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Somaliland Singers Composers Thread - History and Legacy

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Faysal Cumar Mushteeg



Faisel Omer, is surrounded by musicians and singers in a smoky house in Saudi Arabia. In one of the rooms of the house is turned into a studio of sorts. It is in 1984, less than four years before he leaves Saudi Arabia for good, and finds himself in the middle of the Civil war in Somalia, and the program is to record what many Somaliland music critics call the best Somaliland tape ever to be recorded.


In the daunting company of Somaliland music icon and king of "Oud", Xudaydi", Faisel has the presence of symphony conductor. Listening to that long ago cassette tape, one gets the impression that he had not been a Somaliland singer of incalculable influence and a legend of his own time; Faisel would have found some other way of changing the world. The 56-year-old singer/song writer/composer/teac her and poet, is by Somaliland standards the indisputable male vocalist alive!


Much has been said about Faisel’s love to "Shamis", the woman who inspired his songs and poetry, which incidentally transformed him into a folk hero, a legend and mythic figure of enormous popularity both among the young and the old, women and men of Somaliland. This true, but rather exaggerated account has perhaps distracted people from his art. But in the four decades since Faisel’s first song, he has come to represent the essence of the music: its beauty, its richness and yes, it’s danger. His hauntingly sensual voice could transform even the most ephemeral Somaliland song, for instance, a song called "intii aan ku baryaayey", sung by Abdillahi "sooraan", was later sung by Faisel, and no one believes it is the same song, he voice made it into a work of overwhelming emotion.


Unlike most Somaliland singers, Faisel is considered better than those in the Bandstand. The only musician of equal stature is "Xudaydi", who when they play together literally transforms the "Oud", sound into Faisel’s voice. Faisel is praised by many as the definitive modern Somali singer, after whom most Somali singing styles, since "Qaraami" in the fifties have been fashioned. He is without a doubt the best singer alive, after Mohamed Mogeh. True, he has his rivals, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed suleymaan, Ahmed Ali "Drum"; but Faisel has a way of touching listeners and of interacting with musicians, as if, he is simply another instrument. His hands, mouth, fingers, palms and feet make sounds that are close imitations of rhythmic percussions.


In a Faisel performance, lyrics and music are interwoven and intertwined in his voice. When he sings "Subcis", for instance, it is all but impossible to imagine a more affecting rendering. In creating his distinctive style, he built upon, (1) the works of Abdillahi Qarsheh, one of the foremost Somaliland Nationalist singers, which many people regard as the father of Somaliland song and music, (2) his close Sudanese, "Nubian" national singers and musicians i.e., Mohamed Wardi, and Mohamed Al-Amin.


Like Wardi, Faisel could re-invent and improve upon the melody of a song. Not only did he evoke his raspy delivery, but he also shared his habit of lagging behind the rhythm, only to rush ahead without warning. From Wardi and Al-Amin, Faisel borrowed an instinct for the Sudanese/"Nubian" style, and performs Sudanese/Nubian tunes to this day. His recordings must have one or two "Nubian" songs or it would not be complete. Finally, Faisels fluid singing exudes longing and melancholy.


Teenage Days


Faisel was born in 1945, to Omer Mushteeg and Amina Mohamed Bulxan. Both his parents were respectable community members in the city of Hargeisa, Somaliland. Amina’s father was the great Berbera poet and chief of Somaliland, during the late 19c and the beginning of the 20c, Mohamed "Bulxan", who coined the famous Somaliland poem "Abtirsiimada Guud baa loo Golaaf tamayaa" or "people are fighting for their family tree". He also composed great number of poems, such as the one we have in here called " Dal-dhameeye", meaning around the world.You can read that poem in Somali in this page Dal-dhameeye.


He finished his grade school at Sheekh Bashiir Elementary School in Hargeisa, Somaliland, where he had the opportunity to be taught by such great teachers and world famous people. Late Sheekh Ali Ibrahim, an Islamic scholar who has written many books and Arabic and Omer Arteh Qaalib, who became a foreign minister of what, were once known as "Somalia". He later went to a boarding school in Amoud, which is located thirty-five miles northwest of Hargeisa, Somaliland. He finished both his intermediate and teacher training at Amoud. Again, he had the good fortune obeying taught by such teachers as Sheekh Yuusuf Sh Ali Gurey, the 1982-83 President of Somali National movement and Mohamed Ali "Sheef", who became an Ambassador.


