Teddy Tekliberhan at the Basel Conservatory

musical theater

Open the door: mutant Teddy Teclebrhan visits Basel

After two postponements and several pandemic waves, the German artist is making up for his performance at the Basel Musical Theater.

“what’s up?” Tedros “Teddy” Teclebrhan at a show in Cologne in April of this year.

Imago / Panama Pictures

One day Tedros Tekleberhan suddenly appeared in our apartment, just like that. No one opened up to him, but there was a mutant in his new role: as a teenager, he imitated the most famous fictional character of Tekleberhan, Antoine Bertz, with amazing originality – half-thug, half-Swabian. “What’s wrong with you, Io?”

As a worried and a little scary dad, enter the name on Youtube, where the bald-headed and light-colored mustache character in “Scan for integration test” I confused (“Who was before Merkel? And speaking of compilation: “Lohn isch da”), the song from 2019, has already reached 14 million hits.

The caption reads “Asi-Rap without prostitutes, coke and guns,” but also: “We’re glad the money’s coming in!” Poor punctuation aside: the sender is the real Federal Employment Agency, to which Antoine throws a fake party in the video: “I live too short, boy, enjoy it, you bitch!” Cursed attractive and lovable, because there is also talk of participation, and the first doubts arise: is it gentle and simple, or brilliantly good?

Anyone who clicks again soon doubts what the 39-year-old “boy” could do: Teclebrhan imitates xenophobic retirees with a steady hood (“Control is good, contempt is better”), mumbling as aggression builds up (“Figgo, ey!”) Or an influenced singer from the USA. And he can sing: His Grönemeyer mimic is an excellent tribute, his Queen cover of ‘Save Me’ touching. “I am naked and I am far from home,” Tekleberhan sings, and one wonders: Where did he really come from?

For my mom in the hostel

Tekleberhan, who has canceled all interviews in the lead up to his Swiss tour, answers the inevitable question on YouTube: “I grew up in Germany and come from Eritrea.” Childhood in Mosingen, Swabia, single mother, poverty, daily racism and problems at school – just a normal refugee biography. “I was the class clown, but I’m really cute,” the comedian says happily. A regular jog to the youth welfare office is still a part of it, with Tekleberhan enjoying role-playing.

At the age of fifteen, he went to a youth house for a year – voluntarily and for the sake of his mother, who was overwhelmed by three teenagers. After getting a disastrous degree, school friends go on an exchange year, and Teclebrhan stays with an aunt in Canada for seven months. Something is happening to the timid and spoiled Shale, he “arranges”, as he puts it in real Swabian language, precisely: he prays eight times a day and comes to terms with himself and his precarious living conditions.

“It may sound strange to some, but I have a strong belief in something greater than us — God, the universe, and life,” Tekleberhan says on the Deutschland 3000 podcast. This creates confidence, especially in one’s abilities. Enough with the petition: Be thankful, of course, but also expect thanks, for you bring yourself and your talents to a country with which Tekleberhan comes with its resilience. “Germany is stable” He sings about it – socially spaced properly in the video. Love, forgiveness, celebration!

You hear and see things like this from Teddy, who has been secretly known for so long, and regret over the missed interview grows, along with confidence in the good gut feeling the teen displays at home.

Between theater, television and private life

In any case, after returning from Canada, everything came naturally to the artist, likening it to “painting by numbers.” Takliberhan finished drama school, has his first television roles and participates in a musical (“Hair Fixtures”). He moves to his adopted home in Cologne, where he celebrates his glamorous spirit, and remains silent about his private life as people who have no chance of backing down are overwhelmed by success. And it’s coming: theatrical performances, guest appearances with Stefan Rapp, TV specials formats. And of course YouTube, where he publishes songs according to the principle of pleasure.

A great session with German jazz pianist Pablo Heald shows how close the music and humor are to Teclebrhan. Mission missed, punchline given away? No pressure, improvisation really comes on its own when there are dropouts. “That’s why I love my characters so much,” the artist says. “Because they are imperfect.” Getting rid of flaws requires mind and discipline.

That’s why Tedros Tekleberhan will get in the car again (driving himself to his shows), exercise before the show, eat something, lie down again for a while and then give everything to surprise the audience and himself. And if that should include an impromptu interview – “I’m ready: Let me know when you’re there, I’ll open the door downstairs. “.

“Dolls 2022”Basel Musical Theatre. July 8 and 9. www.musical.ch

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