camel Eritrean website featuring resources relevant to Tigre history and culture




The harp has tunes according to which they play on it, and every one of its tunes has a name. And when it is played, they say: "This is the tune of such and such [a tribe]," and they recognize it. And it has tunes of grief and tunes of sporting joy. And every tribe knows its tune on the harp. And when it is played, each one shouts his war-cry.


The names of the tunes are the following:


sabab is that of the Nattab, i. e. the noblemen of the beni Amer.


mandar is that of the Habab, [who are also called] Ad Hebtes [after the name of their ancestor Hebtes wad Maflas].


ab-sarah is that of the Ad-Takles.


beles is that of the c Ad-Temaryam.


besfray is that of all [other Tigre tribes] that drink camel's milk; [i. e. the Moslem Tigre tribes with the exception of the above named].


And everybody has a war-cry which he shouts, be it at [the playing of] his tune or on any other occasion. J ) However, the beni Amer (or Bin-Amer), the Habab, the Ad-Takles, and the Ad-Nayib use mostly the war-cry fares (i.e. "brave"); and [again] every brave and courageous man uses the war-cry fares.


The musical instruments used by the Tigre people are flute, harp, trombone and drum ; the violin (ctra) is heard only occasionally played by people from the Tigrina country.


The flute is in use with the Mansa c (Bet- Abrhe and Bet-Sahaqan), the Bogos, the Bet-Guk and the two Marya (Black and Red).

The harp is played with all Tigre people except the two Mansa , the Bogos, and the Bet-Guk.


The trombone is known to the three Maflas (Habab, Ad-Takles, Ad- Temaryam), the Bogos and the two Marya.


The drum is the emblem of chieftainship and is, therefore, found only with tribes and families whose members have been chieftains (kantebay).