Tribute Concert: A Successful Fundraiser Event
April 24, 2007
Speech Delivered by Biniam Tekle at the the Fund Raiser event held on April, 2007
Death is inevitable; it's a hard fact that is unchangeable. Its there and will always be there, but when it comes suddenly and snuffs out a life in its prime, a life full of vigor and possibilities, its impact is felt deeply and its effects profound. More so, when it takes away a life of a person that has touched the hearts and souls of thousands. Abraham Afewerki, whose life has vanished in the blink of an eye, was such a person.
Abraham loved the Red Sea and the Dahlak islands. Every time he is in Eritrea he would make a point of traveling to the sea. He loved walking alongside the sandy seashores. He would campout with friends and sleep out under the starry night sky taking in the ocean breath. He imprinted his name on the muddy sand and took a picture of it. The cover for his last album included images of the sea. His songs are filled with references to the real and metaphorical sea. His life, evidently, was to end at the sea. A terrible poetic injustice indeed.
Abraham's accidental death was greeted with utter shock and disbelief. His family, his friends, and thousands of his funs were devastated. His death provoked an unprecedented outpouring of grief at a massive scale. As the sad news of Abraham and Robel Solomon's, a magnificent artist in his own right, spread through out Eritrea, many grieved openly. In the Eritrean Diaspora, wrenching words of mourning filled Internet bulletin boards and forums. Multimedia tributes to Abraham were posted in a number of websites. The music video for the song Bebizelanayo were viewed more than 85, 000 times on Youtube. Messages of condolences from Ethiopia, Sudan and the other neighboring countries still continue to be posted.
The recurring sentiment in the thousands of messages received was expressed in the following words, "Abraham, you will always be in our hearts". And today, we are gathered here because he is indeed in our hearts. Abraham has touched thousands in death as he did in life, a bitter sweet testament to his iconic popularity.
Despite his monumental achievements, at the time of his death, Abraham's artistic enterprise was just beginning. A major part of that endeavor was going to focus on young Eritrean talents. A work, that many of his friends feel, must continue by all means.
We, the friends of Abraham, feel his death is but a small chapter in the book of his life. We feel that his legacy must endure and we want to use his death as a catalyst to do more good rather than be disheartened by it. Abraham's life was a testament to the virtues of hard work, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Abraham was the consummate professional who always aimed for perfection. Abraham believed in education and he was able to achieve a milestone in that aspect as well. We feel Abraham's life achievements could serve as a perfect template for aspiring young Eritrean artists. In that regard, the Abraham Afewerki Foundation for Music realizes that, the blueprint for the work it's embarking on is already written on the wall.
The Foundation will put its level effort to make a difference in the lives of young Eritreans. Music's contribution in the Eritrean culture has been the most fundamental and a lasting one. Music in its folk and contemporary form has progressively played a greater role in the Eritrean life particularly since the late fifties. During the last five decades Eritrea's musical field has produced some of its greatest musical personalities of which Abraham was one. The creative works of these artists have touched our hearts and souls, stirred patriotic fervor in us, made us step onto a stage, dance in the crowd or just simply have us look-on in awe. But above all they have inspired youngsters to follow on their footsteps.
The Abraham Afewerki Foundation for Music, in keeping with Abraham's dream, will try to assist talented but needy kids by making the opportunity to pursue a focused musical learning available to them. By doing so, the Foundation hopes to play a positive role in helping raise the standard of artistic accomplishments in Eritrea. The foundation believes that music education could also help students succeed in many areas of school, society, and life in general.
The work ahead for the Foundation is going to be a formidable challenge and the Foundation's efforts can not be successful without the support of the community at large. We would like to use this opportunity to appeal to all world music lovers in general and the Eritrean community in particular to support the Foundation by making charitable contributions.
I want to use this opportunity, on behalf of the Foundation, to thank all those who contributed, including those who traveled from far, to make this event possible. But I would like to single out Mr. Mike Schnider the director of Capital Hilton Catering for understanding our cause and providing us with tremendous assistance with the preparation this event. Our thanks also goes to Mr. Derrick Jackson of PS Audio Visual for his remarkable support.
Last but not list, thanks to you all, for coming in support of this noble cause.