Remembering Tsehaytu Beraki Queen of Eritrean Guyla – The Last Intimate Interview! On the occasion of the feast of Saint John QieNit brings to you the last intimate interview Tsehaytu Beraki recorded with the media before she passed away. In this episode she sits down with QieNit’s presenter Yared Tesfay for conversation essential enough for posterity.
TsehaytuBeraki is an absolutely legendary singer from Eritrea. Born in 1939 in Quatit, a small village, she soon picked up the Krar (5-string harp) and after moving to the capital Asmara she became a famous singer.. Her courage and inspiration still mean a lot to all Eritreans – The songs are as authentic as possible, to western ears it is largely unknown music.
Right from the get go Tsehaytu tells it as it is, presenter Yared starts off with a bit of banter to break the ice and get the ball rolling, being the perfect Asmarino Tsehaytu responds back in kind. Quickly though she uses the opportunity to delve into her roots highlighting the non-bourgeois upbringing born to an agriculturalist family making the distinction between traditional and effects of cultural invasions in our daily life.
Speaking of her musical background she wows the presenter himself as she explains how she started music at the age of just 6 picking up one of the 3 Kirars her aunt brought from Port Sudan, amongst the Kirars was also the hand made one which Ato Ateweberhan Segid used.
As Yared persists in finding out what is behind her unique singing style, Tsehaytu simply answers her talent is God given, and elaborates on how they used to sing in competition with local kids from local neighborhoods of Abashawel and Geza Berhanu “Shawel Doo Yehisheki Berhiney, Berhin DeA WeaBey, Berhin Doo Yehisheki Shawel, Shawel DeA WeaBey”.
Tsehaytu also shares stories of popular women artists like Abeba Desta, Tsehaytu Zenar AKA Gual Zenar, and the two sisters Holanda and Rosina. Tsehaytu grew up looking up to these popular women artists especially peeping through a narrow opening at Cinema Hamasien while the Italians managed it. The two sisters Holanda and Rosina were afforded use of the facilities and modern musical instruments. The two sisters were brought up well in Keren, and sung “Abay Selef Kem Tekhli Taba, Kehazleki Doo Kibleki Baba, N’ie Mamaye Mama, Mebrahti Geza, Feyori Nay Adina” this was sung was for their mother as her leg was amputated due to diabetes.