As a teenager, his peers knew Faisel as a talented singer. But it was not until he finished school that he was discovered by the then- Minister of Education, Yuusuf Ismail Samates "Ghandhi". "Gandhi" took him to the then capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu. One night, "Ghandi" threw a party in order to show off to his friends this wonder kid, who could sing like no one else. The Sudanese Ambassador who was present at the party heard him sing "Sudanese/Nubian" songs and could not believe his ears. He offered Faisel an opportunity to go to Sudan and study there. But upon hearing he would have to wait another six months in Mogadishu before he can go, Faisel declined the offer and headed back to Hargeisa.


Faisel didn’t want to leave yet because he fell in love with Shamis while he was in school at Amuud. What he did not know at the time was Shamis would become his life long love and the only woman he loves to this day. With a collection of Mohamed Wardi and Al-Amine songs that were given to him as a gift from the Sudanese Ambassador, Faisel got a job as a teacher in Arabsiyo ten miles from Hargeisa.


Most Productive Years:

1960 – 1974


From early 60’s to early 70’s, Faisel recorded quite a number of excellent tapes; for instance, he recorded his most famous song "subcis", three times. Those years were also the most productive years of his life. The songs he recorded at the time always displayed a cool hallucinatory appreciation of Somaliland music and song. On stage, he had a visually spellbinding presence equivalent to a James Brown or Miles Davis concert. This period is also characterized by many Somaliland music critics, as the "Golden Age of Somaliland music and song".


The group that was in the forefront or the Vanguard was called "Barkhad Cas". This group in which Faisel was a member, included almost all of Somaliland’s best and brightest singers and musicians. The group was combined of a nine man and a one-woman dynamo that played for huge, adoring crowds, in national theaters and clubs across the country. The group included singers, such as; Mohamed Mogeh, Ahmed Mogeh, Abdullah Zag Zag, Xodeydeh, Abdi-Qays, Cabdirahmaan Hassan, Ahmed Ali "Drum", Ahmed Mohamed Good "Shimber", Faisel Qamar Mushteeg and last, but not least, Sahara Siyaad. Sahara Siyaad is considered by many Somaliland singers and musicians as one of the top female singers of all time.


During one of their tours across the country in 1971, which was the last tour of the group. Faisel and his co-stars enticed the crowds with a mixture of songs, poetry and romantic ballads. When the group pulled into a small town, it was big news. Teenagers and music lovers of all ages would race through the dusty streets, spreading the word, though the group was named after the late nationalist poet and playwright, Moxamed Ismail Barked Cas, the government of Siyaad Bare, the brutal dictator from 1969-1991, considered the group subversive, but the group never paid attention. Faisel’s sense of humor, winning smile and buttery smooth voice was always visible. His demeanor, which was both humble and dignified on stage, won the group friends and disarmed their toes.


During the next couple of years "Barkhad Cas" performed many times together by recording tapes that had become collector items by Somaliland music lovers. However, government interference and intrusion was becoming more viscous everyday. To Faisel it was time to move on. By 1973, both Abdi Qays and Mohamed Ibrahim Hadraawi were in prison for composing what Siyaad Bare, called anti-governmental songs. Faisel knew it was a matter of time before they came to him as they did for Mohamed Mogeh. He decided to migrate to Saudi Arabia in 1974.


Artist in Transition

1974 – 1988


Faisel left Somaliland in 1974. He came to Saudi Arabia where he stayed for 14 years. Faisel never intended to stay in Saudi Arabia that long and showed his distaste and dislike to their rigid interpretation of Quranic texts. But Faisel did not stop making music, because Somaliland culture was always in his mind. When we use the word ‘culture’ he says, "we are not referring to something wedded to the past, but to the living, breathing everyday culture of Somaliland music and song that welcomed even actively pursues the creation of new musical styles that is based on our heritage and history".


Having said this, Faisel’s songs and creative energies can be traced to a distinctive style and gen. He is never willing to stake out styles allegiances and is not likely to go anywhere the musician is going to take him, unless the musician "Xudaydi", or to a lesser extent Abdi Nasser Macalin Aideed, another "Oud" player. He has a strong commitment to rigid issues of Somaliland style and genre. But when it comes to "Nubian" music, Faisel has an innate ability to hear connections, and to make these connections apparent through his music and song. You can hear this style through some of his songs.


