As the Eritrean dream started to falter, Ali never compromised his stand. As many had feared, he was detained on 24 November 2005 as part of a wave of arrests that included 13 other prominent political and cultural figures.He was neither charged nor brought to an independent court.

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Osman has produced four albums and is currently finalizing his fifth.

He sings in Saho, Tigrinya and Tigre and masterfully assimilates traditional beats with modern music.

After Eritrea’s independence in 1991, the country’s political structure did not change much.

Artists continued to be monitored under the ruling party’s various organs.

After joining the musical association in Atbara in north-eastern Sudan and studying music for six months, he was exposed to different rhythms and modern music, which enabled him to reinvent his work.

Singing in Arabic and Tigre languages (spoken across Eritrea and eastern Sudan), Ali is an avant-garde singer who greatly modernized the traditional Tigre beats.

This period showed the bravery of Eritrean musicians, who were out of their element, underfunded, ill-equipped and without a support mechanism.

Those who joined the rebellion were in effect revolutionary fighters that performed for the cause.

Key exiled artists The career of Eritrea’s living legend, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Abrar Osman[i], spans more than three decades in exile.

His influence on modern Eritrean music has been immense.

Eritrean singers today are either army conscripts serving in divisions labeled “Information and Agitation” or are classified as civil servants of the ruling party’s Cultural Affairs Bureau.