Daniel Nebiat


Nebiat was born and raised in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. He picked up the krar at an early age, performing traditional songs and singing in his language, Tigrigna (the krar is a five or six-stringed instrument from Ethiopia and Eritrea). As a youth, not only was he immersed in traditional and contemporary music from his home, but he also listened to American pop, country and blues music.

Nebiat’s early musical talents were evident during the Hoya Hoye celebrations held around the New Year. He took part by singing traditional songs for his neighbors and with the money he collected was able to buy his first krar at the age of 12.

He had a strong desire to learn to play it, having watched other musicians perform. His mother, however, had different plans for Nebiat and after finding his krar at home she proceeded to break it in pieces and use it for firewood. The idea of him becoming a musician was not acceptable and she wanted him to study and choose a different profession.

Nebiat found a way to force a compromise during those early years.Working at his mother’s restaurant, he gave her an ultimatum that if she wanted him to continue to work for her then she must allow him to pursue his love of music. She reluctantly agreed. However as circumstances happened Nebiat did not play the krar again until he emigrated to Addis, the capital of Ethiopia at the age of 17. He completed his schooling there and during his stay he learned to play the krar from other skilled players.

Right from the start, while learning the proper tuning of the krar, Nebiat proved to his teachers that he had a natural gift for music. His first large public performance was in Nairobi, Kenya at the celebrations for the Eritrean referendum on independence from Ethiopia in 1994. He spent two years in Kenya before going to Canada in 1996.

Nebiat performed in 2006 at Glen Gould Theatre for CBC’s Onstage, at the “Horn of Africa” concert. He has performed at Afrofest, Afrikadey, Eritrean Cultural Day and Bana y’Afrique festivals. In 2007 Nebiat was the opening act for Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 at Harbourfront Centre.

Nebiat’s first CD recording ‘Hakimey” was released in August 2008 and features original and traditional Eritrean songs, sung in the Tigrinya language. The CD was well received. He has continued performing at several Eritrean and Ethiopian clubs in the city. He is in high demand performing at cultural events and weddings in his community across Canada and the U.S.


Track artwork
Okavango African Orchestra @ Afrofest 2013
CAToronto, Canada


Daniel Nebiat
Profile added by Stanley Gazemba on 21 Sep 2015