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Abrar And Fitsum: Mesmerizing Duo

When a society’s every endeavor is consumed by political upheaval for decades upon decades as the embodiment of its history, norms of various types are impacted by it so much so that they stay stagnant. As luck would have it, stagnation is not equivalent to demise. One corollary of such history of endless political turmoil is that Eritrean art stays on a trajectory of an ebb and flow mode subsisting at times and thriving at another. Ostensibly, for the purposes of this article, art is what I have in mind. “Not so fast! Art is too vast!” I can hear voices from readers shouting out! Let me be a bit tepid and more specific then: Eritrean music is what’s in my mind. But then, the same voices are getting louder in their retort as they protest that there has never been a proliferation of sorts in music than today. Exhibit A, they would add as their evidence is this: Eritrean songs seem to pop like popcorn at every turn; they are just a hop to the digital world, a skip to a You-Tube, and a jump to a Google away – Hard to disagree.

But, there is more to music than meets the eye. Enter into Abrar Osman’s and Fitsum Beraki’s music Here , it will leave you not only mesmerized by the chemistry you see in this creative pair but also in the way they deliver their artistic talents; not to mention the way their melodies are harmonized. It is said harmony complements melody, but in this duo, one will be hard pressed to separate the two. Their rhythm and their pitch defies any subordination hint; only seamless coordination with pulse-beats pounding rhythmically much as one’s heart does on an autopilot thanks for the blood flow rolling through its chambers ceaselessly and rhythmically. Abrar and Fitsum have opened the chambers of music wide open toward a new artistic height.

One couldn’t help but wonder if there is something new afoot here. In other words, might this be the beginning of the “Protean Encounter”* of our own version OR that the “gods of the sea” are just playing transmutable tricks on our minds. The singularity of the title ባህጊ’ለኒ as opposed to ባህጊ አለና speaks to the artistic cohesiveness of the two, by extension to the hope for Eritreans the same. Of course, musically speaking the consonance is tight where there is no decipherable dissonance in tonality or in their harmony, nor to their melody. There is no discernible distance between the two singers either: notes-wise or singing-wise, save the only obvious age differences where one is at his prime while the other is maturing wisely, indicative from the graying hair, which is one of the most attractive aspects to the duos, in my humble opinion, of course.

In fact, the first striking aspect to this dynamic duo rests in the seemingly unlikely pairing of the said artists creating musical bond that ranges the gamut generation-wise. The older appears to draw energy from the younger and the younger seems to mature by singing in this particular duet when only few years ago he was barely a teenage making a trek on a rudderless, scruffy boat. In fact, this came to light at least to me earlier this year when I watched an interview Fitsum had with Weini Suleiman**. I have a very soft-spot for our youth, who seem to continue to pay unseemly price, one that alters their future irreparably. As a viewer, I could see the host was trying her level best to get him to open up, one could see his resistance through his demeanor, the way he was being fidgety, the way he was sitting, the way his fingers were making nervous movements, all riveted me.

As it turned out Fitsum Beraki knew many of the Eritreans who perished in the Lampedusa tragedy. He slowly opened up, but you could see the pain on his face, in his demeanor, and in his voice. He talked about how art was suffering among Diaspora Eritreans where there was no concerted effort being made to organize the artists into some tent where they could share their artwork. Of course, one could easily add this to Fitsum’s assertion: A crucial area that requires resolute effort is to have a space where artists can collaborate and become part and parcel of that whole movement in the opposition. We all know the critical role music played in the struggle for independence as Mahmoud Abubaker’s *** analysis of the duo’s song illustrates, which was brought to my attention by a friend when I shared my rough draft for some critical lens. The deprivation of art in Eritrean context is negatively impacting our spirit and soul – And music is part of what sustained us in the past and will continue to sustain us now. At long last, there appears to be a pivot in Eritrean art as this duo in question makes it glaringly clear.

Considering the dramatic life experience Fitsum had undergone in the process of crossing the turbulent Mediterranean Sea not too long ago, in which he lost multiple friends and acquaintances to the vagaries of the sea; it is hard to imagine him delivering a knockout blow to the gods of the sea, telling them, as it were, that they may have taken away countless human lives, but his immutable Eritrean nature is coming forth solidly in the song. It is in situations like this when one seeks refuge in poetry. Shakespeare’s sonnet 12 cries to be read. Perhaps, using the modern language version of it will do for our purposes here:

“When I look at the clock and notice time ticking away, and see splendid day sink into hideous night; when I see the violet wilt and curly black hair turn white with age; when I see tall trees that once provided shade for herds now barren of leaves, and the summer’s crops tied up and hauled to the barn as if summer itself were an old man being carried off to his grave—then I have doubts about the fate of your beauty, since you too will have to undergo the ravages of time. Sweet and beautiful creatures don’t stay that way; they die as fast as they see others grow. And there’s no defense against Time’s destructive power, except perhaps to have children—to defy Time when he takes you away” (Emphasis mine. Extracted from “No Fear Shakespeare”).

