Date: Wed Mar 17 2010 - 20:09:12 EST
Shingrwa: Arafa Hamid the Star
It was fitting that Shingrwa’s finals took place during an important week that celebrated womanhood around the world, a day before the International Women’s Day on March 7. It is also symbolic that a woman, Arafa Hamid won and became Shingrwa or the Star...
My family was a fan of Arafa Hamid from the very beginning. We hoped she wins and believed she would and, she won easily. With all due respect, she is the undisputed winner. She is Shingrwa (star) and all that entails. She is bright infectious and her smile is bound to capture any environment she steps on. She is exemplary and has a personality that radiates and commands attention. She is feisty and full of positive energy. She is a natural and true representative of Eritrean music, culture and whatever she set out to represent. She won because she performed beautifully and masterfully.
Arafa Hamid is a true Shingrwa that deserves the honor without qualifications because she won the old-fashioned way; she earned it! She beat every body that competed against her. She out sung all. Out danced all and out charmed all. With out a doubt she is Shingrwa.
In many ways, Shingrwa - the Show - works contrary to the ways and the history of how Eritrean musical-stars become stars. The history of Eritrean musicians shows that there are certain foundations that their music and stardom are based on. They used cultures, traditions and regional tendencies as foundations. They used Eritrean victories, Eritrean history as well as the trials and tribulations Eritreans endured as basis to their songs. Above all, the key ingredient is and has been; unwavering nationalism and love for Eritrea and each other.
They came from villages and towns to pursue their passion. They came from every angle of Eritrean societies with different musical takes and, conveyed it to Eritrean musical scenes melodically; with traditional and modern instruments. They have done it throughout-generations and through-thick-and- thin. They entertained, wed, motivated, educated, inspired and consoled Eritrea. They did it regardless of the obstacles they faced; risks to their life and livelihoods and, did it everywhere. They sang during Haile Sellasie and Derg’s rules risking their lives. They did it during the liberation struggle in Meda-Ertra and everywhere becoming the messengers and anchors for Eritrea. They served Eritrea well by keeping the torch alive and united to victory. That is how they earned their stardom.
I would like to mention all the stars but it is impossible to do it in this small piece. Therefore, I will mention just a few to make a point or two; stars like the brave Ato. Atewebrhan Seghid who preached peace by singing, “Aslamay-Kistanay”, Memhir Al-amin Abdulatif who reminded “Seb N Khebdu Tiray Aykonen Zinebir”, Yemane Barya told Eritreans about their ports and riches, Tsehaitu Beraki educated love, Yonus Ibrahim told people about sports and Bereket Mengisteab implanted the vision of “Meley” and so on...
These are self-driven legendary musicians that seeded the foundation for Eritrean musical stardom. However, to call them musical stars only will do a disservice to their contributions. These legends are leaders’ that contributed and are contributing in ways that no other musician in the world could phantom. Moreover, all the musicians that followed them have stepped on the same pathways whether it Bekita Ali, Helen Meles or Dehab Faytinga …
That is the backdrop as well as the basis that Shingrwa judges base-their decisions on in addition to the musical talents and other intangibles on consideration. Therefore, I was a bit dismayed when Barnabas Mebrahtu, while announcing the result of their deliberation; proclaimed that they have not found a “Shingrwa” and allowed the MC to proceed with announcing Arafa Hamid the winner.
I love Shingrwa-the-show for entertainment and for the fact that the judges are keen on developing music at high-level. I like the eloquence and professionalism they bring and, what they like to achieve with the program. I also believe it is good for this generation because it can motivate and unearth new talents. It also promotes Eritrean-music-industry positively thus putting music in good light in the society. The judges deserve a high praise for that.
However, Shingrwa is only a door. It is a door for the participants to earn stardom by following on the footsteps of these legends. Shingrwa provides newfound opportunities based on mass media and the internet. It introduces these new talents as potential greats and, if they have the IT factor it will magnify it. That is what Shingrwa is until it can prove otherwise.
I have to say, I am glad Arafa Hamid arrived-at-the-door Kunama style and dresses, accompanied by traditional instruments; with a smile and razzle-dazzle that could awaken the dead. She is the shining star and more. She has the beauty, voice, personality and grace deserving of a star. She is marketable and I am sure; she will go a-long-way because of her temperament and desire.
I wrote this article to show that Eritreans in the Diaspora are a part of what is happening in Eritrea heart and soul. That we are connected and share the life in Eritrea not just to say we love Eritrea but we live Eritrea and Eritrea lives in us. In other words, what happens in Eritrea is as much a part of our life. Congratulations to those who reached the finals and all those who participated. We love Shingrwa and wish it continued success and appreciate the fact that it inspires musicians from every corner.
Congratulations Arafa Hamid.
Wetru Awet N Hafash
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