each of its runs, so any particular design comes in a limited quantity. The material used most often to make the textiles is hand-processed Ethiopian cotton yarn, known for its thick and soft texture. Hana says that all of her products are “ethically sourced” and she donates a portion of her profits to the imagine1day Girl Fund, a group dedicated to the education of girls in rural Ethiopia. “These girls are my sisters, my cousins, my friends, and only a few twists of fate separates my life from theirs.”

    Hana plans to expand her textile line, including fabric by the yard. She’ll be displaying Bolé Roads new products at this year’s Bklyn Designs, May 5 to 7 at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. By the way, the wedding that launched a business also led to a growing family. Hana and her husband, a screenwriter, now have a nine-month-old daughter. After the baby was born, Hana launched Bolé Road Baby, with pillows, hooded towels, and a swaddle.

    Ed.’s Note: Steve Koepp is the editor of The Bridge. Previously, he was editorial director of Time Inc. Books, executive editor of Fortune and deputy managing editor of Time. The article first appeared on thebridgebk.com.

     

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  • OFFICIALS’ ASSET REGISTRATION DISCLOSURE A STEP CLOSER

    OFFICIALS’ ASSET REGISTRATION DISCLOSURE A STEP CLOSER 06 May, 2017

     
     

    By Dawit Endeshaw

    Almost six years after the enactment of the proclamation on Disclosure and Registration of Assets of Public Officials endorsed by the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives, the system which would digitalize the registration is almost completed at the cost of 200,000 dollars.

    The system developed by a local company called Africom PLC and its Indian counterpart took two years to complete. The companies have taken the contract from the Federal Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (FEACC).

    When the proclamation was endorsed, it was said that personal assets, possessions, incomes and the incomes 45,000 country’s ministers, high-ranking government officials and civil servants in key posts will be made public.

    The Proclamation is applicable to appointees, elected persons and public servants of the Federal Government and the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa city administrations. It also includes appointees of the defense forces and police.

    It also stated that any appointee, elected person or public servant shall disclose and register his assets within six months after the six months from the coming in to force of the Proclamation. Moreover, newly appointed, elected or employed person shall disclose and register the assets within 45 days following his appointment, election or employment.

    By the time, the registration process by the Commission was officially launched by recording the assets of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

    The new digital system is expected to have information including, the amount of money officials have in banks, shares bought by officials and title deeds. It will accompany both movable and immovable proprieties of the officials.

    It was said to be opened for the public, according to sources from the company.

    Moreover, it will integrate a system where a public can inform concerned bodies if a property owned by the officials is not registered in the system.

    If the information obtained through whistleblowing leads to the confiscation of assets under article 419(2) of the Criminal Code, the whistle-blower shall be entitled to 25 percent of the proceeds of the confiscated asset, reads the Proclamation.

    Even though, the system is being completed the data about assets of public officials which was believed to be under the Commission is yet to be digitalized.

    “The information is still in papers,” sources told The Reporter.

    The proclamation, which was yet to enter into practice, has been controversial as the result of clarity regarding online disclosure.

    According to the Global Financial Integrity (GFI), Ethiopia lost 3.326 billion dollars in illicit financial flows in 2009.The same report released by Global Financial Intelligence a year ago revealed that 26 billion dollars left the country unlawfully in many forms over between 2004 and 2014.

    Most of the illicit flows were due to the fraudulent misinvoicing of trade, according to the report.

    Moreover, a report by African Union’s (AU) high level panel on illicit financial flows (IFF) ranked Ethiopia ninth from the top 10 African countries with high illicit financial flows from 1970 to 2008 next to Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan.

    The panel, which was chaired by Thabo Mbeki, released the report back in 2015.

    The panel reported that Ethiopia could have lost 16.5 billion dollars due to illicit financial flow from 1970 to 2008, which was 2.3pc of the total IFF from the continent.

    The process of integrating the asset registration into digital is still on process, according to source from the commission.

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  • Social media critic still persists against Tewodros Tsegaye

    Social media critic still persists against Tewodros Tsegaye

    People are downplaying the comments suggested by Journalist Tewodros Tsegaye and his colleague about Teddy Afro’s new “Ethiopia” album draft poster and expectations of contents of his melodies in the new album.

    Social media posts are seriously critising the comments of the journalist as it reads: “comments on Teddy Afro album forwarded on Riyot show are totally not expert wise views, it lacks professionalism”.

    Tewodros commented on pictures of the draft poster for the album and he went on to say that, “Teddy Afro songs in the new album must come up with his new and original ideas than sticking to famous personalities as he did before”.

    Facebookers and some social media pages are still resisting the journalist for his comments, but he said in his show about Teddy Afro’s album that “We’ll continue to give our opinions, especially after the album is officially released”.

    Tewodros Tsegaye has a background of Bachelor of Arts in Law from the Addis Abeba University.

     

     

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