Dehab Faidtinga: Eritrea's Shining Star
|Eritrean artist and former freedom fighter, Dehab Faidtinga|
Dehab Faidtinga: Eritrea's Shining Star
By Yishak Yared,
It is true that many individuals renowned for their unique contributions in different disciplines, scientific innovations, artists and many more are born talents observed to demonstrate their talent from early childhood with minimum level and developing it through time either through education or through the hard way, trial and error. The young Eritrean artists we observe now-a-days displaying their innovative works during national occasions and festivals develop their carrier through researches and trials. The same applies when we come to artistic works. Our guest today is one of the renowned Eritrean artists who did not get formal education on the field but developed her talent with time through practice.
-Could you please tell us about yourself?
My name is Dehab Faidtinga. I was born in 1964 in Asmara, Geza Banda. I took my elementary education at Geza Banda public school up to grade six. I could not continue my education due to the hard time we had to go through. That was the time during which the fascist Derg regime was oppressing our country and people in brutal ways.
-So what did you do?
I had to quit my education for about two years but later on in 1977, like thousands of my peers, I joined the armed struggle for independence.
-Go on please.
I firstly took my military and political training at Bilekat. And after that I was assigned to the public administration department. I served in different places including Keren, Tokombia and Barentu. In 1978 I went to Afabet as part of the 9th batch cadres training; that tear marked the historic period in which our front took on the strategic withdrawal. I couldn’t finish my cadre training because of that and I along with my comrades had to move to north Nakfa.
In 1987 I was assigned to the Department of National Guidance to take part of the Kunama radio program. I didn’t stay there for long; the Derg army began its offensive and I retreaded had to the front line. After that as many Kunama and Nara girls started joining the armed struggle at a rather young age, most of them were taken to Tsabra School to get education, and there I was serving as an instructor and translator. Helping my little girls with their language skills and providing them with basic political knowledge.
-You were born and raised in Asmara, how did you come to master the Kunama language to the extent of joining the Kunama language radio program and serving as a translator?
You are right; until I joined the armed struggle I had little knowledge of my ethnic language. As but I did tell you earlier that had been assigned to Tokombia and Barentu in the department of public administration. It was there that I enhanced the small knowledge I had of the Kunama language; it actually took me five years to master it to perfection.
-What happened next?
I got assigned to the E.P.L.F’s cultural troupe as a singer for the Kunama ethnic group.
-Did you have a background of singing?
I still remember how since I was nothing more than a little kid, enjoyed singing and dancing trough out my days while doing my daily routine house works. As I joined the army, many of my comrades saw how I enjoyed singing and that how I got recommended to the cultural troupe-
-What was your first official song?
It was a song in Kunama; 1979 in Arag. The title of the song was “Laga Lafa Fala Fieso” it highlighted about the account of the Eritrean labor movement. The song got much acclamation by many and even they started to call me Miriam Makeba, which I later on learned that she was a very renowned South African female singer.
I didn’t stay with the cultural troupe for long because I was reassigned to the public administration department in Kassala, Sudan. Afterwords, I was elected as member of the assembly of the National Union of Eritrean Women’s of Tokombia district. So somehow my artistic activities were somewhat interrupted till 1988. But I stayed there till the time of independence.
-Have you been to Bologna Festival?
Yes! That was in 1990 and it was my first trip to Europe. It was a very good experience for me as an artist.
-How would you put the ongoing of your carrier after the independence?
I was married in 1991 and started a family of my own. So I naturally put first my duties as mom of two. But later on I joined Sibrit Cultural troupe. I also joined five other veteran women fighters as we formed a band called “Shushan Band”, We travelled to many African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Sengal organizing live concerts. And as we artistically grew as band we even preformed in America and Europe as part of our one year concert tour plan. But unfortunately the band was dissolved in 1997.
-What did you do then?
I had to go on my own. In 1996 I produced my first album “Selada”. The album was both in Kunama and Tigrigna languages: Isaias Tsegai helped me with the tigrigna lyrics, while Agostino Pietro helped me with the kunama songs. At the same time I produced four of my video clips. And later in 1999 I produced my first CD “Numei”. That CD was sponsored by Alliance Françoise. Lucky was I when I performed songs from the “Numei” album at a music festival in Paris and received international recognition. To this day my album is still being sold in European music shops. Ever that year that marked me as an well accepted singer I have been able to tour many European countries almost twice per year to perform.
-I also heard you received special award in South Africa?
It was in 2002. There was an African Women Festival participated by reprentatives of 35 African countries. Thanks to the relentless effort of then Ambassador Girma Asmerom to South Africa, I got the possibility of participating in the festival.i came back home holding thr award of second place. Later in 2003 there was an international conference in South Africa with regards to environmental protection in which many dignitaries and scientists took part. I was invited to perform there. And I performed with South African musicians. Thankfully I once again received acclamation by the conference participants.
-Let’s talk about your contributions to people living with HIV/AIDS.
I don’t want to brag but to humbly respond your question; I would say that I simply organized a gala dinner at Asmara Inter Continental Hotel in 2014 to raise funds aimed at assisting victims of the HIV/AIDS especially children who lost their parents due to the disease, that was it.
-let’s talk about your future plans.
I am happy to be telling you that I am soon to release an album containing songs in kunama, tigrigna and hidareb languages.
-Last words before we end our interview?
I am as always thankful to all of the people, such as Okbakedir Negash, Aklilu Tesfatsion, Samuel Almede, Gebrehiwot Tsehaie, Girai and so many more, whom helped me in building a consistent carrier like I have.
-We thank you.
Dehab Faidtinga: Eritrea's Shining Star Reviewed by Admin on 12:01 AM Rating: