Traditional music varies between the different folk and language groups. The most important instruments include lyrinstrumenten krar and begena, drums kebero and negarit, the single-stranded string instrument Chira wata and wind instruments embelta and shambeqo. Music with traditional roots that are still performed is the party music guayla. The genre’s two biggest stars during the 20th century were Tsehaytu Beraki (born 1939) and Bereket Mengisteab (born 1938), who were active in Addis Ababa in the 1960’s, but later participated in the armed struggle for independence from Ethiopia.
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Eritrea, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
Music played a major role during the freedom struggle, and nationalism and love for the homeland has been the dominant musical theme. The foundation for modern Eritrean music was laid during this period by Mahber Theater Asmara, an orchestra in which several of the country’s stars began their careers, including Tewelde Redda and Tebèreh Tèsfa Hunègn (born 1947).
Also among the country’s most famous artists are Yemane Baria (actually Yemane Ghebremichael; born ca 1940, died 1997), Abraham Afewerki (born 1970), Helen Meles and Dehab Faytinga (born 1964).