Toronto man returns to Ethiopia a pop star

Toronto man returns to Ethiopia a pop star

Akkas jedhee gale ture; “The system changed, the people changed, I changed,” Kemer says. Gurbaan yeroo akkas jedhu, bara 2008 keessa yeroo ijoolleen keenya sadarkaa olaanaatti sirna Wayyaaneen hidhamaa fi ajjeefamaa turan.
Oromoonni hedduun akka isaatti kaayyoo sabaa faayidaa dhuunfaaf hin kennine; namni kaleessa diina cinaa dhaabbate, har’a immoo qaanii tokko malee waan biraa odeessa.
Namni ‘integrity hin qabne hin amanamu; namni diina saba isaa ajjeesu waliin shubbisu, waa’ela diinaa ti; boohus, dhiisus kabajaa hinqabaatu!!

A Toronto man who once fled Ethiopia in terror is to return Saturday as the country’s No. 1 pop star.

(thestar)–A Toronto man who once fled Ethiopia in terror is to return Saturday as the country’s No. 1 pop star.

Kemer Yousef, who escaped on foot with nothing 24 years ago, has scored an unprecedented video hit with Nabek, a seven-track DVD showing him singing from a yacht in Toronto Harbour and dancing on the steps of Casa Loma. Clamour for his return has become so great that the central government is helping to arrange a six-concert homecoming tour that opens Dec. 7 at the East African country’s largest indoor venue – Addis Ababa’s 20,000-seat Millennium Hall.

For Kemer (Yousef is his father’s name) the tour means seeing his family for the first time since he escaped across the desert to Somalia at the age of 20. His mother is in her 70s. His father is 103.

The tour also means singing to former enemies.

Kemer belongs to the Oromo ethnic majority, long oppressed by successive ruling minorities, who are now as swept up by the pop phenomenon as anybody else.

“Ethiopia has more than 70 ethnic groups and languages,” tour co-producer Bumiden Abdul Wahab explains by phone from the central city of Adama. “Normally people only listen to their own music, follow their own traditions.

“Kemer shook up the country,” he says. “He broke the barrier. Every time you turn on the radio – in whatever language – you hear his music.