Eyob Mekonnen: A model of Existential seriousness (Teodros Kiros, PhD)

August 22nd, 2013 Print Print Email Email

Hope. Principled Love. Honesty. Loyalty. Deference. Humility. This is the stuff of which life is made.

Eyob Mekonnen, the very voice of existential seriousness addressed us Ethtiopians with utmost respect for our intelligences and tried to wake us from the slumbers of our sleep. He shunned popularity and refused to thoughtlessly succumb to the vagaries and moods of the music industry.

Tremendous thoughts and vessels of pregnant tears were his companions as he struggled with words to think clearly and honed his voice to sing to the African world and the Ethiopian present. His songs were neither understood nor appreciated by an Ethiopian audience drunk with the dance to numb its pain and to forget its situation.

The thinker- singer was a thorn in the regime of thoughtlessness and the banality of hate.
Through a series of songs mediated through a golden voice, the singer-thinker with a natural existential temperament sought to wake us up, so that we can see; sung to us so that we can hear; touched our consciences so that we can rise and change our individual situation.

He told us that the word was given to us so that we can think (Yekuanka Felasfa); admonished us to keep our promises and be true to our words (Ande Kal), taught us that one could love unconditionally and without monetary enticements and shallow appearances (Ye Ewntewanew); that hope is given to us in the form of a tomorrow, for which we must wait patiently (Negen Layew); that Africa must be united for the sake of the African condition (Ande Africa); and that we must always be honest, no matter how hard it is (Endatefash).

These songs and many others speak directly to the Ethiopian present through harmonious lyrics and the moving vibes of Reggae. One is moved to dance but this time one thinks as he/she dances, that one is engaged with the world and that one does not dance to forget pain but to confront it, if necessary through tears of joy, and the releasment of pain, of pain that enlightens.

Eyob has brilliantly Ethiopianized Bob Marley’s soul and wrapped himself inside the existential envelop of the Rasta world. Pain, hope, action are blended with despair, disappointment and frustration, in a singularly melodic voice that is infectious, moving and full of hope for the human being, who wants to change, who is willing to challenge the stubborn Ego to submit to the silent voice of the Transcendent who chose Eyob to speak to us, so that we can be enlightened and think deeply about our individual situation as Ethiopians, as Africans and most importantly, as thoughtful human beings, who must think before we speak, and speak through and from the depth of our hearts, the human organ, which never lies and is always illuminated.

Eyob was a symbol of the illumined musician, a seeker born to suffer, but also teach through that suffering.
What a loss!

Ethiopia has lost its first thinker-dreamer, a philosophical mind with a natural existential temperament. Handsome, soul full, brilliant, Eyob Mekonnen, the silent superstar has gone to the other zone and become one with the Transcendent.

Teodros Kiros (PhD) is Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts) Berklee College of Music

  1. Dawi
    | #1

    Thanks Dr. Teodros.

    [[.Ethiopia has lost its first thinker-dreamer, a philosophical mind with a natural existential temperament. Handsome, soul full, brilliant, Eyob Mekonnen, the silent superstar has gone to the other zone and become one with the Transcendent…]]

    When I first listened to Eyob’s music a couple of years ago, I was taken by surprise listening to the serious lyrics with that fantastic voice of his. I remember saying, Who is this guy??… with such a marvelous talent and searched to listen to all the rest of the songs available in the internet. I just couldn’t believe such a talent was hidden from us and the main stream Ethiopian media for so long. I am really sorry he is gone with such an early age.

    As Dr. Kiros said, not many artists these days write with a meaning behind their lyrics; [Negen Layew] , [Nekechalhu], and Yekuankua Felasfa are great songs to listen to. The following location has some of his collections. Check it out!