But if you want to hear Faisel and "Xudaydi" in action, you must find the tape they recorded during Faisel’s long stay in Saudi Arabia, which we have mentioned in the introduction. This was quite a historic tape. It was well recorded and noteworthy for "Xudaydi's loose-limped, spacey oud, and Faysal’s clapping, humming, drumming, chanting, exhilarating, moving and down home blues, Louis Armstrong like voice.

In the tape, Faisel plays with his old friend and co-singer, musician, Ahmed Ali Drum. He performed older work that he has played only rarely or not at all since the 1960’s.


Included in the hour long set were his favorites, "Subcis", Lacageey" and Riftoon", all pieces from the 1960’s. They are also his most inward, enigmatic work, driven by tunes punctuated by "Xudaydi" plucking, in a call and response fashion. In this recording, Faisel pulled off a glimpse of his genius and also, of what has become his most too familiar signature, a rare show of strength and enthusiasm, working out brooding emotionally ridden improvisations.


On the other side of the tape, Ahmed Ali Drum", ripped into pieces like "Weli Waa Caruuroo" and "Hurdo gamm'a ma Lado oo". This tape shows a perfect balance between the singing and the oud on the one hand, a clear and un-oblivious vision both the singers and the oud player to let each other relax into their modes of provocation and discovery. This was a phenomenal performance by any standard.


By 1988, Faisel had enough of Saudi Arabia and its puritanical culture. Once more, it was time to leave, but this time, he decided to head home for good, come what might be!


War and Peace

1988 – 2000


When Faisel arrived in Hargeisa, he was immediately embraced by the local artists. On the night of May 27, 1988, he was featured as the main attraction in a concert labeled as the "concert of the century", held at the National Theater. It was the happiest night of his life, for he was performing in front of his fans, after an absence of almost two decades. The happiness did not last though, because it was the same night that the Somali National Movement (S.N.M.) stormed their way to the city center. The rest is history!


Faisel remembers that night clearly. What follows is a brief description of the events of that night and the following weeks. "Around two in the morning", he says, "I was still awake and dressed when the Somali National Movement stormed the military garrisons around the city and came in from the cold". He continues, "It was unbelievable"! I still can not believe to this day, how a small guerrilla group, most of the urban youngsters could defeat the strongest Army in Africa, south of the Sahara. Ethiopia with its one million standing army could not defeat them and was scared like hell of the Somali National Army. Faisel describing the strength of the Somali army said, "Hargeisa was the center of twenty thousand strong army, three hundred or more tanks, mig fighter planes, South African mercenary pilots, not less than a thousand militia artillery guns, victory pioneer units, military police units, red berets (siynad Barre’s special body guard units), prison army units, Dhaber Jabinta Army Units, Hangash Army Units, Filly Foos Army Units, Western Liberation Army Units, Somali Salvation Army Units called, "Dhafoorqiiq", ******* Liberation Army Units, Oromo Liberation army Units, N.S.S. Army Units and other military Units, I can not recall now". He continues, "You know, Hargeisa was not a city, when you come to think about it, it was rather a military Base".


"I could not go to sleep that night", Faisel adds, "so I left my room with all my belongings early in the morning to check out the city. It was not clear who was in control of the city. The S.N.M. gave the Somali government a knockout. It became apparent to me when I met some of my friends and my ex-students in the streets of Hargeisa. They were S.N.M. GUIRRELLA warriors and I was happy to see so many of them alive. It was as if everyone I knew was an S.N.M. fighter".


After a few days, he illustrates the defeated military government, who was not stationed in the airport unleashed artillery bombardment to the city and its inhabitants. They also hired South Africa mercenary pilots, who were too keen to kill black people. Within a few days the rocker propelled grenades and the aerial bombardments leveled the city, forcing the lucky ones to flee to the border. Thousands of innocent children, women and elders who could not flee were killed. It was too much for me to watch so much death and destruction inflicted on innocent women and children. I decided to run for my life, leaving everything I owned behind. Faisel concludes, "It took me twenty-eight days of dodging bullets from both planes and people rugged mountains, thirst, thorns and thick bushes, empty plains with snakes and mosquitoes and man eating hyenas. I must have weighted about two hundred pounds when I was performing on that eventful night, but by the time I reached the Ethiopian border, I weighed about one hundred thirty pounds, a loss of seventy pounds in four weeks of hell on earth! I was just thankful to Allah that I was still alive! After a few months in the refugee camp in Ramaso Ethiopia, I knew I could not wait for things to happen, so I joined the Somali National Movement. My weapon (music and song) was the only thing I knew how to do, in order to stir and awaken the masses, so that they could fight back against the genocidal military dictatorship of Somalia.


