Music Video: 'Onnalee' filmed in Eritrea
I’ve never been a religious person, but it’s hard to deny the higher connection between people, circumstance & ceremony. Five years ago we had traveled to Asmara, Eritrea, and fell into, by chance, a mass Christian Orthodox baptism for Palm Sunday. Hundreds of women dressed in white netsela cloth, entering through a separate door as the men, waiting to usher their babies to the higher place. I was pregnant at the time, and some weeks later I would lose my own baby- I didn't know at the time he or she was already on their way to that same place.
It’s hard to square the clear human rights abuses of Eritrea with this sanguine moment of purity. How could something so beautiful exist in a place that has been named “the North Korea of Africa”? That two extremes could even exist side by side, that is the exaltation of humans.
My grandmother, Onnie, who had passed away some months before, was the most religious person I knew (& the only person I went to church with). I wrote a song for her, tying together this beautiful cycle of life, death, and then life again- surrounded by these women, new life all around me and the acceptance of going “to the next destination.” I hope you enjoy!