Screenshot from Aytitehamel, by Eseyas Debesay and the Yohannes sisters. In , Eritrean singer Ghirmay Andom had just completed his latest album. The artist was hopeful that his uncontroversial songs of love and life would pass the censors and that he would be allowed to start distributing it. But when he finally heard back, all his lyrics had been rejected. The government in Asmara has long tried to maintain a close control on artistic expression. It not only shut down the independent press in September , but has also imposed a medieval practice of censorship on literature, art and music. Before being able to broadcast or print their work, artists have had to endure long waiting periods to hear from the censorship unit, which consisted of a single official. Artists would not dare submit anything sensitive, and gaining approval was effectively reduced to appealing to the personal tastes of the censorship chief. The effect of this was that singers hoping to pass the screening process — and qualify for publicity or even state-sponsored tours — ensured their songs were brimming with praise of the government.
Skip to main content. Meshelay Eritrean Music. Teklit Kidane.
It cites cases of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and extrajudicial killing. It claims that up to , Eritreans have been enslaved in a vast conscription program, forced to work in the army or the bureaucracy for next to nothing, often for a decade or more. Isaias Afwerki, a former rebel hero, has ruled Eritrea since its independence in
The music of the State of Eritrea is a diverse mix of traditional and popular styles originating from ancient to modern times. The nine major ethnic groups of Eritrea—Afar, Bilen, Hedareb, Kunama, Nara, Rashaida, Saho, Tigre and Tigrinya—celebrate autonomous music-making expressed through a rich heritage of vocalists, instrumentalists and activities within the country and throughout the international diaspora. Yemane Baria wrote one political song, and he was in jail. Folk musicians used traditional instruments include the stringed kraar , kebero , lyre.