Tribute to an Ethiopian Cultural Icon – By Lakech Abebe

April 24th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

It was with a great sense of grief and loss that I put pen and paper together to express the sad feelings that came over me when I heard about the passing away of Tilahun Gessesse- the best Ethiopian vocalist and all-round artist who entertained and educated generations of Ethiopians in his long and illustrious career. (more…)

It was with a great sense of grief and loss that I put pen and paper together to express the sad feelings that came over me when I heard about the passing away of Tilahun Gessesse- the best Ethiopian vocalist and all-round artist who entertained and educated generations of Ethiopians in his long and illustrious career. He was a person of great charm, unparalleled artistry, charisma and devotion to his motherland. There cannot be an Ethiopian whose life has not been touched in one way or another by the indisputably superior talent of Tilahun Gessesse. He was not merely a talented vocalist but also an accomplished entertainer and educator. His songs talked about love, manners, social challenges, political satire of significant import, empathy for the downtrodden and marginalized, devotion to motherland and much more. He reflected the rich cultural diversity of Ethiopia by singing songs in Amharic and Oromigna –two of the major languages of Ethiopia. Such unforgettable melodies as “Alchalhum, Mona Lisa, Min largachew, Tizita, Gifa bel and others talked about freedom, love, social responsibility, nostalgia, commitment to motherland and a host of other emotions that define the artifact, mentifact and sociofact of Ethiopian culture. He sang all of them with unparalleled vocal finesse, clarity and conviction that most have already become classics of Ethiopian popular musical culture.

I am glad to note that the great Ethiopian people showed the proprietary respect, tribute and admiration at his funeral. He was and will remain one of the greatest cultural icons of Ethiopian culture for generations to come. I join my countrymen and women to pay my ultimate respect to Tilahun and my condolences to his family and close friends whose loss is understandably most personally and intensely felt. The entire Ethiopian people have lost a talent that was incomparable both in a material and spiritual sense. May God rest his soul in peace and give his family the strength and courage to persevere in this time of great loss and sorrow. We are all sojourners and in time will join him in the after life. Until then, we should cherish the great contributions of this giant of Ethiopian culture. Definitely, the material Tilahun is no longer with us but his spirit lives on in every one of us. As he joins the world of such other Ethiopian cultural icons as Bizunesh Bekele, Minelik Wossenachew, Kassa Teferra, Firew Haile, Engida Worku and many others whose names are inscribed in the cultural history of Ethiopian popular musical culture, we wish his soul to rest in eternal peace.

  1. FOR NAZI WEYANNE HITLER MELES
    | #1

    NOW TILAHUN IS DEAD WE ARE VERY SAD AND TEDDY AFRO BY WEYANNE LEADER (TENKOL) IN MELES PRISON !!! MOT LEMELES ZENAWI AND MOT FOR AZEB MESFIN!!……………..

  2. ETHIOPIA SAYS
    | #2

    NOW THE KING IS DEAD OH MY GOD BUT TILAHUN GIVE HIS SON LEOUL TEDDY AFRO !!! LISTEN STUPID WEYANNE MELES TEDDY AFRO NOW IN YOUR PRISON BUT NOW TEDDY NO PRISON HE SING SONG FOR KING OF ETHIOPIA SINGER TILAHUN GESSESE BUT STUPID KEMALAM ZEREGNA WEYANNE MELES ZENAWI………..

  3. ETHIOPIA SAYS
    | #3

    NOW TILAHUN IS DEAD WE ARE VERY SAD AND TEDDY AFRO BY WEYANNE LEADER (TENKOL) IN MELES PRISON !!! MOT LEMELES ZENAWI AND MOT FOR AZEB MESFIN!!……………..

  4. al
    | #4

    stop rubish talk and walk the walk. saying ‘kimalam’ doesn’t help anyone to get rid of tyrants…it is rather a sign of frustration and helplessness. Editor, please stop posting the type of stupidity I see above.

  5. dody
    | #5

    really Tilahun is a king of our nation very sad to hear about his passed away.

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    ሙታን ይነሱ: መንግስት ላይ ይጩሁ::

  7. Gudfela
    | #7

    Much has been said about Tilahun Gessesse. But we need to translate talk into deed. I am proposing that a Cultural Center be erected in his name in Addis Abeba. We need action oriented committee to develop a project of the above nature and we raise the fund accordingly.