On May 18, 1991, the Somali National Movement liberated the northern part of Somali and declared it as an independent country with its own flag, national anthem, national assembly, internationally recognized borders. Since they north was colonized by Britain and had its own borders, standing army, police and independent judicial system. Faisel was one of the first S.N.M. fighters to come back to victorious to his homeland. As usual, Faisel began to make his music in a civilian life far removed from the ravages of civil war, death and destruction.


Faisel recorded several new tapes with Abdi Nasser Macalan Aideed, who is incidentally a good Oud player. Faisel feels lucky, since two of his best fiends and co-singer, Mohamed Mogeh and Ahmed Muhamed Good Shimber died during the liberation war and were not lucky to see a free Somaliland!



Faisel’s Poetry and Song


Faisel is one of the most talented and gifted Somaliland singers alive. Besides being a teacher, a world class soccer player, an intellect of enormous capacity to recite both classical Somaliland poetry and classical Arabic poetry by heart, a singer of a huge following, a living legend who became part of the oral folklore of Somaliland traditions. A mystic man who was taught at an young age by one of the foremost Somaliland "Sufi" scholars, Sheikl Ali Ibrahim", and an accomplished poet who can be compared to classical Somaliland poets, or, for that matter, classical Arab poets such as "Emir Al Qays". His poetry goes back to when he was just a teenager.


Unlike other Somaliland poets, Faisel incorporates his poetry into his songs. Most of his poetry is about love, which many Somalilanders consider as Real love. It is no secret that Faisel fell in love with Shamis, his true and only love. When you ask him about marriage, he always points out, according to Abdi Nasser, a close friend and excellent oud player, of Faisel, that his one and only true love is Shamis, and if he could not marry her, he would remain a bachelor for life.


Abdi Nasser and Mohamed Ahmed "Busy", another "Oud player and a colleague of Faisel's, argue that most of the lyrics of the "Qarraami" songs, or the "oldies" were primarily Faisel’s. But they add, since he never takes credit for the lyrics, other people assign credit to some obscure artists. The writer of this article concurs with the two above mentioned artists' assertions, since I reviewed an unpublished manuscript written by Faisel. He explained in his manuscripts some of his lyrics and shows without a doubt that it was his creations. Reading this manuscript led me to believe that most of the lyrics in the "Qaraami" or oldies were his own, since he describes when and where he was when he wrote some of those lyrics.


In the following pages we will attempt to translate some of Faisels lyrics and poetry.



"Timaha halaqeed haldhaa moodiyo

haybadaa wajigee hida u dhaladka

hubqaadkeedu hibasho igu reeb"


A rough transilation of the above will be something like this;


Hair so soft like a bird's feather,

face not spoiled by make-up since birth,

her dressing style left me longing!



Daganeey sida dooxa daad marayo

Daristii kaga taal labadaa dacaloo

dunyadii wali daaqin baad tahay



Hey cool girl! Like the water that flows through a river,

the grass singing from both sides of the shore and the livestock did not eat,

yet to me, you are just like that.



Sidii cir ku hooray meel cosobloo

Cadcedi u soo baxdaad tahay



Like the rain that pours into a green pasture,

and the sun coming out, to me, you are just like that.



Qod baad tahay meel qabow ka baxoo

Qajeel ubaxii dhammaan qariyo

Qacdii aan ku arkaan is qoonsadayo

Bal qabsoo waaban kuu qandhaysnahay



You are like a tree that grows in a temperate climate,

flowers covering from top to bottom.

I felt something special the moment I laid my eyes on you.

Honey, do you know that I love you!



Habeenyow dheeri waad idhibtoo

Dharaartaaduna iima kaa dhaantoo

Waa ii kala dhigantiin dhamaantiin



Oh long night! You give me so much pain,

the day does not treat me well either,

I feel miserable all the time.




Waan kula hadlaayaa waqtigan i hayow

Hadmaad anna ii hogaansami?



Hey time! The one that is on me now. I am talking to you.

When are you going to obey me?



Cadceedan i haysa eey hadaloo

Hadmaan anna kaa hadh galayaa?



Hey sun! That is hovering over me,

speak up and tell me when am I going to find a shelter?




