He is known for his ‘multilingual’ singing techniques: he sings in Tigrigna, Arabic, Tigre, Bilen and Hidareb. Born in 1984 in Kesela Sudan, he is one of today’s Eritrea’s most received musicians. He attended his elementary education in ‘bet-timirti Sewra’ (the revolutionary school) in Sudan and moved to Hagaz, Eritrea after the independence in 1995.
He says he had music in him since his early ages; he grew up listening to Sudanese singers. Finally in 2002 he manifested the “music he had in him” when he joined ‘Aser’ cultural trope.
We give you today, singer and song writer Aklilu Mebrahtu: the talent-house that urges you to sing along even in languages you don’t know.
– First steps in to the world of music
When I was a student at the Bet Timirti Sewra in Sudan, I frequently sang on my own and started growing an immense attention to music. I think that is where I’d mark my ‘begging’… at least as far as I remember. I grew up fascinated by several Sudanese musicians.
When my family and I moved back to Eritrea, the school I frequented in Hagaz had a music band. So I teamed up with them. I still remember till this day how, my music teacher, he used to tell me I would make it ‘big’ when I grew!
– In ‘Aser’ cultural troupe
I joined in 2002. I had to take a brake because I joined the 17th round to Sawa. But yet again I still kept music very close to me as we used to organize shows with several music bands. As a matter of fact I believe that it was in Sawa that people, well fellow students and companions, started noticing me as a ‘singer’. I gained the confidence to tell myself that ‘singing’ would be the profession I’d pursue for the rest of my life.
With this conviction, after my journey to Sawa I came back and joined Aser.
When I first got there, I was stunned; singers, musicians, lyricists and every youth involved were and still are massively talented. They were “on fire”! I knew it from the very begining that ‘Aser’ was all I needed to make my passion physical.
And that is how began. I started singing with prominent and very popular singers in several occasions, like for example, Seid Berahanu and Zahara Ali, until when I released my first full album in 2009.
My journey with the troupe is remarkable. We have synchronized and harmonized teamwork. We held concerts nationwide and some more in several countries of Africa, Asia, and Europe in addition to our concert in Australia.
The First album
Like I told you it went public in
2009. It was produced by ‘Yatana Arts’, entitled Yikre Limedi (try forgiving) an album of 11 songs revolving around love and social aspects. It was well received, at least for starters, definitely encouraged me to do more. Trough it I was introduced to the public and also secured my status as artist.
– How many songs have you made so far?
I’ve published at least 30 by now. I have an album of 11 songs on the way.
– Live or recorded?
I prefer live. The stage doesn’t scare me. I choose to not use playbacks. But of course, I am dining the fact that I use the innovations brought by technology to our studios, only when recording. On stage it just me and my vocal cords and the passion I have for what I do.
– Multilingual artist
I grew up speaking Arabic, Tigre and Tigrigna. The fact that I am able to speak several languages helps me be a multilateral artist. I love it. I use it to connect with the public. Language is energy, it is colors and light. It let me introduce my culture and identity all-inclusively to the rest of the world.
– Since you sing in Arabic amongst the others, any collaboration with Arabic artists?
I have had the honor of collaborating with some very famous Sudanese artists. My songs are well received over there, besides in 2013-2014 some Arabic television channels had me in their programs; for instance Blue Nile TV and TV Kesela.
– Modern or Traditional?
I go for modern. Because I believe it is what I do best. However, at present songs with traditional beats is that? Is it a must for us to dance? Can’t we just relax and listen to other forms of music? What is the mandate of singers? Entertainment only and exclusively or delivering messages? Don’t we need our songs to reach the souls, sentiments and emotions of the public?
So, personally I think I will be sticking to the values that go far beyond ‘just entertainment’. It’s my wish to make my audience not only dance but also relate with them trough the delightful powers music owns.
– Alcohol free
I don’t know how I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since 2004. Even though before I had some with very common pretext of “relaxing” connoted to alcohol. Some artist, if not many worldwide, say it helps in gaining confidence but I think it is a tall tale. I strongly stand in opposition.
In the many years of my carrier I haven’t seen any artist do well if not repulsively when intoxicated. It is a matter of respect to the people that think highly of us and expect much from us. Plus we should set positive example for our young fans.
– What is next?
Future plans? I will work hard to keep doing what I am doing at the moment, and improve by the day.
– Any one you are great full to?
Countless… my beloved parents for their continuous support, fellow members of Aser cultural troupe and its administrators such as Mr. Negassi Gebredingil, artist Sham Ka’alAb, senior musician NexereAb G/Yesus aka Wedi Shawul and every single one that worked with me and helped me trough out my carrier. I am deeply greatfull to evry single one. And of course my fans, thank you for supporting me.
I wish everyone and my Eritrean compatriots a joyous festive season and a happy New Year!