Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mogadishu Blues: A Celebration of Somali Music and Poetry (concerts)

I got the blues!
"It has been a dream in the making but we are proud to introduce you to Mogadishu Blues: a tribute concert in honor of Somali music from the 70’s and 80’s.

The Breathing ensemble led by Orville Breeveld together with four renowned Somali musicians will take you back the golden era of Somali music. It will be a trip down memory lane in which we will reminisce & relive the heydays of Somalia’s best days.

Come & celebrate beautiful Somali music and culture like never before, and make sure to bring your whole family to experience this amazing tribute. It will be a show like you have never seen before!

The kick-off of Mogadishu Blues will be during the National Theater Weekend in the Hague (Saturday 16 January 2016). The Second show will take place on Saturday 30 January 2016 at Theater Meervaart in Amsterdam.

For ticket sales go to the website of Nieuwe Kerk and Meervaart
For questions and inquiries:"


Yes, I got the blues...Everyday!

Noora Noor_Forget What I Said

A Hodgepodge of Somali traditional dances in 5 minutes:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Heads Up

Two compilations of Somali music from the 1970s and 80s:

1. Au Revoir, Mogadishu Vol.1: This 90-minute cassette has just been released by the German label ÇAYKH Recordings. You can buy the tape here.

2. Light & Sound of Mogadishu will be released on 29 August on LP and CD by the Helsinki-based label Afro7.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Faadumo Qaasim - Dhabta I Saar (K7, 1974)

Faadumo Qaasim sadly passed away in 2011 after a glorious, socially engaged artistic career spanning five decades. RIP! This tape was reissued in 1992 with 2 additional songs, namely track 5 and 10.

01. Qays & Layla ("Romeo & Juliet")

02. Dalka Nuuriyow ("The Light of the Land")

03. Maalin Walbaan Kuu Marqaamaye ("I'm Permanently Intoxicated With You")

04. Qaanso Roobaad ("Rainbow")

05. Dalkeygow! (Oh My Land!)*

10 Adeeg Yaa Noogu Diraa? ("Who To Send On An Errand (To Reunite Me with My Exiled Lover]?")*


* See this post for the context and a partial translation of track 5

Friday, December 26, 2014

Durdur - Raxmaddii Rabbi Baa Lagu Raaxaystaa (k7)

This is the soundtrack of a tragicomedy of the same name. Sometime in the '80s we're partying at Taleex hotel in Mogadishu. When this record started, almost everybody jumped up to dance the new rage kabxadro, a merge of the traditional butt-wiggling dance/music genre kabeebey and psychedelic Sufi mystical dance xadro. Unable to resist the stompy frenzy, the floor decided to join the merriment and ... collapsed! - coincidentally, track 4 is also known as Gariiree ("I'm Quaking"). Miraculously, no one was badly injured! Anybody who was there, please get in touch.

The rather offbeat title of this album translates to "We Enjoy/Dance to God's Grace" and all the 9 tracks are glorifying or lamenting many shades of un/requited... secular love. If the warlords, from al-shabaab to the CIA et al, possessed half the senses and wits that sinking floor had, they'd shake their fat asses and fucked up brains to any beats of their choice. In which happy case they'd, at worst, only break their bricks and bones... and most definitely get much closer to whatever (transcendental) El Dorado they're seeking than they ever will through the barrels of their weapons, from simple rifles to high-tech drones. Fingers crossed!

Happy, healthy and peaceful 2015!


01 Nin Walboo Abaalkiis ("Every Man Gets His Due / Every Dog Has His Day")

02 Ilasoo Dheeshidaa ("Dance With Me")

04 Gibilkeyga Gaddoomayee ("My Complexion Has Transformed")

PS. For the first time in 20 years, Durdur have recently performed a series of concerts all across Minneapolis, with the finale at the world-class Cedar Cultural Center. As far as I can see, none of the original instrumentalists was there and that's why the music sounds a bit different. Nevertheless, according to messages and vids online, "they brought down the house". Congratulations!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Waaberi Hargeysa Compilation

Founded in 1954, the theatre troupe Walaalaha Hargeysa (Siblings of Hargeysa) was nationalized and renamed Waaberi Hargeysa (Hargeysa's Dawn) following the military putsch in 1969. They were based in Hargeysa, the 2nd largest city in Somalia and currently the capital of the secessionist Somaliland. They're somewhat obscured by their Mogadishan namesakes/twins that had at their disposition hundreds of artists and, thus, a massive repertoire. Nevertheless, WH had to their credit scores of plays and were widely popular all over Somalia and in the neighbouring countries. All the songs here belong to plays from the '70s and '80s performed live mainly by deeply loved, highly respected, widely venerated... female vocalists and actresses.