Lacageey ragga kala labaayaay

Haween lahashadooday

Liitaha gargaaray laqanna hoos u celiyaay

Hubka laysku laayaay

Lisaanka iyo dooday

Hadana lagama maarmaay

Liibaanta joogtaay

Taan anigu ku loofaray

Een hore u lumiyaay

Ladhkeedii habeenadan

hablow ladiba waaye lacageey



You divide people into two,

you help the poor and you bring down the rich,

you are woman’s desire.

You are the weapon that people fight with.

You are the tongue for those who want oratory.

But people still need you, you are the ever present victory!

Oh! The money I spent friviously and lost at the end.

Oh women! How many nights do I have to lose my sleep over it




Laysumaa daayo laba is doonaysoo

Dadkeenu waxyeeladuu doorbidaye

Ku doorataye may i dayaayaan

Hayaay Shamis sheekadiidii


They don’t leave two lovers alone,

our people love to create problems,

since you are the only one I desire.

Why can they not leave you alone?

Oh how I long for Shamis’ conversation!


Nasiibkaygiyay is nici mayanee

Intaad nabad joogto soo noqo



My lucky star, we will never fall out of love,

so come back to me in a healthy, good spirit.



I pray to Allah the merciful, the benevolent to bring you back "Siiydeh" in good and healthy spirit.



Dawee qalbigaa i daxalaystoo

Hadalka i damqaaye iga daa



I am heart broken.

I can talk no more since it hurts to talk. Say nothing to me!



Sidii baxarasaaf ku yaala bustaan

ayuun baad hadba ii bidhaanta



Like a tall tree growing in a beautiful garden,

you just keep on shining to me!


Sidii geed ku yaal bankii giriyaad

Goonidu waa mid laygu talagaly



Like a love tree that grows in a vast empty space.

Is loneliness a thing that has been assigned to me?



Ciilkayga kola caashaq dayn maayo

Ciyaarta cid kale la garan maayo

Carsaanyo sigaarka hayla cabtee

Ciidiyo badda cagaha ii dhigga



Oh! Pity me! I will never fall out of love.

I know of no other dance partner like you.

Take me to the sandy beach,

so that crabs can smoke cigarettes with me.


Cusbiyo kama maarmo geelu carro

Cirkiyo uu ogyahay halkii cosob lee

ceeb maaha hadaan ku caashaqayay

Cidliyo haygu tuurin ciirsi la


Camels can not live without grass and salt,

camels know the places with abundant water and vegetation.

It is not such a bad idea; I fell in love with you.

Don’t throw me into the empty wilderness.




Faisel has been touching the soul of music lovers for nearly four decades, thanks to his warm songs that celebrate romance and love. With no vain desire or dreams of earthly glory and money or status, he keeps onward to explore through poetry and song, far extending realms of music, with the hope of aiding others to fall-in-love. In an interview for this article, Faisel says, "I just tell it like it is in my lyrics of my songs; even when love is not happy and most often it is sad anyway. Instead of trying to contemplate what people might say about my song, I just sing from my heart. Most often, my best lyrics come to me when I am singing. And you know, I believe that is what touches people; people know it is the truth, because it comes from deep inside me".

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Qod baad tahay meel qabow ka baxoo

Qajeel ubaxii dhammaan qariyo

Qacdii aan ku arkaan is qoonsadayo

Bal qabsoo waaban kuu qandhaysnahay

Cajiib, we need this kind of stuff more often. keep it coming

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Somaliland Diva: KInsi Xaaji Aadan



Hargeisa, March 29 2009 (somalilandpress) - A scarf tossed around her beautiful hair, Kinsi Haji Adan “Caqaarta,” is concentrating rather too hard, as she rehearses her signature song, “Ana laanta obaxaa Adaan ku lululayaa” or “I am swinging this flower to you, in preparation for a solo concert in her honor. With the ease of a seasoned Somaliland Diva singer, she holds the room rapt as she puts a fresh mellow spin on the familiar refrain, “Ledi waa Haldhaaguba Intuu Laacu Muuqde anna laanta ubaxa adaan kuu lululayaa.”


