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Widely Helen Berhe is best known with her single clip Uzaza Allina. As this single clip is a Sudanese (Arabic) beat, the Addis born Ethiopian Helen Berhe is usually believed to be a Sudanese singer.
Helen Berhe - Uzaza Alena
Recently, with the Ethiopian New Year, Helen Berhe staged out with her new album, known as “Tasfelegnaleh!” (I need you!). In relation with her album, the widely circulated Amharic weakly, “Addis Admass” has conducted a brief interview with her. Here is presented the translation of the interview.
While others could not achieve wide acceptance and acknowledgement with their consecutive albums, Helen simply proved to be the best, with “Uzaza Allina” that usually viewed via television channels, YouTube and promoted her in a brief moment. The clip “Uzaza Allina” composed both in Arabic and Amharic replaced her natural and legal name Helen Berhe.
This young vocalist now came to the stage with her new album “Tasfelegnaleh”, after a three years tiresome preparation. This new album was released with the Ethiopian New Year. Addis Admass had conducted a brief interview with the emerging star on this new album and other related issues.
A.A: While you were a student many people say you were daily in Hager Fiker Theater? Is that true?
Helen: True. Since my childhood I had a special affection to music and dancing. I attend my high school at Menen School. While going and coming to school I visited Hager Fiker and enjoyed the music of the vocalists while they train. Their work got dominance on my soul and sometimes ignored my classes and went to Hager Fiker. One day I revealed my interest and asked the performance trainer to allow me to sing. He gave me the chance and listened my vocal and I song. “Your sound should be tamed” he told me later. He understood that my interest was high and allowed me to observe while the professionals sing and dance. This was a big opportunity to me. I followed my observation happily.
I spend my schooling time in Hager Fiker, with out the knowledge of my family. Finally at the eve of a new year I was allowed to perform at the stage of Hager Fiker as a dancer.
A.A: Does that mean the Theater house recruited you?
Helen: No, I was not paid. But that was nothing to me. What was important to me was to be seen at the stage of Hager Fiker. Thus usually I continued to train at Hager Fiker. In the meantime some people from aboard came and asked to take me abroad. Even if they were told that I am still an amateur, they insisted and took me to Bahrain.
A.A: How old were you then? Did your family agreed?
Helen: I was 18. I didn’t complete my high school. I took matriculation after I came back. My family didn’t know what really was happening and could not believe when I informed them that I am leaving to Bahrain. I was determined to leave, however, and could not deter me from leaving and with sorrow let me to go.
A.A: When does that happen? For how long did you stay at Hager Fiker?
Helen: I went to Bahrain in 2002; I stayed at Hager Fiker not for more than 3 months.
A.A: What happened in Bahrain, what was the reaction of your audience?
Helen: I staged in a Hotel known as Seychelles. Seychelles and Awol are two famous Hotels managed by a single owner. At a shift of every half month, I was staging in both hotels. There the vocalist and dancer is a single person. While you sing you dance. In their culture presents given to the performer are bunches of flowers. The spectator comes with a bundle of flowers and presents to the performer whom he admires. Finally these bundles of flowers will be collected and sold. We share the income of the sale equally with owner of the hotel. This is an extra income, on top of our salary. Really it was a good income. In their culture giving money to a performer is a taboo. And every spectator comes with bundles of flowers.
Helen Berhe - Yene Geta
A.A: How much was your salary?
Helen: My salary was 500 USD per month.
A.A: the amateur Helen at Hager Fiker, became professional at Bahrain?
Helen: When I left to Bahrain I was neither a performer nor a vocalist. I had the love and affection, but not actually the desired experience. There in Bahrain, my compatriots like Abnet Agonafir, Minalush Reta and Ismael Idris shaped me to follow the right direction.
A.A: For how long did you stay in Bahrain? How did you challenge home and family sickness?
Helen: I stayed in Bahrain for 2 years. It was a difficult time. Thought I got the material gains I was not free and left to Dubai.
AA: while you came out to the public with Uzaza Allina did you get the consent of the singer?
Helen: Yes, In Dubai I performed at Palm Hotel. The singer of Uzaza Allina, Nada, came to the hotel while I was performing. I was singing a Sudanese music. After the show she asked me if I am willing to join her at her concert. She had a concert at Sheraton Gera in Dubai. And we discusses over it. On that concert she played Uzaza Allina. I liked it very much. I asked her consent to perform it in Amharic and she was more than willing. I came back to Addis and discussed over it with Amharic lyrics and poem artists. Eyobel Berhanu and Zelalem Terefe wrote the lyrics, poem and the basic lyrics. Wondimeneh Assefa composed it and reached the public.
A.A: Did you expect such an applaud.
Helen: I did not expect such an applaud. Tigist Woyisso came to Dubai and inquired me why I sit ideal while I have such a clip. She came with clip to Addis and handed it to ETV. The clip was arranged in haste while I was busy to go to Dubai and I did not expect such massive applaud. However, I was amazed with the public reaction.
A.A: How much did you benefit from the clip?
Helen: I got a priceless name and fame. The name of the clip /song/ has already replaced my legal and natural name. It helped me as a spring board to jump to the future. It reminded me to be courageous and visional. On top of that, I have got a financial benefit that could be achieved from a single clip. It helped me to perform in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
A.A: I heard you are coming up with a new album known “Tasfelegnaleh”. How much are you convinced with the quality of your work?
Helen: As I have told you earlier, I have got a wide applaud from my audiences. This indicates that my audiences expect something better than Uzaza allina. Therefore I have tried to work hard and to come with my best performance.
I have assigned all my time, money, talent and experience to this work. I brushed aside all things and concentrated on this. I am coming to my audience not only with my single talent but the talents and skills of Habtamu Bogale, Eyobel Berhanu, Zelalem Terefe, Tamrat Desta, Abel Mulugeta, Asnake Gebreyes, Alemayehu Demeke, Getish Mamo have accompanied me. Additionally, the best known composer Abegaz kibrework (Shewota) has composed my six beats. On top of that, for the first time in his career he arranged me one lyric. The rest 8 beats are composed by Wondimeneh Assefa who composed Uzaza Allina. Therefore, I think this work will be one of the best.
A.A: Do you have clips.
Helen: From this album one music is arranged in a clip. The clip known as “Libe”, is directed by Sintayehu Sisay. It is a well arranged clip filmed in Addis Ababa, Ziway and Langano beach.
A.A: Now what do you feel?
Helen: You see, for me now it is challenging. The work that consumed my time, money and talent with years of preparation is a big deal in my life. My excitement begins when I get the reaction of my audience.
Finally I want to thank to all my friends who granted me their all rounded assistance in all forms. My great gratitude goes to Migbar Mekete to his unlimited support.
Helen Berhe - 01 - Tasfelgegnaleh (4:42)
Helen Berhe - 02 - L'bbe (4:20)
Helen Berhe - 03 - Yene F'kr (5:00)
Helen Berhe - 04 - Zena Zena (5:34)
Helen Berhe - 05 - S'mh Aydellem (3:49)
Helen Berhe - 06 - Semay (5:33)
Helen Berhe - 07 - N'geregn (6:32)
Helen Berhe - 08 - L'hid (5:28)
Helen Berhe - 09 - Title 2 (5:07)
Helen Berhe - 10 - Kedugnam (4:48)
Helen Berhe - 11 - Athun Yelela (6:08)
Helen Berhe - 12 - B'semahakta (5:01)
Helen Berhe - 13 - Attasferaragn (4:24)