  2. ግሩም
    | #2

    የኢዮብ ሞት እጅግ በጣም የሚያሳዝን ነገር ነው፡፡
    እንደዘመኑ የዘፈን ወረርሽኝ ብልግና-ብልግና ገንዘብ-ገንዘብ ውርድት-ውርደት የሚሸት ሳይሆን ስለሰው ልጅ ክቡርነት ሰው-ሰው ፍቅር-ፍቅር ከብር-ክብር የሚሸት ጥልቅ ምስጢርና መልእክት ያላቸው ዘፈኖችን የዘፈነ ወጣት ነበር፡፡በእውነት የዚህ ወጣት ዘፈን ሰዎችን በተለይም ሴቶችን እንደ ተራ ሸቀጥ ለሚመለከተው ለዘመኑ ግሎባል ካፒታሊዝም ብዙ የማይመች ነበር፡፡ክቡር የሆነው የሰው ልጅ እንደሸቀጥ ሲቆጠር በተመሳሳይ ሁኔታ ኪነ-ጥበብም የሰውን ልጅ መንፈስ የሚያድስ የሚያነቃቃና የሚገነባ ሳይሆን እንደዚሁ በዋናነት ለገንዘብ ትርፍ ተብሎ የሚሰራ ተራ ሸቀጥ ይሆናል ማለት ነው፡፡ኢዮብ በዚህ የዘመኑ ፈተና ውስጥ የነፍሱን እውነተኛ ጩኸት ያዳመጠና ማንነቱንም ያስመሰከረ አርቲስት ነበር፡፡ቀኑን ለሰውልጅ ሌቱን ለአራዊት ያስገዛውን የፈጣሪን ህግ ጥሰን “ነይ ማታ-ማታ የምን መኝታ” እየተባለ የአክረሽ ምቺው የፍንዳታዎች ልቅ ዘፈን ሀገሩን ባጥለቀለቀበት ሀገር ውስጥ እዮብ ግን “ህዝቤ ሆይ ወደቤትህ ግባ” እንዳለው ቅዱስ መፅሀፍ አደብ ገዝተን ወደ ሰውነት ቀልባችን እንደንመለስ የሚያደርግና መንፈስን የሚያረጋጉ የመንፈስ ምግብ የሆኑ ስራዎችን የሰራልን የልጅ አዋቂ ታላቅ ወጣት ነበር፡፡አሁን በዘመነ ግሎባል ካፒታሊዝም ያለው የሀገራችን አጠቃላይ የኢንተርቴይንመንት ኢንደስተሪው እንደገና በጥሞና ሊፈተሸና ሊመረመር የሚገባው ወቅት ላይ ነው ያለው፡፡ያለበለዚያ ሀገርና ሀገር ተረካቢው ወጣት ትውልድ ድምፅ በሌለው መሳሪያ የእለት ተእለት ሞት እየሞተ እያለቀ ነው፡፡የመሳሪያ የዜማና የግጥም አቀናባሪዎች የነፍስን የኪነ-ጥበብ ጥያቄ ለገንዘብ እየቀየሩ በረቀቀና በተቀነባበረ መንገድ ሀገርና ሀገር ተረካቢውን ወጣት ትውልድ የማንነት ቀውስ ውስጥ እየከተቱት ነው፡፡እንደሚወራው ከሆነ ታዋቂ የኪነጥበብ ሰዎች አዲስ አልበም ሲያወጡ በቅድሚያ ዋና የሚያስተዋውቁት ነገር የአልኮል መጠጥ እየሆነ መጥቷል፡፡እጅግ የሚከበረውና የሚደነቀው እኔም የማደንቀውና የማከብረው ቴዲ አፍሮም “ነፍሴ እጅ እንዳትሰጪ ለኪሴንና” ታሪካዊውን ጥቁር ሰውን በሰራበት ድንቅ የአርበኝነት መንፈስ የኪነ-ጥበብ ስራ ውስጥ የቢራና የኮንዶም ማስታወቂያ እንደቀላቀለበት ተነግሯል፡፡ይህንን የመንፈስ ምግብ የሆነ ቆንጆ-ቆንጆ የኪነ-ጥበብ ስራችንን ከስር ክስር እያነፈነፈና እየተከታተለ የሚያቆሽሽብን እርኩስ መንፈስ ደግሞ በእውነት ይህ ገንዘብ የሚባለው ነገር ነው፡፡አዎ ይህ ገንዘብ የሚባለው ነገር ይሁዳ አዳኙን ክርስቶስን ለገንዘብ አሳልፎ እንዲሰጥ ያደረገ ነገር ነውና ዛሬም የሰው ልጅ አንዱ ጥልቅና ሰፊ ፈተና በዚህ በገንዘብ ዙሪያ የሚያጠነጥን ነው፡፡ሰይጣን እየሱስ ክርስቶስን የፈተነበት የመጨረሻው ፈተናም የዚህን ዓለም ስልጣን ክብርና ገንዘብ በማሳየት ነበር፡፡unless we become the owners of our survival economy and money-Credit system then we shall never ever become the owners of our real wage value and dear life in general. I mean while money rules the entire world and humanity in general then we can not rule and control our deal life the way we want it and the way it should be.ይህንን እያልኩኝ ያለሁት የምናደንቃቸውና የምናከብራቸው የኪነ-ጥበብ ሰዎቻችን ይህንን ተረድተው ከፊታቸው የተጋረጠውን ሀገርና ትውልድን የማዳን የመገንባት ታላቅ ፈተናና ሃላፊነት እንዲረዱት ለማስታወስ ጭምር ነው፡፡ለዚህም ነው በተደጋጋሚ እያራመድን ያለነውን ሀገራዊና አለም አቀፋዊ ስርዓተ-ማህበር(Social-Order) ምንነት በጥልቀትና በስፋት መጠየቅ መመርመር መረዳት አለብን እያልን በተደጋጋሚ የምንናገረው፡፡አሁን እያራመድን ባለነው ሀገራዊና አለም አቀፋዊ ስርዓተ-ማህበር(Social-Order) ውስጥ ነገሮች እኛ ከምናስበውና ከምንጠብቀው በተለየ መንገድ እጅግ በረቀቀና በተቀነባበረ መንገድ እርስ በርስ እንደ ሸረሪት ድር የተቆላለፉና የተሳሰሩ እንደሆነ ብዙዎቻችን በቅጡ የተረዳን አይመስልም፡፡This so called manufacturing homogenous Global-Society(What we call Globalization) through Social-Re engineering compliant to homogenous global consumerism through brainwashing and indoctrination mainly using the emotionally sensitive and contagious Entertainment-Industry is one of the insidious schemes of destroying local cultures and norms.ይህ እንዳይሆን ደግሞ የሰው ልጅ በአርአያ ስላሴ የተፈጠረ መንፈሳዊ እሴቶች ያሉት ክቡር ፍጡር እንጂ ዝም ብሎ ተራ ሸቀጥ አግበስባሽ እንዳልሆነ በተቀደሰ የመንፈስ ምግብ በሆነ ኪነ-ጥበባቸው የሚያስታውሱን ብዙ ቴዲ አፍሮዎችና ዳግማዊ ብዙ እዮቦች ያስፈልጉናል፡፡

