The 7th annual Leza Awards were concluded Thursday, October 12th, 2017, at the Hilton Hotel. The event was glowing with the presence of Ethiopian stars, and it resembled the people’s choice awards of the United States. Addis Insight attended this event where there were actors and singers displaying the beautiful traditional Ethiopian clothes designed by prominent up and coming designers. The event is a win for the arts industry in Ethiopia as it encourages artists to deliver better works for the public. By acknowledging excellence, a culture of appreciation is built. This will grow the motivation of all involved in the arts industry.
The ceremony started with an electric performance by “Negarit” band which set the mood for the entire event. This year, Taza and 79 movies were nominated for 3 different awards. Last year Sammy Dan earned 4 nominations and won. This year, husband and wife Teddy Afro and Amleset Muchie both were nominated for different awards; while he was nominated for both best single and best album she was nominated for best actress.
Astatqachew Yihun, a gem of the Hager Feker Theatre presented the first awards nominees for best Television series. Senselet, Mogachoch, Zemen, Betoch, Dana and Wazema were the nominees. Zemen came out victorious and took the award.
Dawit Alemayehu took home the award for Best New Artist from the nominees MC Siyamregn, Sewunet Tadesse and Mikias Kebede.
The night was particularly good for the prominent Ethiopian Singer/Songwriter Teddy Afro, as he won two nominations for Best Album of the Year and Best Single of the Year. Teddy’s representative received the award as Teddy couldn’t attend the event. Teddy’s album has enjoyed a tremendous success since its release and his victory was very much expected. Getish Mamo, Yared Negu, Mesay Tefera and Asgegenew Ashko (Asge) were the contenders in the Best Single of the Year Category, but they have had to go home empty handed as the competition was fierce against the juggernaut that is Teddy. Best Album nominees have also suffered a similar fate.
Bisrat Samuel won the Best Music Video of the Year Category for his “Hed Meles” music video. His music video has garnered over one million views on YouTube and continues to be Radio DJ’s sensation.
Zeritu Kebede and Alemseged Tesfaye won the Best Actress and Best Actor awards respectively. Zeritu Kebede, a renowned Singer/Songwriter has now moved to acting and she has wowed fans and critics alike for her lead role in the movie Taza which debuted earlier this year.
The event also had a special commemoration program for those artists that we lost over the past year. Icons like Ababa Tesfaye, Habtemichael Demissie, and Zeritu Getahun, who have had an impact that was far reaching.
And to top it all off, The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Gash Girma Beyene, a very prominent figure in Ethiopian music, whose works have transcended generations. Girma Beyene, whose prominence came about during the golden ages Ethiopian Vinyl Records was a jack of all trades. He has recorded four songs as a vocalist and arranged more than sixty songs as a producer and a musician. Girma Beyene is a lyricist, composer, arranger, vocalist, and pianist and had enjoyed a rewarding musical career and he has helped shape the Ethiopian music industry and art.