Ethiopia holds state funeral for ‘legendary’ vocalist

April 23rd, 2009 | |


See Funeral Pictures (EthiopiaZare)

See Funeral Pictures (AddisJournal)


APA - Ethiopia is hosting a state funeral for its “legendary” artist with thousands of people gathered at the Mesquel Square in Addis Ababa for the ceremony.

It is the first such state funeral in Ethiopia’s history.

The “legendary” artist, Tilahun Gessesse, who passed away, last Sunday, was Ethiopia’s vocalist who was on stage for the past 50 years.

Since his death last Sunday, Ethiopian national radio and television as well as the FM stations and local newspapers have been giving a wide coverage about his works.

On Thursday, the farewell ceremony started at his home, and his body was brought for the farewell ceremony at Mesquel Square in Addis Ababa where several people were already gathered to pay their last respects to Ethiopia’s most respected musician.

The farewell ceremony was accompanied with military march and with a flower laying ceremony.

Tilahun Gessesse, 68, passed away late on Sunday within hours of his arrival from the United States for the Ethiopian Easter celebrations.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the state president Girma Woldegiorgisse sent their condolence messages to the ceremony in which they expressed their appreciations to the vocalist for his hard work in promoting Ethiopian music.

All national radio and television stations suspended their daily news programs and were giving live broadcast oh his funeral ceremony, taking place at the Trinity Church in Addis Ababa.

According to his life history read out at the farewell ceremony, Gessesse has over 400 songs touching on love, social and national affairs, among other issues.

In appreciation of his contribution to Ethiopian music, Tilahun received an honorary doctorate degree from Addis Ababa University three years ago. He has also received an award for his lifetime achievements from the Ethiopian Fine Art and Mass Media Prize Trust.

“Although today is a sad day for Ethiopia, but we cannot say Gessesse has died. He is alive with us with his unforgettable works,” said an artist.

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