On the other hand, Abrar, a veteran artist who keeps shining bright whenever he sings and never seems to disappoint. Over the decades he has capably given us unique artistic disposition with a demeanor, integrity, and class. He is now sprouting with the times, inventing & reinventing himself by joining the younger generation and holding his own. As one friend in FB likened him to a wine that tastes better with time. A litany of songs can easily be attributed to the man’s talent and to his artistic integrity as well. Abrar seems to not fear the “ravages of time”. “Time’s destructive power” doesn’t seem to dissuade him. In fact, it appears that he has made his peace with it; as such he is willing to appear in a duet, gracefully joining hands in this one of a kind musical pairing with a young man. The distance between poetry and music is not that far. Sonnet 30 seems to be screaming for some deciphering. Well, thanks to “No Fear Shakespeare”, here, again, is the modern version of sonnet 30:

“When I sit alone in silence and remember the past, I get depressed about all the things I don’t have that I once strove for, and I add to old griefs new tears for all the valuable time I’ve wasted. Then I can drown my eyes, which are not usually wet from crying, in tears for precious friends who are dead, and I can weep again for hurts in loves that are long since over and moan about the loss of many things I’ll never see again. Then I can grieve about grievances I had let go of and sadly recount each woe that I’d already cried about in the past, feeling the pain all over again, as if I hadn’t suffered over these things already. But if I think about you, my dear friend, while I’m doing all of this, I get back everything I’d lost, and all my sorrows end.”

The inevitable nature of cycle of life is such that we compulsorily go through its journey with great trepidation at times and with great triumphs at another. Such is the journey; all along cognizant of the fact that I haven’t even addressed the lyrics to the duo’s song, which will have to be left for others to dwell over. This Tigrinya song is rarefied artistic feat because there do not appear to be that many musical renderings done in duos, let alone one done generation removed. I found Amharic ones, though, one between Mahmoud Ahmed & Gosayye Tesfaye in ኣደራ and another between Aster Aweke and Yegna Band in ጣይቱ, but Amharic deserves its own entry as it has, by far, prominent musical presence than that of Eritrea, at least in exposing its public to variations of artistic endeavors. One persistent thought that kept nagging at me through the writing of this piece, which I cannot seem to disentangle from my thoughts, is this:

Eritrean veteran activists seldom do they receive credit for their selfless – in many cases, lifetime – commitment toward political and social justice that they continue to fight. The lyrics of this song seems to speak to these unsung heroes who continuously receive the short shrift based on the tenuous assumption that their activism is all for power grab. It is about time we – in the opposition – stop second guessing one another. Let us give it to our veteran activists if only this one time, if only this one song can be dedicated to them all. Now, that would be a moment in time when we will all know we’ve reached a sociopolitical milestone where we will all sing in unison…

ባህጊ’ለኒ ስላም ኣብ ሂወተይ፡ዓወት ኣብ መንገደይ፡ ክበጽሖ ትምኒተይ…Need I say more…I think not.

References:

*“Protean Encounter” related to the myth of the “god of sea” was appropriated from Homer’s Odyssey. Here is a brief entry that I found in Wikipedia, which explicates it succinctly: “In Greek mythologyProteus (/ˈproʊtiəs, -tjuːs/;[1] Ancient Greek: Πρωτεύς) is an early sea-god or god of rivers and oceanic bodies of water, one of several deities whom Homer calls the “Old Man of the Sea“.[2] Some who ascribe to him a specific domain call him the god of “elusive sea change”, which suggests the constantly changing nature of the sea or the liquid quality of water in general.”

**Weini’s interview of Fitsum Beraki retrieved on Sptember 7, 2017.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9F4vdRsnxQ

***Mahmoud Abubaker’s article retrieved on Sptember 7, 2017.
http://asmarino.com/articles/articles-video/4941-2017-09-03-01-20-01

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  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Dr. Chefena,

    Good to hear from you and good to read your in put on the subject at hand. Thank you for sharing your view.

    Regards

  • Ismail AA

    Hayak Allah ustaz Beyan,

    This is interesting introduction to understanding the art of music for amateurs like me. I am a bit tardy in reading and commenting on this entertaining piece – offers welcome recess from politics – for not because I didn’t see it shortly after its appearance on front page but due to my ritual of allocating time necessary to extract the juice out of it. That is why I got the prowess to say that this review reflects the writer’s competence as critic in style and approach in addition to its aesthetic taste that calibration of young and old talents could generate.

    Moreover, the piece is a timely hearts and minds soother for Eritrean readers that are passing through social and political travail with all the sorrows and stress carried with it. It proves the truism that music and its content can represent features general moot of society at particular phase of its worries, and can serve as artistic point in the same way other kinds of art do. These singers and their song relates about hope which seems to be rare commodity nowadays in our society but it is a reminder that at a point a society loses hope its existence nears the territory of ominous fate.

