Among a few other well known Gospel singers in Eritrea, Ruta Tesfamichael - singing in the Eritrean language of Tigrigna, stands out for a number of reasons. A few people I have been speaking to in the past few weeks, have been underlining the fact that her spiritual messages via the songs have made her the spiritual singer everyone listens to in Eritrea at the moment. Her third album, for instance, recently has also garnered lots of attention possibly for the same reason.
Her voice is another point that was raised quite commonly - and frankly that could be the number one reason, to my delight, I find her songs stuck in my head most of the time.
Her song entitled "Fuluy Mukanka" - roughly translated as "Because You are unique" referring to the oneness and uniqueness of the lord - is beautifully sung. She sings: "Everything that you've created says you are the lord, you are unique" "The ocean knows You are one, everything alive knows You are unique"
Her tunes are more aligned to that of the modern East African music namely: Ethiopian music and Eritrean music - more so making it attractive for both Eritreans and Ethiopians that speak the language or have a certain level of understanding level. It is amazing how spiritual songs bridge cultural differences and language barrier don't stand on the way for many. She has been reaching out to a wide variety of audience, and she has perhaps played a role in getting the two countries closer through spiritual enlightenment.
My favourite of her songs has my all time favourite lines in Gospel songs. The lines translated include: "Like the sheep, you have made me free, free." and "We can't examine your path. You're too huge for that." - added to the anointed voice, one would find it difficult to take it out of mind.