    እግዚአብሄር የኢዮብን ነፍስ በገነት ያኑራት፡፡
    መፅናናትንም ለቤተሰቦቹና ለአድናቂዎቹ፡፡

  3. Peace
    | #3

    My condolences go out to Eyob entire family and friends.
    How do we know for sure if our young talented Ethiopian musicians and other Ethiopian artists dying of natural causes? Or if these priceless Ethiopian treasurers are being murdered one by one with some kind of poison or by some other method? Let’s not forget the very people who massacred 400 or more Ethiopians in Gambela and the staggering number of Ethiopians deaths in other parts of Ethiopia.

  4. አስፋው
    | #4

    አቡጊዳ፣ በጣም አመሰግናለሁ ይህንን ሰው በሞቱም እንኳ ስላስተዋወቃችሁኝ። ስሙን ከዚህ ቀደም ሰምቼው አላውቅም። በጣም አዘንኩ። አበባ ይህን ሊንክ ልካልኝ ተጨማሪ ትምህርት አግኝቼአለሁ። ቤተሰቡን እግዚአብሔር ያጽናቸው። አሜን

  5. A big fan
    | #5

    Heart wrenching news… another young Ethiopian gone too soon without seeing the end of tplf. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I’m also deeply sorry that our motherland Ethiopia keep on loosing her talented young children one by one. Ethiopia not only being robbed blind of material things — hundreds of thousands of her children are also thrown in cold prisons, tortured and killed needlessly.
    Eyob, may you rest in peace. You will always live in our hearts for ever. The cause of Eyob’s death will always be a mystery to all of us that love him and his music.

  6. Hailu
    | #6

    Is that because this guy is Tigre that all the weyane media outlets including esat is exaggerating this guy.does he realy song for Ethiopians who are satrved to death and those who are killed by weyane sharp shooters or about those who are displaced from thier village.i do not think so.anyway let him rest in peace please do not destutb him.

    | #7


  8. Anonymous
    | #8

    Hailu #6,
    Thanks for the info. Now we know why all of a sudden Teodros Kiros comes out to say a word about one of his own. Not a word from Teodros when our Ethiopian Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters mistreated and slaughtered by his TPLF party, but when one of his people die or incarcerated, he always has something to say. What a shame! Anyhow, let Eyob rest in peace. May our country and our patriotic Ethiopians like Eskinder and the likes of him set free from the hands of the disgraced, mass looters and murders.