    I am saying this because I am reminded of my juvenile and adolescent years when our national struggle was beginning to pick momentum first during the ELM and later emergence of ELF in early and mid-60s. At that time as school children we used to listen to musical hits of the time and allocated our own meaning to the lyrics without in accordance what suited our passion and mood.

    For example: the celebrated “ ሽገይ ሃቡኒ” of Tewelde Reda was interpreted symbolizing our demand for the return our de-hoisted flag; Teberh Tesfahun’s “ኢቲ ገዛና ዓቢ ሁድሞ ቱዃን ቁንጪ መሊኦሞ” referred to the Ethiopian soldiers and their presence in our country and the late Ala’amin’s “ሳዕሪ ዘየቦቅሎ ኣብ ጸምጸም በረኻ ዓለም ኣይትግበራ ጥራይ ንበይንካ” indicated Ras Asrate Kassa because he had no hair on his head. Thus, music and its artists are very important both happy and demanding times of society.

    • Bayan Negash

      Allah Yhayyik Haw Ismail AA,

      The unseemly price our society is paying on all fronts for these endless political turmoils is illustrated in the examples you cited above. Ismail, the tid bits of anecdotally lived experience you just mentioned of artists from yesteryear is lost on many younger generation because you and many thousands of Eritreans from your generation are not there to pass such heritage to the following generations. This disruption, this interruption hurts us at societal level, at cultural level, and at aesthetic level, to mention just a few. And, when such interruption continues for several generation as it did for us Eritreans, no wonder we are in such big mess; our inability to formulate one cohesive political ideology that can help us move forward partially can be explained by these historical markers that you saliently pointed out.

      It is this frustration that I deeply share with Amanuel H. when he shows impatience, it is a well deserved impatience and lack of urgency that we are all sensing and do not know how to get to the point of no return. At this junction in our struggle, at worst, the momentum should’ve been on our side. Alas, we are, by a long shot, few and far behind. A friend with physics disposition recently explained momentum to me in this way: Okay, Beyan, momentum is the distance one travels from when you give him casotti (a kick in the toosh) to the place of rest. The velocity and the critical mass lacking in our opposition movement is making it difficult to gain the needed momentum is what I am trying to say here, if it makes sense. Let me abruptly put this to a screeching halt before it becomes a lament of sorts that goes in contradistinction to the spirit in which I wrote the piece.

      Cheers,
      BN

  • Nitricc

    Greetings: I couldn’t stop laughing on this one. lol, QaAtit, hahahaha. anyway, I stopped by to give a little hard time to Bayan because he was unfair about his take to post but I rather share this with you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx9a9xVwYWs

    • Bayan Nagash

      Hey Nitricc,

      You’re one resourceful fellow and you have a way of dropping bait and switch in a nonchalant way to see who may fall for the trap. This is, yet, another one of your resourcefulness, seemingly trivial narration Radio Neshnesh, albeit on a parochial side that will add next to nothing, value-wise, but you drop it there anyway. I invoke my Fifth on this adolescence-level-bad-attempt-at-humor that Trump might enjoy should you care to translate it for him. Better yet, sending it to Tesfatsion of Agazian might be receptive of this imbecilic narration – no translation required for the latter.

      BN

      • Nitricc

        Hi Beyan, hahahahah, no my friend. you are missing the big point. I don’t have to go out of my way to bring Ethiopia and Amharic in Eritrean music artists. I rather listen and bring the toothless Eritrean art than preset something like you have done, I am trying to figure it out what your agenda is. Any act, in my opinion has to be motivated by something, meaning I don’t believe things are done or said with out motive. i.e. what is your motive to bring out of your way those Ethiopian things in to completely different that is Eritrean? I mean are you trying to tell us that you know and command the toothless and most worthless Amharic language? Are trying to impress your readers that you follow and watch the most trashy and waste of time the Saifu show? I mean what are you trying tell us by lamping this Amharic thing? I know you have the likes the likes of Thomas who buy everything you say, but in the land of Nitricc, Motive is questioned. What is your story Mr. resourceful?

  • MS

    Selam Beyan
    Te’Awet, Te’Awet….an excellent music/arts review/commentary…You have meshed arts and the socio-political background it seeks to describes with philosophical underpinning, very interesting. I enjoyed it, thanks…meshkoor.
    Question: Years back, Abrar Osman was awarded Raymok, I don’t know if the award still exists. I heard Abrar did not go to Eritrea to accept that award. What happened to that award, did he decline it or what? As a writer of this review you are kindly asked ktexaryo. I love Abrar Osman, and thank you for introducing me to Fitsum BeraKi, a talented young man. I watched his interview with Weini Sulieman. It was heart wrenching. Anyway, Weini Suleiman, the best of the best entertainer, keep it up. Thank you.

