This past March saw the release of queer singer-songwriter and co-CEO of Heart Lake Records, Witch Prophet’s sophomore album, DNA Activation – an ode to her Ethiopian and Eritrean ancestral roots, fusing jazz, hip-hop, soul and RnB with songs in English, Amharic, and Tigrinya. Co-produced by Witch Prophet and her partner SUN SUN, praised by press and music lovers alike, DNA Activation was shortlisted for the 2020 Polaris Music Prize.
Today, she shares the brand new music video for “Tesfay” taken from the record. Directed by Toronto-based filmmaker and photographer, Leah Vlemmiks, watch + share the official visuals on YouTube now. “Tesfay” is also available to stream on SoundCloud + Spotify.
“Tesfay” (translation: my hope) is inspired by the memory of Witch Prophet‘s late grandfather who raised five daughters as a single father in Ethiopia after the passing of her grandmother. Instead of focussing on the traditional roles for women in his day, he pushed his daughters towards education and empowerment – a radical move for the time. The video concept came from Vlemmiks‘ interest in capturing the true essence of Tesfay and telling a broader story about positive father-daughter relationships that are grossly underrepresented in media. Tesfay’s influence impacted not only his daughters but the woman she has become.
The “Tesfay” music video captures the joy and empowerment that a father passes down to his daughter using dance, documentary, and memory. The dance is all about these little moments between the two of them, evoking a deep sense that he’s passing down the confidence to be herself and move with pride through the world. It’s narrative swings in and out of memory elements and metaphors surrounding his five daughters and the power they possess.
Witch Prophet has shared the stage with and opened for acts like THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Lido Pimienta, A Tribe Called Red, Stars, Climbing Poetree, SAMMUS, Sean Leon, JPEGMAFIA, The Cliks, Rae Spoon, Zaki Ibrahim, and LAL to name a few.
Her vocals have appeared on Shad’s Flying Colours LP (2013) as well as 2009 Polaris Prize winner Fucked Up’s LP Dose your Dreams (2018).