Helen Meles

Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice.  It can be done solo, but is often done with a choir of singers or with a group of musicians and instrument players.  Born September 11th, 1966, Helen Meles began her singing career at age eight when she joined The Red Flowers Band in Sudan.  Like many Eritrean children, both of Helen’s parents were part of the revolutionary movement in the turmultuous nation they call home.  At age thirteen she joined the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF) revolutionary school and went on to participate in combat. If I had to choose a genre for Helen’s music it would be world music.  Since this genre is described as “popular music originating from or influenced by non-western musical traditions”.  It is said that Helen has taken her Native Tigrinya sound to a “different level by mixing traditional and modern music which is influenced by European, Arabic and African sounds.  Helen’s older brother Mikael “Webi” Meles is also a military man and popular singer as well.  Helen Meles is recognized for her “powerful voice and wide singing range”.  She has released many albums, singles and has also appeared in many films.  Musical releases include Albums such as Vol.1 Kuhulay Segan(1997), Vol.2 ‘Ti Gezan’ – 1998 (Remix of Tebereh Tesfahuney Oldies), Vol.3 Remix of Kuhulay Segan(2000), Vol.4 Resani (2003) and Vol.5 Halewat (2006).  She appeared in such films as Fikrin Kunatn(1997), Debdabieu(1999), Mesilka’we(2000) and Rahel(2002). She has won many awards including first place in the 2001  EriTv Award for Top Ten Love Songs, first place in the 2005 Halime Ember Top Ten Eri Festival and second place in the 2006 Fir Fir Top Ten Eri Festival Artistic Awards.  In 2007, Helen got married to Eritrean Saxophonist Isaac Asefaw.  Regarding her time in the  military and what it was like for the women, Helen recalls, “It was very different for them; even wearing trousers was strange and they were shocked when they  had to share blankets and beds with the men”.  Helen Meles has come a long way since those days of warfare.  She became one of the biggest selling Eritrean artists of all time and in the process, “has captured the hearts of  Eritreans and other African countries alike”.  She is only matched by South Africa’s Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Miriam Makeba as Africa’s  greatest female songstress.  Mrs. Helen Meles is also regarded  as one of the “biggest African stars of the twenty first century”.

 

Jackie Mittoo


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