    • Bayan Nagash

      Merhaba kbur tegadalay MS,

      Thanks for the accolades. Abrar was one of the artists that the Eritrean regime tried to cajole, rightly so, but as a man of principles, to my knowledge, he never went to Eritrea to receive any of their accolades, that he knew was nothing more than switch and bait. Abrar, I am sure knew better – as a veteran tegadaly – than to fall for such a trap. In fact, a friend was telling me the back story to his song of tsibah that he put out in 2000 in which, it is said, the song directly speaks to the man at the helm. I need not tell you how turbulent and defining moment the year 2000 was for Eritrea sociopolitical landscape the fall out of which continues to wreak havoc and reverberate today. Give it a listen, and you will see what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tygswMM1UnY

    • Bayan Nagash

      MerHaba kbur Tegadaly MS,

      Thanks for the accolades. Abrar was one of the artists that the Eritrean regime tried to cajole, rightly so, but as a man of principles, to my knowledge, he never went to Eritrea to receive any of their accolades, that he knew was nothing more than switch and bait. Abrar, I am sure knew better – as a veteran tegadaly – than to fall for such a trap. In fact, a friend was telling me the back story to his song of tsibah that he put out in 2000 in which, it is said, the song directly speaks to the man at the helm. I need not tell you how turbulent and defining moment the year 2000 was for Eritrea’s sociopolitical landscape the fall out of which continues to wreak havoc and reverberate today. In some perverse way, I am told the man at the helm of power – on some power trip, I am sure, for playing “God” and imprisoning the ministers, enjoyed tsibah, not to mention the song was popular with the public at large as well.So, there you go, MS. This is what have become of our brave history, metsawati hade tsillul sebay. But, it is what is. Here is the song, if you haven’t already, please give it a listen, and you will see what I mean: https://nmsu.instructure.com/courses/958151/pages/Tsibah?titleize=0

      Sincerely,
      BN

    • saay7

      MaHmuday:

      The legend is that when Abrar declined the invitation, he told them to give whatever cash prize there was to “deqi swuat.”
      His winning song was “Shama bel”: all together now:

      ab kulu meday
      Shama shama bel
      b’leul weni
      Kem Hayal maEbel

      The song is a tribute to the people of Eritrea: their heroism, their Ghedli, their victory over those who attempted to divide them. That’s why Abrar Osman had a huge following with the first two dozen of National Service conscripts. I can actually hear a PFDJ-affiliated artist covering the song (like Helen Meles recently covered Abraham Adewekis “deqi Erey”) but I can never imagine any Oppo-affiliated artist now singing the lyrics to Shama.

      Class, discuss why this is the case.

      saay

      • MS

        Ahlan instructor
        class discussion:
        student A: Gee, I wonder why we can’t impress enough players, how did they do it during ghedli?
        Student B: Sir, we are playing wrong tunes.
        Student A: What do you mean?
        Student B: Well, we need to change the keys to Major, OK, revolutions and changes demand fuel.
        Student A: You mean Hope, yeah?
        Student B: Yes, Sir, Hope, Tesfa. Only hopeful ones think about doing something to get where they want….
        Student A: You mean like Bahgi’leni, the new song of Abrar and Ftsum…
        Student B: Aha…that’s why they jump, then?
        Student A: You got it. Things like “Tefaena…Tefaena”…”we lost Hamot”….”Ewaay ane ….” are all arranged in minor scales, they make you depressed, revolutions need upbeat tunes…like “Yes we can do it”…
        Student B: I heard our censor committee did not approve of things such as qualities that defined Eritrean spirit in the mast.
        Student A: You mean like Abrar Osman’s song Shama, shama nbel which said: “let’s pitch in// with high moral// like a mighty wave…”
        Student B: exactly
        StudentA: Sir, be careful. Those qualities are associated with ghedli, some folks might lynch you
        Student B: But those folks should not be the ones stirring our new revolution, are they?
        Student A: Sir, lower your voice…(surveys the area to see if any one was eavesdropping on their conversation; turns left, right up and down).
        Some voices are coming from somewhere…getting louder…..
        The current tune ” Mother of paranoia” playing in the sound system….

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Beyan(Abi Seb),

    At this very critical moment of our people, I wouldn’t prefer songs of dreams. I would have preferred songs that calls for “Ni-neQhat, nimiwdab, nimiQelas”. Sorry Beyanom, it is me how I see realities and the need for realities. MiQuzam lowti Ayemtsi-en eyu. What we need against this system is “Gomida-ye Gomida” songs that instill courage to our youngs like the revolutionary era.

    Regards

    • Bayan Nagash

      MerHaba Aman,

      I respect your viewpoint. I just think before we can get to the “Gomida-ye Gomida” part we need this kind of soft landing because the reality on the Eritrean sociopolitical landscape is such that it needs this kind of uplifting lyrics of wishes and dreams. Hey, you expressed your feelings honestly and concisely, and my hats off to you for that, Aman Hawway.