In this day and age, Somali women's rights are regularly violated by tribal and religious socio-psychopath(et)ic warlords and ordinary criminal thugs. In this light or glaring obscurity, I'd like to salute Aman Radio, the first all-female radio station in Mogadishu which celebrated its first anniversary on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Ladies and... ladies, congratulations for this pressing and heroine-ic initiative and many happy returns!

1.Hablaha Soomaaliyeed ("Somali Girls [Freedom of Choice]")

2. Adkeysan Waayoo ("Can't Stand [Injustice to Women]")

3. Gari Makaa Baxdaa? ("Do you Serve Justice?")

4. Waan Ku Haybinayoo ("I've Been Looking for You")

5. Soo Dhowoow ("Welcome")

6. Markaan Da'da Jirey 15 ("When I Was 15 [ I Had Dreams]")

7. Gudcuraan Caddoba Jirin ("Dark Ages")

8. Cagta Saar Waddada ("Hit the Road")

9. Kaalay Adhaxda Igu Qaad ("Come and Carry Me on Your Back")

10. Heri Maahee Hana Haabaa [A Traditional Love Dance]

11. Ha Saydhin Wacadka ("Don't Disavow the Commitment [Tradition To Cherish Your Better Half]")

12. Masiibadu Adduunyada Iyadaa U Macallin Ah ("Calamities Teach The World Lessons")

The compil is downloadable here. Most of my WH tapes are no longer listenable but I've about a dozen other tracks of which the sound quality is comparable to this batch. I may upload them sometime in the future. Leave a comment or pm me if it takes too long and you'd like to get them.

This is a full WH-play. As an integral part of the play, the songs are scattered throughout the video - at 11:55, 19:10 etc.

Update: Part 2 (17 tracks)

1. Dardaaran ("Testament")

2 Intaad Nabad Doonto ("Seek and Wage Peace")

3 Sir Ma Qabe ("Honest and Frank")

4 Xaawo iyo Aadan ("Eva & Adam")

5 Calaf Lama Dago ("Destiny/Complementarity Can Not Be Deceived/Betrayed")

6. Dahab Weeye Gabadhuye ("Girls Are Golden")

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Waaberi Hargeysa

Following comments and mailed requests, I'm trying to make a compilation of Waaberi Hargeysa (1969-1990). In the meantime, a couple of their vids:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Band: Iska Dhaaf

A friend mailed me the other day a link to a familiarly named band of which I haven't heard before. Iska Dhaaf (which means in Somali so much as let it go, stop it, forget it, don't bother, so what! ...) is a new American band recently formed in Seattle. From their site:

Inspired by Sufi poetry, limitation, and an obsessive preoccupation with writing, Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes have fused their seemingly disparate musical and personal backgrounds into something searching and honest. Their songs, with heavy rhythms and cutting melodic hooks, are at once infectious and sweetly disarming

Wondering why they chose a name from the hell in paradise, I found  this artcle :

Tonally, the group borrow vintage African rock tones and scales, especially the lo-fi warbly guitar sounds that resurfaced with the recent re-release of Dur-Dur Band’s Somali funk-rock. It makes sense—Verdoes has spent a long while now learning the Somali language, and the cultural fascination seems to be leaking into Quiroga’s excellent guitar work...What’s interesting about the band is how subtly the African influence is blended with surf and punk...

This explanation immediately hurled me back to memories of outfits from the 70s and 80s which blended Somali folk with funk, rock, punk and surf guitar. Specially Onkod and Danan razed the roof with that otherworldy sound. The sad reality is that I can't find any of their albums; neither in my or my friends' collections nor online. I'd be grateful to anybody who can tip us off to their hiding places.

Iska Dhaaf's debut efforts are easy to find and they're imo quite magnificent. Or, as we say in Somali, waa lama dhaafaan (not to be missed)!