Documentary celebrates Oromo singer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa

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The late singer-songwriter Haacaaluu Hundeessaa walked around as if he were carrying the weight of the Oromo nation on his shoulders. Haacaaluu was a true performer. Even the simple act of walking was a performative exercise for him.

In 2018, after I returned to Ethiopia from exile, Haacaaluu and I sat down for lunch in the capital, Addis Ababa. I asked him why he strolled in a way that commanded attention. When onlookers see me, he said, they don’t just see Haacaaluu the singer; they see the Oromo nation. That is why, he said, he sauntered around in a graceful manner that represented, honored, and dignified the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. Haacaaluu pranced on and off stage with that acute sense of self-awareness.

His killing on June 29, 2020, touched off a complex political crisis in Ethiopia.

A new documentary titled “Spear through the Heart” chronicles Haacaaluu’s life, influence, and contributions to Oromo music and culture, and his people’s struggle for justice. The film’s global release will be held at the Fridley High School auditorium, 6000 W. Moore Lake Dr N.E., Fridley, Minnesota, on August 28, 2022. The event is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $20.

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