      Hawka,
      Beyan

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Beyan,

        Soft landing? Who does not wish and dream that? The reality indicators account otherwise. We are letting our people dying without a fight inside Eritrea, perishing in the high seas, dying in the desserts, being in destitute lives in the refugee camps and many more for 26 years since our independence. When is enough is enough to fight the regime and the system with the only tool and means they believe. Aren’t they ruling the nation by might is right? To this regime we can only challenge power with power and fire with fire. That is the culture ( attitudes, habits, persistent instruction) inculcated to its base. How does one expect from such political culture to find a soft landing political solution? We are just submitting to self demise if we continue with such attitudes. Me think brother.

        Senay MeAlti

        • Bayan Nagash

          Kbur Aman,

          By soft landing, I did not mean through the struggle to change the system in Eritrea. If that was possible who wouldn’t want to see bloodless change. The facts on the ground in the diaspora is such that we need to softly come together, and that’s what the duo’s song does, in my opinion and that is what I was referring to. To bring the public at large to the same level of awareness through bahgi the duos will be able to convey such a unifying message. Once we are on the same page, we can begin the hard landing, if you will. The frustrations that emanate from endless miseries our people are facing makes it rather difficult to start at the beginning and objectively assess between where we are at the moment and the monumental foe we face at home. We’ve been trying to do a patch work in the opposition for so long midri Aribunna. I am with you on this. I get it. But, what alternative do we have other than to keep on trying to find the most urgent and the most effective tools that can help us accomplish the urgently needed change. Amanuel, you know the EPLF/PFDJ more than I do. You were tegadalay yourself. You’ve paid your dues. But, with the Saudis and the Gulf countries spending lavishly on the man, how do face such force with equal force when we cannot even seat at a table and agree on some rudimentary methods of attack to rid ourselves from the wrath of the regime that continues to devolve. It isn’t that the regime is strong, it is that we are so weak. For a weak opposition, the regime can seem monumental obstacle, but it is because we have no strategies, road map in place that we can all rally after where I see our problem is.

          Sincerely,
          BN

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Beyanom,

            I am glad we are on the same page after clarifying your comment. I am sure we will not be in different page because our positions for decades were on the same page. Thank you for clarifying it.

            Senay MeAlti brother.

          • Bayan Nagash

            Selam Aman,

            Principled stand will always juxtapose us on similar trajectories on many fronts as we march forth to that ultimate objective for Eritrea that you and I share: To live in peace, in a tranquil environment, and to let the people live their lives the way they deem it fit. This is not too much to ask, it’s one fundamental ingredient to indulging in happiness.

            As for my PhD, well, it is coming along fine, slowly but surely – thanks for asking. Meanwhile, I am here for a reprieve for few days enjoying, as Haile put it, the “…forest where one camps and walks to smell and enjoy all the natural fragrances.” Whenever I feel the need to decompress, this is where I come, and it never disappoints. Part of that decompression process, sometimes, I am compelled to write and often times I quietly enjoy the highly, by and large, elevated discourse.

            Cheers,
            BN

          • Haile S.

            Selam Beyan,
            I didn’t want to bother you regarding the PhD thing, but couldn’t refrain. Having read you for the last 20 years (Dehai and plus), you are far beyond the need of demosthenian pebbles on your fingers, no doubt everything will go smooth. Bonne chance!

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hailat,

            Speaking of “Demosthenian,” I had a big hope right after independence to build “Demosthenian literary society” where great orators participate in impromptu debates. The evil system dashes all the hopes and the potential of Eritrean know how to scatter all over the world. Man, this should make us sleepless to fight against this regime. But very sad, we are not.

            Senay Ne-Aka

          • Haile S.

            Selam Emma,
            Not completely lost. We are now here on it established by our own Domosthenes.

          • Bayan Negash

            merHaba Haile,

            Glad to see, at least, I have not disappointed one person, one who continues to read me since dehai days – that’s something I can take to the bank, my friend – Thanks, you made my day.

            At any rate, it is one of those deferred dreams of personal nature of mine. It’s long over due that must be put to rest – sooner than later. On the other side of it also, you know our world, especially the Western ones, they believe in these paper-proof so much so that they can get in the way of making progress as one deserves with it or without it. Not that the latter had gotten in the way of mine. All and all, the first point is the driving force here.

            Many thanks, Haile S.
            BN

          • ghezaehagos

            Hello,

            This guy Haile S has words! Demosthones is the term I haven’t heard since I read Kebede Michael’s “talalak sewoch”…How can we tell this people to focus on Macedonian threat of its own…

            Xixuway/ wedekoy xilmay/ Hade adgi neyru and it has a shadow….

            On a serious note for this entry, Beyan Negash did a wonderful and TIMELY tribute to this great song by yes “mesmerizing duo.” Greate job Beyan.

            Thanks

            G.

          • Haile S.

            Selam Ghezae,
            ሽምካ ትረኸብ! My knowledge of Demosthene dates back to that amharic reading book, I think in junior high; great book. For whatever reason, the photo of Wolfgand Goethe in that book use to scare me. It was time of insouciance. Believe me, with friends we went to HazHaz beside Galiano’s tomb to try Demosthene’s method putting pebbles on our tongue. I had to stop before chocking.

