The “Tikur sew” video was inaugurated in a grand ceremony in the presence of thousands of people at Hilton hotel on Tuesday, June 5. Ashenafi Zeleke, General Manager of Adika Communications and Events PLC, expressed delight about the event. Ashenafi who has rich experience in organizing events was deeply touched by the emotions and feelings of the people at Hilton on Tuesday. He talked with Capital’s Solomon Bekele about marketing Tikur Sew.
Capital: What did you think of the event at the Hilton?
Ashenafi Zeleke: It was indeed very fantastic. I have seen lots of people who came just to see the historic music video. That event reminded me of a combination of both the deeply rooted cultural ties with our fore fathers and the value of the country’s rich history. Tikur Sew is dedicated to Emperor Minilik II, his brilliant minister of Defence Fitawrari Habte Giorgis Dinegde and the other commander Dejazmach Balcha Abanefso. These are the real heroes of the country; for the famous victory over the Italians which made Ethiopia the pride of Africa. By any measurement defeating a European power, Italy in 1896 in Adwa was a victory unthinkable at that time. But they did it. So when we try to portray the actors of that great event it requires very careful work. In the song Tedi (Tewodros Kassahun) hit the target. We did all what we could to keep that tempo in the film. From the feedback we received so far, I think, we have achieved that. That was why you saw a bright face on every member of the audience. Some were really nostalgic. It was very inspirational.
Capital: What kind of reception has the video received?
Ashenafi: The feedback is beyond our expectations. Many people sent us messages of encouragement were very supportive about what we produced in the film. But two days is not enough to give the full picture.
Capital: There are many people involved in making the video. Horses were also present. How long did you take to complete the clip?
Ashenafi: It took us almost four weeks. That was not an easy task. We had to read the historical facts of the battle of Adwa and make an attempt to duplicate what was done over 110 years ago. In that sense I think we made a great achievement.
Capital: How many people participated in the film? What do the horses represent?
Ashenafi: There were 400 people and 32 horses who participated in the film. As you know that represent the cavalry force the Ethiopians had during the battle of Adwa. Back in 1896 the Calvary was the most decisive branch of the military.
Capital: Where did you make the film? Unconfirmed sources say that some of the film was taken at Adwa, some 750Km away from Addis Ababa, where the war took place against the Italian invaders on March 2, 1896.
Ashenafi: No, the film was not shot at Adwa. It was taken here at Ayat area in a hilly place that looks like Adwa. But we went to Adwa and filmed the scenery. So what we did was we superimposed the Adwa scenery in to the film taken at the hill close to Ayat area.
Capital: How much money did you spend for the film?
Ashenafi: We spent over half a million birr.
Capital: That is a stupendous sum. How many copies do you intend to sell to cover your expense?
Ashenafi: So far we don’t have a plan to sell the clip. We intend to distribute it for free. We are now discussing on how best to distribute the film to the people for free. One way is to give the clip for free for those who buy the album this time. We will find out another good option to distribute the clip for free.
Capital: Doing this kind of work entails team work. Whom do you think contributed most in the production of the clip?
Ashenafi: Classification of the participants is difficult. All participants performed very well. Of course we thank Diegeo for the willingness to participate in this kind of artistic work. Meta Brewery is the sponsor of the album. They are very enthusiastic about being more involved in this industry. This is very encouraging. We are grateful for the Addis Ababa University students who enthusiastically participated in the film. The students were extremely passionate about duplicating the country’s history in a way clear to the people. The other and most important player of this film is Sabisa film production. The film would not have been possible if not for their gallant contribution. Most of the work was done by us. There is no need to thank ourselves. But what I want to say is Adika and Belema are determined to put their finger print in the music industry.
Capital: What is the contribution of Tedi Afro?
Ashenafi: The lyrics of the song which are written both in Amharic and Afan Oromo are his works. He is original in many ways. So his contribution is, without doubt, priceless.
Capital: What are the lessons you gained from this video?
Ashenafi: Ethiopia has a very rich cultural and historical heritage. It is possible to exploit this heritage by mixing it with the modern music industry. As we saw little has been done in this regard.
Capital: What is your future plan?
Ashenafi: We are now planning to be engaged in this sector with full power. Regarding Tikur Sew we are planning to organize concerts but in the long term we will work with other musicians to have more original work in this industry. This was a learning process. We gained far more than our expectations. We have seen the desire of the people and their attachment with our history and culture.