Ethiopian Heritage society North America (EHSNA) is deeply saddened to learn the passing away of Artist Tesfaye Lemma early Friday morning, February 1st, 2013.

Artist Tesfaye Lemma was the longest-serving director of “Orchestra Ethiopia” of the former Haile Selasssie (currently Addis Ababa University “AAU”), which is an ensemble of 30 traditional instrumentalists, vocalists, and dancers from various regions and ethnic groups of Ethiopia. In addition to his role as the director, Artist Tesfaye Lemma also composed and arranged music for the ensemble. He was appreciated, admired, and valued by many popular Ethiopian legendary artists, whom he introduced to the nation. Furthermore, he has served as the third director of Orchestra Ethiopia from 1966-1975.

Artist Tesfaye Lemma was a highly esteemed composer, choreographer, conductor, and cultural expert in his beloved home country, Ethiopia. His artistic achievements and contributions are known throughout Ethiopia and within the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States and beyond. Consequently, he earned the nick name “The Father of Traditional Ethiopian Music”.

Artist Tesfaye Lemma had been in a retirement home where he received around the clock medical care until his recent death. He was fortunate enough to publish a book that has many textures in regards to Ethiopian music.

Artist Tesfaye’s loss was particularly felt hard at EHSNA because he was considered a member and family of the Ethiopian Heritage. Artist Tesfaye Lemma was a strong supporter of EHSNA in whose mission and goals he believed. He had honored EHSNA by being a guest speaker at its first and organizational launching fundraising event in May 2011. Moreover, Artist Tesfaye Lemma was scheduled to be and he agreed to be EHSNA’S presenter last year in 2012 at our annual Festival, but did not make it due to failing health. As a result, the loss of Artist Tesfaye is considered as a loss of a valuable asset to EHSNA.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and members of the Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America, I express the deepest heartfelt condolences to Tesfaye Lemma’s family members, friends, and his funs.

May his soul rest in peace!!

Kaleb Amare
EHSNA Public Relations Officer