          • ghezaehagos

            Haile S.,

            Yes Goethe with that fiery eyes, balding but still too afro hair was scary; worse was Dr. Faustus. What a compelling story! That one; Eyob’s revenge by Fautsus.

            That cave; do you know you can enter it from that side and show up in “Barborella”

            Sillasie yimutu! Sga Abune Tekle to fit yours!

            Ghezae

          • Haile S.

            Ghezae,
            Interesting. I didn’t know the extension of that tunnel or don’t recall exactly. At that time the tunnel could have been closed and/or forbidden. In the early to mid seventy, Barborella, Adi Sihel including the two churches you mentioned were our play- and study-ground. Studying under the shades of those churches was considered an assured glue to retain whatever you eyes scanned, especially when you do while going round and round the churches several times.
            That time was the time where those who were condemned for capital punishment were hanged in the livestock market. There are many of those bodies I will never forget. Now comes to my mind the slim body of wedi Afle who was hanged for killing his wife. It was a time where Dejazmatch Zerom and his colleague (escapes my memory now) we assassinated in bar Langano, a day the curfew was imposed on Asmara never to be lifted (I think) until independence, a time the young boys and girls of my age were getting acquainted with Gedli and the names like Sara Mokonen, R’esi Midri became household names and route for joining Gedli at least in our region of Asmara. Let me stop here.
            Cheers

          • saay7

            Hey Ghezae:

            We have video of people who know words the best words. But Haile S knows more:

            https://youtu.be/Kn283OjPb1g

            saay

          • Bayan Nagash

            Dear Ghezai,

            Many thanks for your encouraging words. The duo put out something that’s touching almost a million hearts. As of last count, like five minutes ago, it had “845,972 views” courtesy of You-Tube. I have a feeling this may not be the last we will see from these dynamic duos. And encouraging them to keep on keeping on is the least we should do. Eritrean artists are the most under appreciated lot. Hope paradigm shift in this regard is in the offing.

            Cheers,
            BN

        • Haile S.

          Hi Emma,
          ኣንታ ኤማ ትንፋስ ክትከልኣና? 🙂 🙂 ከም ኣዴታት ዝብልኦ፣ ሰበይቲ ዝጠነሰት፡ እንቅዓ እንተተንፈሰት፡ ይመስላ ዝሓረሰት። ዘይ ከነተንፍስ ኢልና ኢና እምበር ሓቕኻ ቀደም “ተኾርሚኻ ሞትየ ኣሳፊሕካ ሞትየ ንዓናይ ንሳሕል ንሓደ ዓመትየ” ዶ’ይኮነን ንብጾተይ ገዛ ከይኣተዉ ብርእሲ ምድሪ ኣቢሉ ሃጽ ዘበሎም ዝተኸተሉኻ።
          BTW, the pregnancy is close to term. Do we really need caesarian? May be kebero will do it. ብኸበሮ ሓሪሳ ዝብሃል መታን ሓቒ ክኾውን 🙂 🙂

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hailat,

            I love your tigrigna not only as a language but also its precise message in it. I can’t stop telling you my gratification about it. I always start to read it with a smile.

          • Haile S.

            Hi Emma,
            Likewise; I enjoy reading you and many others in this forum. In addition to the serious objectives of the site, I also see it as a forest where one camps and walks to smell and enjoy all the natural fragrances.
            Best

          • Bayan Nagash

            Dear Haile S.,

            I second Aman’s motion on this. Eloquently put! Humorously arresting, all and all, succinct yet to the point. Haile, you waste not even a single word on this and that’s one disposition to be proud of. My Tigrinya writing tends to be on the long winded end, much like our dance – I loop around too much before I make my point. So, I am appreciative when I see someone who can articulate his thoughts using economy of words.

            Cheers,
            BN

          • saay7

            Haile S:

            Is “enaqA ente tenfeset” the G-rated version? I heard the R-rated version and you don’t have to comment: just wink if you think the R-rated version is funnier.

            By the way is the “S” in Haile S for Shakespeare?

            saay

          • Haile S.

            Hi Saay,
            🙂 🙂 🙂 . Good observation. This needs clarification. The G-rated is from LiQe mezemran Moges OQbaghioghis Tntawi msali with my own addition (enaqA). The R-rated appears in hizbawi gnbar’s 1986 mslatat tigrigna.
            Cheers

  • Mogot Berhane

    Hii, All,
    Bahgi, harerta, Hlmi, winta, dlay….etc are synonymous at the core, and they are nothing more than spoilers!! We have been hearing every version of these words wrapped in various melodies but echeod to no avail, and this one couldn’t be anything different, no matter how people try to narrate a distinct feature. Is it going to take us home tomorrow morning? No. Unless our bahgs and harertas are conceptualized as precursers of our- must follow- actions, they are of no use. On the contorary, it is like giving crutches to a physically fit person who knows he can walk unaided but you knock off his psychology so hard that he finally succumbs into your suggestion. Sitting and yawning he yells “bahgi aleni” to walk!! Please, unread what I just said. It is for haters and pessimists, you will hear it somewhere, get ready for the shock.
    If it wasn’t you who uncracked for me the subliminal message that the onness in their voice is, infact, the onness of their hearts, destination, condition, and life despite the difference in age, status, and experience between them- and us by extension- kab nebsey si boKire niere!! Now, I understand why people shout, “art should be understood!!” Thank you for showing me this angle, it was indeed a great experience!!
    MOGOT

