Dehab Faytinga

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Faytinga - Portrait by Bathsheba Okwenje (2008).jpg
Background information
Birth nameDahab Faid Tinga
Born (1964-06-10) June 10, 1964 (age 54)
Asmara, Eritrea
GenresWorld, Kunama

Faytinga is a singer and musician from Eritrea. She was born Dahab Faid Tinga in 1964, and is also commonly known as Dehab Faytinga.[1][2] She belongs to the Nilotic Kunama ethnic group.[3] It is one of the nation's recognized ethnic groups, where women and men have equal rights.[4]

Early life[edit]

Faytinga's mother was from the Tigrinya people, while her father was a revered freedom fighter among the Kunama people. The state of anarchy that ensued in 1942 after the defeat of the Italian army, forced him to form a military band to defend the Kunama people against the raids they suffered. He was given the nickname of 'Fighting gun' (taken from his name 'Faid Tinga') by the British administration in the early 50's. Between 1952 and 1962, he was elected enthusiastically to represent the Kunama people. At the end of the Federal arrangement he was imprisoned several times by the Ethiopian Government for his pro-Eritrean work. He was a political prisoner when the Ethiopian military regime came to power and he was freed by the EPLF in 1974 when they stormed the prison in Asmara. Faid Tinga Longhi was a hero for the Kunama people.[5][6][7]

in 1977, at the age of fourteen, Faytinga joined the liberation struggle and she became a combatant during the Eritrean War of Independence until the liberation in 1991.[2][8][9] After being given military and political training at Bilekat, she was assigned to the public administration department. In 1987 she started to work with the Department of National Guidance to set up the Kunama radio programme. She then joined the cultural troupe as a Kunama language singer. In the late 80's, Faytinga was reassigned to the public administration department in Kassala, Sudan and later Tokombia, where she was elected as member of the assembly of the National Union of Eritrean Women’s of Tokombia district.[10]

Career and musical style[edit]

In 1990, Faytinga toured the US and Europe as a member of The National Folkloric Troupe of Eritrea called the Sibrit Cultural Troupe.[11] After releasing her first album “Sala Da Goda” on tape, she toured for the first time as a solo artist in 1995. Faytinga won the 2nd prize and 1st East African women singer at the 2000 Ma’ Africa in Benoni, South Africa. It took until 1999 and an appearance at the Africolor festival in France,[12] before she could record her first album "Numey".[13][14]

Faytinga composes her own songs and also interprets work from well-known poets and composers from Eritrea. When singing, she plays the krar, a small lyre.

The CD album "Numey" is Faytinga's first international release on the Paris-based Cobalt label. All of the songs on this album of hers are in her native Kunama language, which belongs to the Nilo-Saharan family.

In 2003, Faytinga released her second album "Eritrea". Besides the krar and wata, she also brought guitar, flute, and percussion sounds.

Faytinga has always been interested in music and developed her style ‘in the field’ that represents her own blend of several traditional music forms.[15][16]

World stage[edit]

Faytinga has been performing around the world representing Eritrea as a 'cultural ambassador' for her country. As Marco Cavallarin wrote in the Italian journal Africa e Mediterraneo, 'Faytinga interprets the profound culture of her country and its most ancient and more recent history, from the origins of the Kunama people to the war of liberation from the invading Ethiopia'.[17] She participated in particular to Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan[18] and to Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.[19] She also attended the Earth Summit 2002 held in Johannesburg, South Africa.[20] In addition, she has been collaborated with other artists such as the group Ouï-Dire in an attempt to mix her voice, her music and culture with that of other continents.[21][22]

Faytinga's music or photos are featured in various books,[23][24][25] expositions,[26] blogs,[27][28][29] video documentaries,[30] and other.

On 30 August 2004, in an interview with Joel Savage for The Voice Magazine she said that “I sing about peace, love, and togetherness, since war, conflict and other disturbances did not bring any positive change to Africa, but it only creates refugee crisis, pains, agony, discomfort and economic hardship. I bring a music of hope to the people.” With this spririt Faytinga played at the FLOG International music Festival in Florence (2004).[31][32]



  • Numey[33] - Cobalt Records, 2 January 2000. Songs from this album

Numey; Milobe; Amajo; Lagàla Fàla Fesso; Kundura; Aleyda; Alemuye; Milomala; Asàmen Gàna; Salada Goda

  • Eritrea[34][35] - Cobalt Records, 1 November 2003. Songs from this album:

Goda Anna; Hakuma Tia; Degsi; Leledia; Eritrea; Amajo; Laganga; Alemuye; Taham Bele; Sema 'Ett; Buba


  1. Megesha - Music Video, YouTube Faytinga channel, published 15-Dec-2012
  2. Ciao, Ciao - Music Video, YouTube Faytinga channel, published 17-Dec-2012
  3. Sebaki fkri - Digital distribution, independent, June 2014
  4. Wedi Asmara (Son Of Asmara) - Digital distribution, independent, December 2014
  5. Ala Ska - Music Video, YouTube Faytinga channel, published 20-Dec-2015
  6. Besela - Digital distribution, independent, July 2016[36] and Music Video, YouTube Faytinga channel, published 30-Dec-2016
  7. Kebkeba Kone - Music Video, YouTube Faytinga and FaytingaVEVO channels, published 16-Aug-2017
  8. Deglele - Digital distribution, independent, January 2018, and Music Video, YouTube Faytinga and FaytingaVEVO channels, published 11-Jan-2018
  9. Lebam U Zdle - Music Video, YouTube Faytinga and FaytingaVEVO channels, published 23-Nov-2018


