Last night I attended a concert by Teddy Afro. I think I'd heard the name maybe once before K mentioned going. The concert was being held at the Ghion, so I imagined a nice little crowd in one of the ballrooms or something. Imagine my surprise when we started seeing cars parked on the road on the other side of Meskel Square. We ended up walking a kilometer to the show, which was outside, in front of a cast of several thousand ardent fans. I had purposely dressed light in expectation of being inside a packed, hot indoor venue. Yikes. I wrapped my scarf tighter and we got a drink and waded into the crowd. We saw K's roommie and various associates. The crowd was at least 99% Ethiopian. In the dark we didn't stick out like light bulbs.
The warmup act was a DJ dressed in L.A. gangbanger kit, including the sideways hat. How is it that gangster rap and pro wrestling are our big entertainment exports? Yeesh. After much ado, smoke bombs, laser flashes, and the band playing a loooooong intro, Teddy himself strutted onto the stage wearing... a black business suit complete with folded pocket square. Huh? Teddy is a great entertainer, really playing to the crowd with a big smile and many mentions of Addis Ababa and its various neighborhoods. He played for about 1/2 an hour and then took a break. I thought only bar cover bands did that. A comedian performed for about 15 minutes, who was apparently funny. Teddy reappeared in jeans and a Haile Salassie T-shirt. He continued his ultra-accessible mix of reggae, funk, and Ethopian/Amharic music. It's no wonder he's so popular. Even though I didn't understand a word of it, the beat had us dancing to every song. (My legs are sore this morning, from that or the gym, one.) The sound system was top-notch and even 1/2-way back in the crowd the bass notes had my pants legs rippling.
At Teddy's second break it was waaaaay past my bedtime and we decided to head out. So I don't know how long Teddy played. Anyway, it was good music, a fun and welcoming crowd, and warm enough if you kept dancing.