    • Bayan Negash

      Selam Mogot Berhane,
      Apologies for coming to your note this late, but better late than never. I am happy to hear that you found my entry on the duo’s art commentary useful. Much as it is said that beauty rests in the eye of the beholder so does art. We all experience it differently. The beauty to such expressions and commentaries about art is that it gives us a perspective that we may not have thought about as you honestly alluded to it here. Hopefully, as I said it in my piece, someone else will come along to do a thorough critique of the lyrics from whose entry we can all learn yet different perspective.

      Cheers,
      BN

  • Haile S.

    Dear Beyan,
    Thank you for highlighting one of the great sprouting artists and another legendary one, both united to give us hope, the essential message of your post. It is disheartening to see Eritreans getting dispered by the winds of incompetency and narrow vision of our leadership, but at the same time pleasant to see Eritrean artists and musicians doing their best giving us pleasure for our senses and encouragement for our morals where ever they are. I was watching yesterday Weini’s interview with Selina, what a moving story. It seems any actor or known personality in Eritrea we see today is a candidate in line for departure like winged termites on the edge of the hole ready to swarm at the slightest wind. BTW when is Weini going to receive Isaias?
    On a lighter note, I was reading HadasErtra this morning and learned that Tomas (a famous baboon) died and the Asmara zoo is closed. Perhaps he was the only resident there. The news was written in the newspaper as it is always the case, even when it conerns the most important necessities for life, in a form of good citizen’s interrogation like ….ነገር .. እንታይ እዩ ጉዱ, ……ይትሓሰበሉ, …..ነገር ኣበይ በጺሑ, ….እንተዝኸውን, …..ይተዓረ, ….ኣይመሓሸን’ዶ? The kind of questionings without addressee; a “perfect utopic democracy” where everyone should feel responsible and no one is answerable, no one is accountable.

    • Abrehet Yosief

      Selam Haile,
      ኣንቱም ኣያ ሃይለ ሞት ጋውና ቶማስ ኣብ ዕዳጋ ከተርድኡኒ። ዓገብ ዓገብ። Poor Tomas. The kids would ask him do a flip over and they grown men would reward him with a cigarette. By the way, the articles you mentioned with titles that have a question or a suggestion are actually letters from readers. Reading them is quite interesting. You can be sure that the official news articles wouldn’t have a tone of question or suggestion.

    • Bayan Nagash

      Dear Haile S.

      We are meant to pass through this difficult path. The “narrow [tunnel] vision” is part of that deal. We just have to keep on plowing onward. We will, in due course, get it together, sooner than later, one hopes. Indeed, Fitsum is turning out to be one star shining bright. In fact, a friend earlier today pointed me to a song of his by which I was touched beyond words. In ዚያዳይ , he goes back to that infamous sea that had claimed so many lives. He wants to doggedly fight the gods of sea by not only appropriating the name in wishing to give his offspring by giving him a name ባሕሪ, but also but showing it that he will not stop fighting it, singing about it until he makes his peace with the tragic life he had undergone. Of course, if one doesn’t know Fitsum’s personal life story that I was able to glean from Weini’s interview, I would’ve passed it as something odd, but knowing what I know my voice got stuck at my throat when the friend related the content of the song, which I had to listen to as soon as I got off the phone.
      ዉሰድኒ​’​ወ ንኺድ ንዓድና

      ወዲ ዉለዲ ሽም ክሐርየሉ፡

      ባሕሪ ኽብሎ መዘከሪ ኹሉ​…​

      ቅንጣብ ተኽሊ ዕምበባ​…​

      ፍረ ጣዕምና ኽንርኢ ዓለም ንሱ ዩ መኽሰባ

      Weini is proving to be, in my estimate, our Eritrean Terry Gross, whom I try to listen to in NPR’s Fresh Air whenever time permits it. Weini is a gripping interviewer. I don’t know our man at the helm could handle her respectful but penetrating demeanor. She has this knack for letting people open up to her. As for our cousin from another species, well, it would be one bizarre scene if the government gives our distant cousin a burial ceremony given its dismal record when taking care of its own species. You just never know with this regime. But, nothing under the sun should be surprising anymore.

      Cheers,
      BN

      • Haile S.

        Hi Beyan,
        Agree completely. I knew the duo’s song. But now thanks to you, I am getting a treat with his other songs.

        • Bayan Nagash

          Selam Haile S.,

          Happy indulgence. In Fitsum we may have found what we had been deprived of from the likes of the late Abraham Afewerki and Yemane.

