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.!

I've quite a few Iftin tapes on which Shiikh Cabdi has played lead but the sound quality has, unfortunately, disintegrated. Here is a compilation of tracks which have slightly or reasonably defied the warped static teeth and the wrath of the times.

1. Xuduud Ma leh Xubigaan

2. Wacad Beena Ma Roonee

3. Hab Isii 

 4. Cantar iyo Ceebla

5.  Naf Jacayl Haleelay 

6.  Ma Hurdee Habeenkii

7. Ul iyo Diirkeed

8. Xubi Xoog Magalee

9. Dalxiis

10. Xariir

The tracks above and others can be downnloaded here.


PS. I've just added the two live tracks below. They are only individually downloadable.

Daaadba Daadkii Ka Ween Waa La Duulaa (Live)

Shukri I Shumi Shooblow Ka Shiix (Live)



  1. Thanks for the tracks. When did he die? I can't find anything on the web. I saw him a few years ago in london, a realy nice guy. RIP.

    1. I couldn't find much either, but I saw a couple of condolences + a vid according to which he passed in the last week of March.

  2. thank you very much. please who is singing Hab Isii? i'd be eternally grateful if you can give me the lyrics in somali. my parents used to listen to it a lot when I was a child and I searched everywhere for years. no luck till now. i spontaneously started crying from the first sentence. saynab.

    1. The singer is Maryan Mursal on an average day. This is OK but imo she can sing much better, even now that she's a sexagenarian and circa 30 years after this song was recorded.

      - 2011:
      - 1980s:

      Take care!


      Hab isii horaadka isoo saareey
      isoo saar
      hamigayga yeel igu soo haadee
      isoo haad
      i hogaami waan kula hayaayee (2x)

      CHORUS (4x)
      Hambalyeysta heestaan macaan
      ila soo heeesa
      heelee soo hoosha isoo hooshay

      Har iyo habeen aan hortaa joogaa
      hortaa joogaa
      ha i hiifin waan kugu soo hoobtee
      soo hoobtee
      hagar iga dhaaf kuma hilmaamaayee (2x)

      CHORUS (4x)

      Hubsi la'anta waalagu habaabaayeey
      hudhudaa jiraa naa kala heeraayeey
      an heeshinno waan isku hareynaayee (2x)

      CHORUS (4x)

      FINAL REFRAIN (3x)
      hoosha hoosha hoosha
      isoo hooshaay
      heelee soo hoosha
      isoo hooshaay

      (Waa hambalyadii Shankar Foon (with compliments of Shankar Phone [the recording studio])

    2. WOW, WOW, WOW! fantastic! i can now sing along, i owe you 1. thank you so much. rip Shiikh Cabdi.

  3. Thanks. The first song hits me hard, it's sad and delightful simultaneously. What's it about?

    1. It's a dirge and the title means "This Love Has No Boundaries". He's lamenting the loss of his girl who sings back that death is a natural part of life's cycles and that he'd get on with his life and let her rest in peace.

  4. Can you plse translate hab isii? I'm of somali-english descent and i speak a bit of somali but i don't understand most of the words. Thanks in advance and all your efforts and great writings here and elsewhere are highly appreciated. -- Suzanne

    1. You're welcome! I'm neither a translator nor an English native speaker. I can, thus, only offer an amateurish and quick translation.

      Take me in your hands, put your chest on mine
      put it on mine
      fulfill my burning desires, fly to me
      fly to me
      take the lead, I'm in love with you

      Congratulate yourself/ves, this sweet song [is for you]
      sing it along
      bring the heelee* home, let me in (the backing vocalists sing: let her in)

      Day and night, I stand before you
      stand before you
      don't blame/disrespect me, I surrender to you**
      surrender to you
      don't mistreat/cheat me, I won't forget you


      Lack of certainty, makes one lose direction
      lose direction
      There're hoopoes [foul players], trying to drive us apart
      drive us apart
      let's reach an agreement, we'll [ultimately] be left alone


      Bring it home bring it home bring it home
      let me in
      Bring it home bring it home bring it home
      let her in

      * This song is based on the notes of a traditional dance and music genre called heelee/heelley. It's used to ritualistically enchant Heelley, believed to be the ancient Somali Goddess of love; her sister Hoobaal is the Goddess of art/music. She's, thus, conjuring these deities to serenade/aubade the man she loves

      ** In Somali culture, a surrenderer gets the status of a guest/protegé. Disrepecting or maltreating such a person is one of the most disgraceful acts one can commit and one of the heaviest punished crimes in Xeer (Somali customary law).

    2. What a beautiful song and the translation is much more than i expected. The footnotes clarify why my somali friends often have difficulties in understanding somali lyrics. Thanks a lot!

  5. Alla haw naxariisto Sh. Cabdi, waxaan ahayn deris Muqdisho 1970-nadii. Adiguna waad ku mahadsan tahay wargalinta. Waxaan ku waydiinaa fidiyowga tacsida halkee ka heli karaa?

    1. Adaa mudan!

  6. Wow, I can't believe my luck. Iftin was a real badass band, many thanks.The track 'Xubi xoog magalee' brought me here. It's audio was on youtube but the channel was deleted by the owner. Was that your channel and if yes, why did you delete it? It's teeming with great music.

  7. Who of the original/founding Iftin Band members is still alive? Thanks

    1. I don't know who were the founders. Try to contact Said Salah Ahmed, their artistic and managing director for many years. He now lives in Minnesota and this is his son: