Teddy Afro (in Amharic: ቴዲ አፍሮ ; real name: Tewodros Kassahun, in Amharic: ቴዎድሮስ ካሳሁን) is a popular Ethiopian singer.
In 2001, Teddy released his debut album, Abugida, named after the Abugida syllabary of the Ge'ez language. Several tracks quickly caught the ear of many listeners in Ethiopia - Halieselassie, a tribute to the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I; Haile, Haile, a single in honor of the Olympic long distance champion Haile Gebrselassie; and Mona Lisa, a song about the measure of human beauty.
His second album, Yasteseryal, was released in 2005. The release of this album coincided with elevated political tension in Ethiopia surrounding the Ethiopian general election, 2005. His politically and socially inspired songs vibrated a call for unity and peace. However, some of his songs were not welcomed by the supporters of the government.
In his latest song dedicated to the Ethiopian Millennium and entitled Musika Heiwete(Music is My Life), the renowned Ethiopian popular singer, Teddy Afro (Theodros Kassahun) traces the geneaology of his music to classical Zema or chant compositions of St. Yared, the great Ethiopian composer, choreographer and poet, who lived in Aksum almost 1500 years ago.
Teddy, who is widely known for his songs mixed with reggae rhythms and local sounds, heart warming and enlightening lyrics, shoulder shaking and foot stomping beats, blends his latest offering with sacred musical terms, such as Ge'ez, Izil, and Ararary, terms coined by St. Yared to represent the three mainZema compositions.
In so doing, he is echoing the time tested and universalized tradition of modernity that has been pioneered and institutionalized by Yared. Teddy seems to realize the importance of seeking a new direction in Ethiopian popular music by consciously establishing links to the classical and indigenous tradition of modernity of St. Yared. In other words, Teddy Afro is setting an extraordinary example of reconfiguring and contributing to contemporary musical tradition based on Yared's Zema.