  • Nitricc

    Hi Beyan, I agree it is a very good one. They did it from the heart. I am amazed how closely you follow Amharic music. You are right the duos between Mahmoud Ahmed & Gosayye; it wasn’t that good. it suits Mahmoud’s style but for Gosaye, it was way out of his style and totally unfit. However, when you talk about Aster Aweke and Yegna Band, that was a hit. I love the Yegna Band, they honor their great women history unlike the rest of Ethiopians. They talk about Taytu, the great woman worrier Africa They talk about Zewditu, an African woman who led a nation at that time! Ethiopians have a great history but they are so male oriented society, they trash their great Ethiopian women history. My hope is I hope Yegna band will continue and empowers young Ethiopian women to find their rightful place. the truth is “If women understood and exercised their power they could remake the world.” we need a new world.

    • Thomas

      Hi Nitricc,
      Beyan’s emphasis in the article is more about the life experience of the two (Abrar & Futsum) & them still striving to see a bright future (freedom emphasized here) in their country. It is like Martin Luther saying, “I have a dream”. Abrar & Futsum excelled in every way someone looks at the song & if one reviews the song. I can say it would come as the number one Eritrean song in the year of 2017!!

      • Bayan Negash

        Selam Nitricc & Thomas,
        Nitricc is a master spinner. He latches on the seemingly not only trivial part of a subject matter, but also on a tangential ones and tries to make that be the nerve center of the topic to discuss. I will not indulge it other than to say I agree with you Nitricc የኛ ባንድ is unique artists who have made their debut in Seifu’s Show as well now, they are slated to start weekly radio show. But, that, again, is a story for another day.

        This one, as Thomas succinctly put it, belongs to our Fitsum & our Abrar. If there is anything of value that you wish to add in this respect bro Nitricc, I will be all ears…

        Sincerely,
        BN

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear… Thank you Bayan Negash,


          “Eritrean veteran activists seldom do they receive credit for their selfless – in many cases, lifetime – commitment toward political and social justice that they continue to fight. The lyrics of this song seems to speak to these unsung heroes who continuously receive the short shrift based on the tenuous assumption that their activism is all for power grab. It is about time we – in the opposition – stop second guessing one another. ”

          True !!!

          KS..

          • Bayan Negash

            Selam KS,
            Don’t mention it, KS. It’s one small way of acknowledging and thanking our veterans, that’s all. This undermining one another business is crushing the spirit of opposition to its core. Trying to do my level best to stay on the positive side of the bigger cause – For Eritrea to find peace and stability… for how long must people continue to suffer before their soul is crushed…we have gotta to find a way of this endless cycle of misery.

            BN

          • Kokhob Selam

            HI Brother BN,

            I am optimistic ,, one every time..I know you are also doing your best..

            KS,,

        • Nitricc

          Sir, your brought it up and I had my take. you are the one you mixed it up. if that is the case, why do you tie it with the Ethiopians? what is all this ” At any rate, Nitricc has this tendency to latch on the seemingly not only trivial part of a subject matter, but also on a tangential ones and tries to make that be the nerve center of the topic to discuss. I will not indulge it other than to say I agree with you Nitricc የኛ ባንድ is unique group who made its debut in Seifu’s Show”
          I don’t watch trash shows like of Seifu but if they had doing with it, all good. Getting back at your jab, when I hear music or any kind of song, I tried to get the point and the center of what they are saying. On this one, Abrar and Fisum their point is hope and bright future and it is a good one. then according your take, I proceed to comment for the two Ethiopian music you have mentioned. I said Gosaye was out of his style and sound horrible while Yegna Band was doing good by fighting sexist society, the likes of Ethiopia. Now, Sir, where exactly did you see me spinning anything?

          • Bayan Negash

            Selam Nitricc,
            Chill, man! All I am saying is just as what you mentioned about those Amharic songs, you could conceivably bring up issues related to the center of the topic, which is the duo, the title of the piece makes purely and unambiguously clear.

            When one does comparative analysis and brings supporting ideas from different perspective, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the center of the conversation is all what Thomas pointed out and I tried to do the same. My bad for mixing apples and oranges, at least, in your estimate. Can you now focus on the subject at hand: Either Abrar’s art or that of Fitsum’s or the duo’s current song, which is having resonating power with massive number of listeners … so here ends, I hope, our a topic- about-a-topic topic…see how gibberish this sounds, Nitricc.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Thomas, if that was about (Abrar & Futsum) then why bring the Ethiopians in two the mix? can you read?

      • Desbele

        Hi Thomas,

        I was mesmerized how Nitricc deliberately tried by to set the point of discussion by spinning the topic early on the forum. I always feel sorry for the great awatistas on this forum wasting their time to educate the likes of Nitricc. You got him this time.
        I cried on this music. It is all about freedom and hope. What a talent from Abrar and Fitsum. Thanks for BN for sharing

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