Artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, the prominent Oromo singer and songwriter has been shot dead today in Addis Abeba.
The prominent Oromo Singer Hachalu Hundessa is killed
29 June 2020 – (EP) Artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa (Pictured), the prominent Oromo singer is shot dead today in Ethiopia’s Capital Addis Ababa.
It is reported by local media that the 34 years old artist and freedom fighter was gunned down around Galan Condominium site.
He was admitted to Tirunesh Beijing General Hospital but died of his injuries shortly after.
About Haacaaluu (Credit: Opride)
Born and raised in Ambo, a town whose name is practically synonymous with Oromo resistance, Haacaaluu started signing while looking after cattle and at school clubs. His mother, Gudatu Hora — or “my Gudatu” as Haacaaluu affectionately refers to her — recognized his unique talent and a knack for storytelling at a young age and quietly encouraged him.
His father Hundessa Bonsa wasn’t too crazy about the idea. He wanted the young Haacaalu to pursue a serious career in medicine or as a college professor. It didn’t help that Haacaaluu got in trouble at a very young age.
In 2003, at 17, while still in high school, he was arrested and imprisoned for nearly five years at Karchale Ambo, a local prison known for its notorious torture and mistreatment of Oromo dissidents. Haacaaluu’s jailers wanted to break his young spirit and make him give up singing.
But the imprisonment had the opposite effect on the aspiring singer. It deepened his understanding of the Oromo oppression. His father had a simple advice for him: Each time he visited, the elder Hundessa told him: “Jabaadhu gurbaa, hidhaan qoraasuma dhiiraati,” meaning, “prison is the crucible of manhood.”
In fact, he learned how to write lyrics and compose melodies in jail. By the time his case was dismissed and Haacaaluu was set free in 2008, he was determined and ready to give voice to the atrocities and silenced voices he had encountered while in jail and growing up in Ambo.
A year later, Haacaaluu released his widely acclaimed first album: Sanyii Mootii. He wrote most of the lyrics and composed the melodies in prison. The record-breaking album catapulted then 22-year-old singer into a national icon almost overnight. In keeping with the unsung but monumental tradition of pioneering Oromo resistance music, he continues to speak truth to power through his lyrics.
In 2013, while touring the United States, Haacaaluu released his follow-up album: Waa’ee Keenya or Our Predicament. It too became a runaway success. Within days, the critically acclaimed album became the #1 best-selling African music album on Amazon.com.