Please tell us a little about your background?
I was born in 1961 in Barentu, Eritrea, where I studied my elementary classes, but I was moved to a missionary school called “Zera’a Kihnet’ only when I was a second grade student and stayed there till 1975. Around 1978, I joined the Eritrean struggle for independence, where I stayed until 1986. After that I moved to the Sudan and then to Germany and now I live in the Netherlands.
How about your musical work, when does it begin?
It began when I went to the missionary school, which is when I was an elementary student. Taking musical classes was compulsory, so I would say that is where I began studying music and playing instruments.
Did you immediately start playing for bands after you left the school?
To be honest, I only had theoretical knowledge of music when I left the school; of course I could play instruments especially the guitar, but I didn’t dare to play with bands. The reason is because I thought it would be inappropriate to use my musical talent out of spiritual purposes; that is how we were brought up at the missionary school.
So when was the first time you started playing with bands?
As I told you, when I joined the struggle, they picked up on my passion for music and they assigned me to a cultural group. So I started playing more and my first song as a performer was a song in the Tigre language. You know my mother tongue is Kunama but because I left Barentu when I was a child I couldn’t master the language to a level where I could use it as an artist.
Does that mean you don’t sing in Kunama?
No of course I do. I began mastering the Kunama language soon after joining the armed struggle and I have this very popular song called “Femun Gadi”.
Can you tell me more about your musical experience?
It was when I was living in the Netherlands that I pursued music as a profession. Of course I had a pretty good experience from my time in the struggle as well as with some Sudanese musical groups, but I wanted to take my experience further when I went to Holland. And so I started composing music for various Eritrean artists.
So you are not into singing anymore?
Well, I would rather say I leaned more into music arrangement but I do sing as well.
What special accomplishment stands out from your career in music so far?
What do your future plans include?
Well, I want to comeback to my country and share my musical experience with my own people.