  9. Rule of Law
    | #9

    This is unbelievable indeed! Although I have never heard his song nor have I known that he even existed, the deceased artist was a treasure of Ethiopia for all practical reasons regardless of what ethnic background he might belong to and I am extremely dumbfounded to read so much hate and racism even in times death. How insensitive and indifferent can you guys be to criticize the writer for expressing his condolence on behalf of the young singer? I am assuming “hailu” and “anonymous” are ethnic Amhara but do you realize how you guys have reduced yourselves to such cynicism so much that you lost sight of the fact that there are many many Tigreans who are opposed to the TPLF-led regime? If you guys think that all Tigreas are supporters of the regime, you are dead wrong. Off course this doesn’t make any difference for I, Teodros, or any other Tigrea know who he/she is. You guys are the reason that the opposition is polarized and fragmented. Hate us or love us, We the Tigreas have stood our ground for thousands of years as part and parcel of the Ethiopian history. It’s lamentable though that you guys forgot our contribution in history because of these late-coming looters.

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    Rule of Law: “–I am assuming “hailu” and “anonymous” are ethnic Amhara…” You have shown your true colors.
    You are lucky that Ethiopians regardless Muslims or Christians happen to be very patient and peace-loving people who do not brush all their patriotic Tigrean brothers and sisters with the same TPLF brush. You in the other hand, have shown your deep rooted hate towards Amharas without valid reasons like the rest of TPLF blame the poor Amharas in a New York second. You are so dead wrong about Amharas, Gambelans, Gurages, Oromos, Wolaytas and all the other Ethiopian ethnic groups. If they ask you what have Amharas have done to you, you won’t come up with one valid point, except with the same propaganda false made up story that was created and fed to you and the likes by the two evil cousins Issayas and Meles to divide and loot Ethiopians.
    Tecola, as well educated as he is, he should have noticed the evil mindset of Meles and TPLF and distanced himself. Instead, he WAS their close confidant and adviser for a longtime. The crimes of TPLF and their killing spree didn’t start 23 years ago after they took power, TPLF started torturing and killing their own patriotic Tigreans and other ethnic group who showed love and believed strongly in Ethiopiawinet, particularly, the Amharas. Don’t tell me Tecola didn’t know the brutality and history of Meles and the rest of TPLF and what they were up to. You have some nerve to name the Amhara ethnic group while Ethiopians are being looted, beaten, tortured, thrown in filthy prisons, massacred in every small and big Ethiopian cities and towns. Unlike you, Amharas and the rest of Ethiopians don’t pull the race card and put unfounded charges and blame the entire Tigrea ethnic group, as you yourself have shown your total ignorance and blame the poor struggling Amharas. You see, I came from a family of almost every ethnic group either by blood or marriage, including Tigreans and Eritrians and Christians and Muslims. My love for my motherland and my fellow Ethiopians is genuine. I only hate, hate itself…the last 23 years Ethiopians under TPLF have been experiencing and witnessing what PURE EVIL-DEMENTED HATE looks like. You have some nerve!

  11. Teodros Kiros
    | #11

    I refuse to be drawn to anger against the irresponsible words of “ananymous”. I simply invite him to read what I have written on Eskinder and the opposition long before the selected voices which are masaqerading in Ehtiomedia.

    Please research before you write and think before you speak. I feel very sorry for you and your likes.

  12. Justice
    | #12

    Rule of Law,
    As you seem to be aware, the despicable TPLF are responsible for causing so much harm and horror on Ethiopians from South to North and from East to West of the country. You should be thankful and give gratitude everyday that Ethiopians (regardless Christians or Muslims) are not like some Middle-East Islamist fundamentalists that believe eye for an eye tooth for a tooth. You and the likes of you have a lot to be thankful. You need to stop spreading false rumors on Amharas. You have no room to blame other ethnic group. Blame the looters and the killers that came from your own backyard.

