Blin dances and songs


By the Blin Language Forum


The following Blin dances are performed at different occasions and events depending upon the occasion, relevance to the main event or the aim for which they are performed.


The following seven genres, or types of dances, are played, variously, in any event or occasion in a Blin community. Which of these are also played in other Eritrean communities is not dealt with in this entry, although this is an important dimension of studying about Eritrean dances. The following list is ordered according to the usage pattern in a typical occasion, i.e., often Sisiit (ish-kish) is the opening genre, followed by the others in the list. But this does not mean that all seven types are played at any one time, occasion, or serially ordered manner.


Sisiit (ish-kish)                 


Wessomia (Wad Somia)

Shelil dance


Alelele (welelewo)



Although these genres are described as dances, due to the songs associating them, the lyrics, the sound, and the body movements, all these make them to be characterized as theatrical performances. None of the dances described below can be played without moving the body in one or another direction, clapping of hands, with intensity sometimes, and often an active audience commenting or reacting to the performances, with appreciation, comprehension or other evaluative behavior. This means that the body constitutes part of the musical instruments used to play any of the dances, and each player or actor follows a certain common pattern that allows features particular to each dancer or performer. Thus, the dancers have also an artistic skill. Consequently, the use of the whole body in performing these theatrical and artistic performances, there may be gender implications as the body is moved often differently depending upon whether one is a male or a female. As important this aspect might be for gender studies, however, it is not dealt within this introductory description of Blin dances and songs. As alluded above, the duration, intensity of performance, and use of any musical instruments, such as the drum, may vary according to the players and audiences. Below we have described four important aspects of each genre or dance type.


What is it, and how is it danced?

Who plays it?

When and under what conditions is it played?

Which musical instruments are used?


o      Sisiit (ish-kish)                 



o      Golia




o      Wessomia (Wad Somia)




o      Shelil dance




o      Beredg




o      Alelele (welelewo)





o      Chefera