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R.I.P Dear Tilahun

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 21, 2009


Ethiopia’s legendary singer Tilahun Gessesse dies

Jimma Times

tilahunThe renowned and veteran Ethiopian singer Tilahun Gessesse died at the age of 68 on Sunday night in Addis Ababa.

Tilahun, who has been getting threatment for diabetes in the United States, returned home to Ethiopia to join his friends and family for the Easter holiday. It was reported that Tilahun was complaining about pain in his heart on Sunday night and he passed away as he was being taken to a hospital.

The national television and several FM radio stations in Ethiopia began playing his songs in tribute and fans called to express their sorrow as well as honor the legendary vocalist. According to his family, Tilahun always wished his death would be on Ethiopian soil.

Tilahun, who sang songs both in Amharic and Afaan Oromo, was born on September 29, 1940 to Gete Gurmu and Gessesse Negusse. His music interest began while he attended Ras Gobena Elementary School in Waliso town, the base of Ethiopian Patriot Gurassu Duke during Italian occupation, and Tilahun was later hired by Hager Fikir Theater to start his career.

He produced several of his hit songs during the days of Emperor Haile Selassie I, as the lead singer in his imperial bodyguard band.

Tilahun sold millions of albums singing about love, family, unity and country. He has been a dominant figure in Ethiopian music and will receive a state funeral later this week. Tilahun was given a Honorary Doctorate Degree from Addis Ababa University for his contribution to music during his five decades of career and he received an award for lifetime achievement from the Ethiopian Fine Art and Mass Media Prize Trust.

Ethiopia will miss you!


2 Responses to “R.I.P Dear Tilahun”

  1. Msrs,
    I can not tell you and yours how heavy my heart become as a result of the sudden passage of the Legendary (as you said and as the world knows)vocalist and the right guru of the art. I understand everybody dies sooner or latter. No human being is eternal. But, can’t you see the man died when his love is still fresh, his seeds still flourishes, his commitment to the art is still burning and even turning inferno.

    As we all know the one who died, being loved and honored and cherished,… isn’t, but those who do not have love for themselves let aside for their fellow countrymen. This can be best explained simply by observing the death and funeral of the leaders of this country the so called Ethiopia. We, know how kings (Atses) of Ethiopia died and buried. The simple example history tells us is that the death of Minilik, whom his natural death became secrete for long time before becoming known publicly.
    who is the king then? Hilesilassie whose death was supposed to be in prison and no one saw and attended his funeral ceremoney as a leader who once led the country. Tell me who is the king then? I would say TILAHUN, TILIYE, TILE… is!!!

    The other thing that I want to hing to the reader is that, if proper health facility is in the country (both private and governmental), the death of the king (coz I want to call him a king) than a singer, would have been at least postponed to another day. According to some informations he died when he was on the way in search of call it Clinic, Hospital, etc for help and treatment. Imagine, when family drives the person who is in trouble, when they themselves are in trouble in private car. Why not Ambulances? Why no doctors were assigned to Hospitals (both in private and in government? It is humans that they serve, not their bellies, that they left hospital and went to their respective homes to fill their fucken bellies. Awsome
    ! Isn’t it?
    Anyway, finally in Ethiopia.. now on I can confidently say that no one is guaranteed as a citizen.
    But as for TILAHUN, he lives forever, in our heart and head.
    We love him! We adore him!
    Let the GOD of heaven and earth take him to the heavenly abode.
    MOT ENQUAN CHEKNO!!!!!!!!!!

  2. AddisAbram said


    Thank you for sharing your condolances with us. A very nice piece of parallel thought that you brought to compare the popularity of such dedicated Artist like Tilahun Gessesse, to those of “responsible” public figures. I second your thoughts on that. I am overwhelmed by the reaction of Ethiopians, worldwide, to the death of our dearest pioneer Artist. I wish we could have shown our admiration and love while Tilahun was still alive. Anyways, He might possibly be able to see it from above. Thanks!

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