  13. Anonymous
    | #13

    Tecola #11,
    Come on Tecola! Are you saying Ethiopians don’t have enough reasons to be angry? The crimes of Meles and the rest of TPLF didn’t start 23 years ago — they started killing their own Tigreans that didn’t agree with TPLF philosophy. And yet, you were one of Meles’s confidant advisers. As they say: “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”
    A MUST READ ARTICLE! Every Ethiopian SHOULD read this well documented SHOCKING article:


  14. Rule of Law
    | #14

    Quiet frankly, I have no idea what you two are yapping about. Who is spreading rumor on who? I don’t even like to use the term “Amhara” or any other ethnic identity because this plays in to the hands of those who divided us. I think you guys are falling in to the trap of the ethnic game which is the legacy of the late dictator’s doctrine. The fact that I mentioned the term “Amhara” does not necessarily mean I am against that ethnic group. I have been a vocal critique of the regime for the last 21 years and nothing can change that now or in the future. It is rather you who need to reexamine yourselves in the context of race and ethnicity. Evidently, you were outraged on Teodros’ statement of condolence on the untimely departure of the young artist just because according to you, “the artist was a Tigrea” This is what you wrote black and white therefore You two (anaymous and justice) are displaying some degree of prejudice against your fellow countrymen and this is unhealthy.I don’t even like to discuss about racial issues which is a travesty of the quest for our unity; having said that, you guys have the right to think or believe that all Tigreans are TPLF-supporters. It won’t surprise me because I see this cynicism every day in Ethiopian forums. As to the fact that “I should be lucky or give gratitude (I don’t know to whom) I can only tell you this. We know how to defend our rights and we are good at it. Deliver us from stupid people!!

  15. Rule of Law
    | #15

    why are you mixing Teodros and Tecola? They are two different entities except for the fact that they share the same initial. You can google them separately and you will learn that they have a distinct style of writing. The only thing the two intellectuals share in common is that they are opposed to the minority regime in Ethiopia. Tecola may have worked with the late dictator in the past but he parted his own way in order to preserve his moral integrity. Mind you, if Tecola were still Meles Zenawi’s legal adviser, wouldn’t he have lived like a king? Money, power and fame would have been at his disposal but Tecola Hagos is incorruptible. He chose to make a an honest leaving in the US instead of selling his conscience for every thing this world has to offer. What are you saying? Tecola tried to give them guidance in the right direction and they failed to listen and he abandoned them for good at an early stage of the EPRDF regime when no one including yourself could tell that they would end up becoming undemocratic and brutal tyrants at long last. Tecola is a patriotic Ethiopian who loves his country more than any material possession and his writings are consistent with his belief on freedom, justice and democracy. He is different from those who run the sites such as ethiomedia and ethiopianreview who are in to the business of የትም ፍጪው ዱቄቱን አምጪው “Google, baby google… knowledge is power.

  16. Teodros Kiros
    | #16


    Are you stupid. I am not Tecola. I am Teodros Kiros engaging your earlier stupidity an d incompetence, and this is my last word.

  17. Anonymous
    | #17

    Rule of Law, Teodoros Kiros or whoever your are,
    Considering the source, I expected to be insulted by you. Thanks, you have proven my point — Ethiopians like me have been hated and labeled as STUPID, INCOMPETENCE and AHEYA by TPLF for many generations. The insult, the hate, the anger and the energy you’ve shown and directed towards Ethiopians like me should be directed at TPLF criminals that have left the country landlocked, looted the country blind and continue to inflict unimaginable, unspeakable act of horror on Ethiopia and Ethiopians as we speak.


  18. Teodros Kiros
    | #18


    I will call you a stupid individual again, until after you raise yourself to the standard of humanity. All your correspondences prove my point. You are in dire need of self-education and self-control.

  19. Anonymous
    | #19

    Well, once again you prove your arrogance and how you see Ethiopians over all. Speaking the truth about TPLF’s human rights abuse, the looting, torture, mass arrests and massacre of innocent Ethiopians is a standard of humanity.

  20. Anonymous
    | #20

    Wow! You call people STUPID and you want people to learn self-control from you. It’s like do what I say, not what I do. LOL! So typical.

  21. Teodros Kiros
    | #21

    Do not confuse your stupidity with that of honorable Ethiopians. I am calling you, this particular and irrelevant individual stupid………………..again and again. Enough said, and you will never hear from me.

  22. Anonymous
    | #22

    Thank you #20.
    May the New Year bring the end of TPLF. Inqutatash and Happy New Year to all Ethiopians and especially, to my new friend Teodros Kiros. May all Ethiopians live in peace with mutual respect and love.

  23. Anonymous
    | #23

    Compare to what my motherland and our patriotic Ethiopians like Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and other millions of peace loving Ethiopians like them enduring at the hands of the hateful, racist, brutal, merciless, professional thieves, and godless TPLF/woyanes, I take your insult with a grain of salt. So long and I wish you nothing but understanding, patience and peace. Peace and harmony to all peaceful and God fearing Ethiopians.

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