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 other half of the twins that had at their disposal 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 happier returns!

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Interview About Somali Music

The Economist interviewed me a few months ago about Somali music. I've recently received a mail from the interviewer to the effect that the article would possibly be published soon, albeit "cut down considerably to 500 words". The full interview would cover almost all the inquiries I regularly receive from other interested parties as well - 13 in the last couple of months alone. I can no longer hold off replying to (repeated) requests on the premise and promise that an extensive interview is in the pipeline. All the more that the article/heavily edited interview, if ever published, may ironically raise more questions than it would answer. This is why I'm posting it here verbatim.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

LMB Compilation

A few guests mailed a request for more music by the theater troupe Libaaxyada Maaweeliska Banaadir (Banaadir Entertainment Lions). I've some of their tapes but the sound quality of most of the 25- to 35-year-old songs is, unfortunately, no longer apt for human consumption. LMB's traditional repertoire is as big and varied as its modern stock and it's a real pity almost all the traditional acoustic tracks are on a silence strike. Understandable as they, apparently, got fed up with being constantly listened to. Who knows, they may have decided to turn the tables on the inter-galactic spies by eavesdropping on the unconscionable universal tappers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

R.I.P. Shiikh Cabdi (Iftin's Guitarist)

Cabdi Cabdullaahi Maxamed ("Shiikh Cabdi") sadly passed away a few weeks ago in Denmark, where he's been ill for sometime. He started his career with the band Malkad in Mogadishu in 1973. After a short stint with Bakaaka in Kismaayo, a port city in the South of Somalia, he joined Iftin in 1977 and played on many of their albums till the onset of the civil war in Mogadishu in 1991. With the death of Shiikh Cabdi, Somali music has lost a self-taught, talented, versatile, innovative and intuitive guitarist and a warm, engaging and friendly personality. A.U.N../R.I.P.!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I'm delighted that attempts are being made to restore peace in Mali. The Dutch musician Laurens Joensen has embarked on a fantastic journey to support Malian musicians through benefit concerts, collecting guitars and other instruments which will be donated to the artists and a documentary featuring Malian musicians. The crowdfunded documentary is called Music for Mali and you can contribute here.

For background info. about the conflict in Mali and how culture and specially music(ians) have been affected, Freemuse has just published an extensive report written by Andy Morgan. The 64-page report can be downloaded here.

Speaking of peace, a couple of friends have recently returned to Somalia where the saints of doom are being dompted. The track below is for them as well as for anyone anywhere who is in a similar precarious situation.

Kooxda Halgan_Badbaado Guri Hooyo (1978) ("Safe Home")

And this one is whole-midfing-heartedly dedicated to the warlords in Somalia and everywhere else:

Horseed_Gabbalaa Iisoo Garguurtee (197x) ("The Sun/set is Crawling To Me")

Update: The project is fully crowd-funded. A lot of guitars and amplifiers are collected and will soon be shipped to Mali where the making of the documentary will start. An impression:

impression Music for Mali 'repairday' at MuzyQ from Murk-Jaep van der Schaaf on Vimeo.

Festivals in the Netherlands paid a special attention to Malian music and collected instruments, e.g. Festival Muziek op de Dommel in Eindhoven:

You can follow how the project is progressing on Facebook or via the newsletter

Update 2: Check also Sahel Calling, "an interactive, musical project to raise awareness about the refugees, internally-displaced persons and the people living in the conflict-affected areas of Mali and the Sahel".