Tsehaytu Beraki, 78, an Eritrean krar player and independence activist, died on May 28th. The krar or kraar is a five- or six-stringed bowl-shaped lyre from Eritrea and Ethiopia. It is tuned to a pentatonic scale. A modern krar may be amplified, much in the same way as an electric guitar or violin.
A chordophone, the krar is usually decorated with wood, cloth and beads. Its five or six strings determine the available pitches. The instrument’s tone depends on the musician’s playing technique: bowing, strumming or plucking. If plucked, the instrument will produce a soft tone. Strumming, on the other hand, will yield a harmonious pulsation.
A krar is often played by musician-singers called azmari. It usually accompanies love songs and secular songs.
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
29: Jürgen Marcus, 69, German singer (“Chansons pour ceux qui s’aiment”), COPD (death announced on this date).
28: Pippo Caruso, 82, Italian composer and conductor; Evio di Marzo, 64, Venezuelan singer- songwriter (Adrenalina Caribe), shot; Stewart Lupton, 43, American singer (Jonathan Fire*Eater); Josh Martin, 46, American guitarist (Anal Cunt), fall; María Dolores Pradera, 93, Spanish singer and actress.
27: Andy MacQueen, Australian bass guitarist (Exploding White Mice); Russ Regan, 89, American music business executive.
25: Tsehaytu Beraki, 78, Eritrean krar* player and independence activist; Piet Kee, 90, Dutch composer and organist.
24: Phil Emmanuel, 65, Australian guitarist, asthma attack; Thomas Helgeland, 88, American singer and actor (42); Ivan Khristoforov, 83, Russian singer.