Shigey mijn vlam (Shigey, my Flame)
At the time, it could be dangerous to sing the song. Shigey habuni, give me back my flame. The flame stood for Eritrea, a region that strove for independence. Tewolde Redda, the composer and singer of the song, performed it for the first time in 1967 in the Odeon cinema in the current capital Asmara. The audience went berserk and wanted to hear it again and again.
After a long struggle for freedom, Eritrea gained independence in 1993, but the singer and popular hero now lives in Rotterdam, just like other Eritreans who reminisce in the film about the war years and the song about the flame. A musician, a blind ex-soldier and his daughter, an architectural draughtsman and his wife: they all still sing Shigey habuni. Except Tewolde Redda. The man with his guitar who used to look like the Eritrean Elvis Presley now starts to weep when he thinks about how things ended. We can only surmise as to the exact ins and outs. Politics is a subject that still calls for prudence, someone explains.