Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Popular Eritrean singers apologise for migrant song

By Teklemariam Bekit |BBC Tigrinya|

Two popular singers in Eritrea have been forced to apologise for a song which portrayed migrants as unpatriotic after an angry backlash from fans.

Singers and sisters Danait (L) and Semhar (R) have a huge following
Singers and sisters Danait (L) and Semhar (R) have a huge following

The apology came about two years after Danait and Semhar – who are sisters and the daughters of music legend Yonhannes Estifinos – released Be Watchful.

Fans accused them of failing to grasp the difficult conditions in Eritrea, including military conscription for young people, and of being insensitive by showing in their music video a clip of people drowning in the Mediterranean – the route used by Eritreans and other African migrants to reach Europe.

The singers initially rode the storm, but public anger has resurfaced following the release of Semhar’s latest song, which is about love.

Although it has nothing to do with politics or migration, it has rekindled memories of Be Watchful among fans.

More than 5,000 people complained about the 2017 song in comments on the recent release on YouTube – though others rallied behind the sisters.

When contacted by BBC Tigrinya, both singers said they apologised to their fans who had been hurt by the Be Watchful video.

The singers said they had never intended to insult fellow Eritreans.

“We want people to like our work, not to hate our effort,” Semhar said, with Danait agreeing with her.