Teddy Afro | Les Nubians

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 04:03 AM EDT, 22 September 2009

Teddy Afro, Photo by Mengedegnaw

During my travels in France, I was introduced by my fellow Africans to the political revolutionary music of Teddy Afro and the Afrocentric pride expressed by Les Nubians.

Teddy Afro had been released from prison earlier that year after being jailed by the government on baseless charges which were levied against because the government couldn't risk charging him with sedition.

The politicians behind the move erroneously calculated that imprisoning him would silenced his calls for unity and freedom, but only served to coalesce his followers intent on revolution.  His song, 'Yasteseryal' featured below angered the government because it presented a history of Ethiopia which was unfavorable to the ruler, Haile Selassie


The song from Teddy Afro's interviews is not political but is a call for love of and unity among all Ethiopians. In the song he urges Ethiopians to celebrate their rich, ancient and diverse culture, which should be a source of pride. Though a lot of division and castes exist in Ethiopia, until there is unity the nation will be unable to move forward and deal holistically with the many problems which plague the nation including drought and starvation.

At that time neither Teddy Afro or Les Nubians were as visible in the American popular music scene as they were in Europe. However,find that certain artists, particularly musicians and Indie actors, continue to push against the tides of debasement, and speak the truths that we all seek to hear which is what makes them equally engaging.

Les Nubians wrote and sung the song 'Makeda' which also pays tribute to an Ethiopia and African women. The song is an homage to the great Queen of Sheba. Makeda, is the Amharic name for the Queen of Sheba and in this song by the same title, Les Nubians are paying homage to the great Queen, and to the strength, beauty, integrity and life affirming qualities of all African women.

As I continue to search my soul and hone my voice, I am pleased to highlight the musicians/artists/writers/poets/singers who have had a profound impact on me. The basis of music, at least for me, is poetry and verse.  When I write, I think in visual terms, the words dance in my head, like a jigsaw puzzle of floating petals, that I gently reach up, to pull down, and hook together into soliloquies thoughts which I send out into the universe of my fellow human beings.

We are each here, at this time, and in the space to help the world and make it a better place.  We each have been granted the tools to accomplish our unique missions, and as an artist I have and will continue to explore the full gamut of these giftings.

Makeda, the Queen of Sheba is an integral historical figure in my life as an African Jewish woman.  Les Nubians proclaim that Makeda lives in them, and indeed, Makeda lives in all African females.  As I go into the New Year, it is with great joy and happiness that I can in my own way, pay homage to this greatest of African Queens.

  • Watch the video  Makeda vie en moi here. Though in French it translates to Makeda lives in me.
  • Visit Teddy Afro's Official Website Here.