Film: Aramazt Kalayjian Brings ‘Tezeta’ to Life

The upcoming documentary tells the little-known history of Armenians in Ethiopia. (Image credit: AMS)

The Armenian Mirror-Spectator

By Gabriella Gage

WATERTOWN — Tezeta is a word of great significance in Ethiopia. In Amharic it means memory, nostalgia or longing. It is also the name of a type of Ethiopian jazz and the ballads in that style that have been sung by countless Ethiopian singers. More recently, it has served at the linguistic inspiration for “Tezeta [The Ethiopian Armenians,]” a documentary by Armenian-American filmmaker, Aramazt Kalayjian.

The film, currently in production, explores the historic connection between Armenians and Ethiopians, with music serving as the main cultural bridge between the communities. Through the film, its creators hope to preserve the culture legacy of the small, relatively unheard of Armenian community in Ethiopia. “From 40 Armenian orphans adopted by Emperor Haile Selassie after the Genocide to perform as the first imperial orchestra of Ethiopia in 1924, to Alemayhu Eshete, the ‘Elvis’ of Ethiopia, Armenians have left their imprint on the cultural and musical landscape of Ethiopian society,” said, Kalayjian, creator and director of the project.

Read more at The Armenian Mirror-Spectator.

A Film Project to Document History of Armenians in Ethiopia (TADIAS)


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