Sheger Yechewata Engida - Artist Alemtsehay Wodajo Interview With Meaza Birru
Alemtsehay is a visionary leader who founded artistic organizations and groups the most notable of which is the first Children’s Theater Group in Ethiopia named YeLijoch Amba, a group that trained young children, particularly orphans, in music, drama and the arts in general. Under her leadership, the group performed in many European and African countries and before many Heads of State visiting Ethiopia.
Alemtsehay is a founder of the Ethiopian Actors Association and has served as its chairperson for fourteen years. Her contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS has been recognized at the World Aids Conference in Sweden.
Alemtsehay is a prolific poet and a regular contributor to magazines, television and radio programs. Her first book of poetry “Marèfia Yatach Hiwot” (published in 1996) and her second book containing a meticulously crafted collection of intellectual verse entitled “Yemata Injera” (published in 2010) have earned her critical acclaim and cemented her place among the giants of Ethiopian literature.
Alemtsehay moved to the USA in 1991 and founded and personally funded an organization by the name of Tayitu Cultural Center (TCC) in Washington DC to provide a home for Ethiopian artists in the diaspora and a haven and training ground for aspiring Ethiopian artists.
Alemtsehay has written lyrics for over forty of the most beloved Ethiopian songs sung by veteran Ethiopian singers including Tilahun Gessesse, Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Aweqe, Teodros Tadesse, Muluqen Melesse, Hirut Bekele, Tsehay Yohannes, Asnaqetch Worku, Melkamu Tebeje, Kuku Sebsibe, Telela Kebede , Bezaworq , Asefu Debalqie and Shambel Belayneh.
Alemtsehay Wedajo still takes to the road several times a year with the Tayitu Cultural troupe to direct and perform theater and poetry to Ethiopians in Canada, North America, and Europ
The founder of Tayitu Entertainment and currently artistic director of Tayitu Cultural andEducational Center is the famed Alemtsehay Wedajo, one of the giants of Ethiopian culture and arts. Alemtsehay’s distinguished artistic career spans more than three decades. A versatile artist known for her creativity, Alemtsehay is an accomplished director, playwright, actor, writer, poet, lyricist and community activist.
One of the few well-known and most revered actresses in Ethiopian theatre, Alemtsehay Wedajo started performing professionally at the very young age of thirteen. She has received professional training in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and the Soviet Union among other places and acted in Ethiopian movies as well as a large number of stage and TV dramas and appeared on over fifteen international stages in Great Britain, Germany, Nigeria, Russia, and USA, to name a few. Alemtsehay is versatile enough to be onstage as an actress and offstage as a director. While working as a lead actress for the Ethiopian National Theater, she wrote several plays and two full stage productions including one short story theater for stage and TV.