  8. mamushe
    | #8

    The loss of my greatest hero, Dr. artist Tilhun Gessess, is one of the worst loss in Ethiopian history. Tilhun is the lonely greatest artist ever. He is a God given gift for Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Even he is gone for good flushily, his music and soul lives forever with us. To be honest I love Tilhun to the death.
    My God bless his soul.
    My God be with on the side of his families and Ethiopian people who saddened by the loss of their national hero.
    mamushe

  9. mamushe
    | #9

    P.S. I would like to thank the Ethiopian government for their cooperation to let State funeral takes place for him. It’s good for them showing the human side of them. Every body take a breath in, and say its nice of them.

  10. Ras Alula
    | #10

    @ETHIOPIA SAYS
    U small mind with big headed. This is not a F%$£g chat room. It is a sad news for all of us. Don’t spread your he-treat in the web.

  11. Anonymous
    | #11

    @FOR NAZI WEYANNE HITLER MELES
    YOu are toooooooo unkind

  12. Lemma
    | #12

    It was so sad about the death of Tilahun.
    We need a sommber thought of his past and the future of the Ethiopian
    Houspitals to do the wright medical services to sick people on time instade of sleeping on duty.
    There is no reason to go to hospital unless one is sick,In our country case there is no place to go when people are ineed of help.
    Verey sad to be in the proffesion of medecal,shame on them.
    Imagen for the rest of the commen people,they will die on the door of the Hospital.

  13. WEGESHAW
    | #13

    Meles Zenawi’s “condolences” or “YeAzo Enba”?

    From the Prime MR office:
    Herby I forward my condolences to the family of Dr.Tilahun Gessese with great honor and feeling of deepest sorrow. Artist Dr. Tilahun Gessese has contributed a lot in introducing Ethiopian music to the World by using his talent during his entire life. He will be remembered as one of the best musician every Ethiopian should be proud of….
    I wish courage to his family.
    With Greetings,
    Meles Zenaw
    Personal signature

    I have read the above mentioned condolences of “Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi” directed to the passing away of every Ethiopian’s beloved Artist Dr.Tilahun Gesesse at the IGA forum. Indeed let his soul rest in peace, I as an individual Ethiopian who was raised and grown listening his heart touching and sweet songs also wish to his closest relatives and friends & most of all to the entire Ethiopian people courage on this big lose to all of us! In addition to this I appreciate the gesture of
    Mr. Prime minister for his “touchy’ condolences expressed by the highest government personnel and I truly believe that such kind of gesture leads the country to reconciliation and healing of deep wounds!
    If one notices this kind of behavior of the PM, it is happening for the first time and even it might raise questions why now? Is it meant to win the Ethiopian peoples hearts and minds after so many atrocities have been committed? Or is it a political smart move before the coming “election”, in order to show that the present Government and specially Mr. PM really care for Ethiopian people? If this gesture is genuine then the PM will have to go much further than that, since this action is just the iceberg compared to the brutal destruction and hurt perpetrated on the people of Ethiopia! Dr.Tilahun Gessese was a true son of Ethiopia and a good gesture towards his passing away means winning of Ethiopian’s people hearts. Giving condolences to Dr.Tilahun Gessese’s sudden death means showing good gesture to Ethiopia, as the good Artist was one of the best symbols of Ethiopian ness, On the other hand Ethiopia has been bleeding in the past by TPLF and is continued to bleed up to near death. Due to these reasons, the condolence expressed by enemies of Ethiopia is not genuine and rather it is an insult to the Ethiopian people rather than honor! A “Prime Minister” who claimed “Ethiopia doesn’t need Medical doctors” has to be one of the main reason of untimely death of Ethiopians beloved son Artist Dr. Tilahun Gessesse ! Other Questions which could be raised to the good PM would include, if you really wanted to be good to the Ethiopian people, then why didn’t you show even a simple regret on the massacre of over 100,000 young Ethiopian soldiers who have shade their blood on the border war of the 1998-2000? Why is it not investigated till now? Why didn’t you allow the investigation of the Anuak massacre?, Beddeno Massacre? Gonder, Addis, Awassa, Ogaden,Tigray, AU massacres. What about the Somalia massacre? What about the 40,000 still imprisoned Ethiopians kept in inhuman conditions, including innocent individuals like Birtukan and “Tedy Afro”? What about mothers who don’t even still know whereabouts of their beloved children? Refugees around the world who lead life of misery? Dose the PM have any moral value to write a letter of condolences? Or we take this as just “crocodile’s tears”? Is this not laughable in front of the Ethiopian people? I realty invite every Ethiopian for discussion on this topic!

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