  1. World Divas (Wagram Records, 2006) - Song "Lagàla Fàla Fesso"
  2. Africolor, Musiques du Monde (Believe, Cobalt, 2008) - Song "Hakuma Tia"
  3. The Asmara All Stars : Eritrea's Got Soul (Out Here, 2010) - Songs "Amajo" and "Gwaila International"[37][38][39]


Faytinga is one of the first artists from Eritrea engaged in support of people living with HIV and AIDS. She has participated in numerous World AIDS Day events including as guest-star singer on 1 December 2003 during the event held at the Hotel Intercontinental,[40] and in June 2005, together with Kenyan singer Achieng Abura in an exceptional gala diner concert for the benefit of women and children affected by HIV and AIDS. She also performed on the occasion of the opening of the Namibia gender-based violence Art Exhibition on 10 December 2013 at UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Faytinga. "Official bio" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Ayad, Christophe (23 July 2002). "Faytinga, porte-voix de la guérilla". Libération. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  3. ^ "The Kunama People of Eritrea". 9 November 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  4. ^ "La chanteuse matriarche". Le Mouvement Matricien. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  5. ^ Kheir Omer, Mohamed (5 February 2015). "Fait Tinga Longhi, nicknamed "Fighting Gun" one the veterans for the independence of Eritrea". Hedgait blog. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Eritrean Names and their Meaning". 19 September 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Faytinga". TV5. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  8. ^ Mortaigne, Véronique (14 November 2003). "Faytinga Eritrea". Le Monde.
  9. ^ Bios, Diallo (27 January 2004). "La chanteuse aux os de fer". Jeune Afrique. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  10. ^ Yared, Yishak. "Eritrea's shining star". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  11. ^ Efrem, Samrawit (11 November 2009). "Sibrit Cultural Troupe Celebrating Eritrean culture diversity". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Faytinga". 24 February 2003. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  13. ^ Leterrier, Alain. "Faytinga : une grande tournée européenne et son premier cd produit par l'Alliance française d'Asmara". Les nouvelles d'Addis. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  14. ^ Covington, Richard (3 February 2000). "Internet Sites, Radio and Festivals Spread the Gospel of World Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  15. ^ Glaser, David. "La voix musicale de l'Erythrée habite à Nyon". La Côte. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  16. ^ Tewolde-Berhan, Zara. "Popular music in Eritrea". Music in Africa. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  17. ^ Cavallarin, Marco. "Appunti dall'Eritrea". Africa e Mediterraneo (in Italian) (35–36). Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  18. ^ "National Day of The State of Eritrea in Aichi Expo 2005 – Japan" (pdf). Expo 2005 Aichi Japan. 10 June 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  19. ^ "National Pavilion Day of Eritrea celebrated at World Expo". CCTV. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  20. ^ Rogers, Guy (2002). "Global Network Will Monitor Marine Environment" (PDF). The Herald. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  21. ^ Labesse, Patrick (7 December 2003). "Ouï-Dire, à la rencontre des cinq continents, croise l'Erythréenne Faytinga". Le Monde.
  22. ^ "Concert. Faytinga & Ouï Dire". Maison Populaire. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  23. ^ Savage, Joel (2013). Passion of reggae and African music. [S.l.]: Virtualbookworm Com Publi. ISBN 978-1-62137-348-3.
  24. ^ Tenaille, photogr. Bill Akwa Bétotè ; Textes Frank (2001). Musafrica : portraits de la musique africaine. Paris: Ed. du Layeur. p. Front cover. ISBN 2911468694.
  25. ^ Labourdette, Dominique Auzias et Jean-Paul (2012). Érythrée ([Éd.] 2012-2013. ed.). Paris: Nouvelles éd. de l'Université. ISBN 2746953730.
  26. ^ Bétotè, Bill Akwa. "Mélodie de femmes". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  27. ^ Bathsheba, Okwenje. "People and Proust". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  28. ^ "Qui Eritrea". 28 October 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  29. ^ "Faytinga". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  30. ^ SeawaterFoundation (18 July 2008). "Greening of Eritrea (pt.2)". YouTube. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  31. ^ Savage, Joel (30 August 2004). "Faytinga; Freedom fighter woman turned musician". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  32. ^ Cavallarin, Marco. "Firenze, Donne d'Africa Festival dei Popoli". Africa e Mediterraneo (in Italian) (49). Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  33. ^ Bain, William (3 June 2013). "Distinctive Performance by Eritrea's Faytinga". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  34. ^ "Faytinga - Eritrea". Fip radio. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  35. ^ "L'Afrique en Musiques" (PDF). May 2012. Archived from the original (pdf) on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  36. ^ Music in Africa. "Swiss-based Eritrean singer Faytinga working on new album". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  37. ^ Troughton, Richie (22 December 2010). "Asmara All Stars - Eritrea's Got Soul". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  38. ^ Battaglia, Andy (22 October 2010). "Bringing the sounds of Eritrea to the world". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  39. ^ Dostes, Romain (April 2012). "Eritrea's Got Soul - Asmara All Stars". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  40. ^ OCHA (12 December 2003). "Eritrea: Humanitarian Update 12 Dec - HIV/Aids". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  41. ^ UNAIDS (11 December 2013). "Breaking the silence around gender-based violence". Retrieved 3 October 2014.

External links[edit]