A few days later in the spring of 1997 at her solo concert at the “Timacadde Stadium,” she brought down the house. It was her first concert in Hargeisa Somaliland, since the 1980′S, before she moved to the Middle East. One would think that she might have lost touch with the audience during her long absence. But it was not to be so. She was more polished now than ever. Caqaarta’s voice was phenomenal. Her tone was plush, rich and poignant. And her sound was so naturally resonant that she can soar over the band’s music, without any sense of effort. Again, her voice was without faults. Her low range was strong. And her top notes were remarkably consistent. She certainly did not fear the highs. In many times during the concert, she leaped above the band and filled the stadium with sound.


She moved in her sensual way and danced on stage, bringing the mostly young audience to their feet more than one cares to count. “Caqaarta” fans who were the most admirably attentive and enthusiastic music buffs’ forced their way (at least some of them) on stage to dance “- and sing with their Diva. On this occasion, she received a thunderous ovation that seemed to last forever. It seemed as though the grateful fans have finally grasped the significance of “Caqaarta’s” artistry.


At the end of the concert, security guards whisked her out of the stadium through a back door. To her, the concert was the ultimate fulfillment of her desire to perform in front of a live audience, of her fans. To the fans also the concert symbolized the attainment of their dreams, which was to see once again “Caqaarta,” doing what she did best, i.e. sing.


It seemed such a long time, that she was just a young girl walking down the street of Burao, Somaliland, singing alone and dreaming of becoming the next Somaliland Diva such as “Maandiiq,” or Shamis Abukoor “(Guduudo Carwo.” It was only after the late Ahmed Mohamed Goad “Shimber” singer/songwriter, composer/arranger/ac tor discovered her, that she became famous in the late 1970’s.


Many Somaliland music critics and fans, including the write of this article, believe that she not only had what is called a sensual glow, but also a voice of stunning emotional variety and conviction. When she finally moved to Hargeisa, the Capital city of Somaliland in the early 1970′S, the theatre audience, who are probably the best music critics, treated her the same jubilant way, another star called “Magool” was treated in the 1960′S when she was also, incidentally, discovered by Ahmed Mohamed Goad, “Shimber.”


In addition to a powerful voice, Caqaarta has an arresting poise and intensity; she finds hypnotic expressiveness in the simplest gestures, which forces you to watch her and pay attention when performing in front of a live audience. She also radiates so much feeling without really trying.


When she first joined the then government Radio Mogadishu, she was known by her peers as the striking little girl with the big voice or simply “Caqaarta.” As she became more familiar with the artistic community, she began to meet regularly with the great innovative and talented “Oud” player known by the nickname of “Gin. sheekh Muumin” The rest is history. Caqaarta was suddenly thrown into the midst of the musical scene. She and “Gin” found a pleasing blend of intimacy and teasing upbeat rhythm in the songs that they collaborated together through the years. They were like Billie Holiday, the great African American jazz legend and her saxophone player Dexter Gordon. Gin’s music brought out the best of Caqaarta’s singing ability as a great diva, while Caqaarta took him into a totally different musical level that Gin never dreamed about.


Reviewing one of the early tapes that the two collaborated together refreshes a listener’s memory of the sweeter and deeper side of Caqaarta. She began with her sweet song “Dakharada jacaylkaan kala daraninaa…” The song moved between reticence and intensity. But her real strengths began to shine through in her “Anna laanta ubaxaa Adaan ku lululayaa ravishing performance of “Inaan wali abraaraayo Alwada hay ogaysiin…” On doing that song, she retained that lush, romantic tone in her voice.


For Gin, these songs are a challenge filled pieces composed as a test piece for the energetic, young “Oud” player. So, although Gin never lets up on the technical demands, the pieces also test the musical connection and compatibility between the two great performers. This music makes you dizzy, hallucinatory, psychedelic, call and response masterpieces. The songs transcend explanation, and invite both the singer and Oud player to produce fireworks and a singing tone, areas in which Caqaarta had by then shown her considerable strengths.

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^Correction, correction. The headline is misleading. There was no such thing as Somaliland singers/composers. They were Somali singers/composers made famous by who? Somalia. That's the answer.


Ninyow waxbaad isku khaldeysaan! Just because they happen to belong to one tribe does that make them SL artists? Hmmm Ka noqda!

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Omer Dhuule: The Legacy That Will Never Demolish






This article is a tribute to one of the greatest Somaliland singer /songwriter /composer /arranger /0ud player/actor, Omer Dhuule, who passed away, at the beginning of the new millennium. He literally committed to memory hundreds, if not thousands of Somaliland “Qaraami” songs or oldies. This took great dedication, stamina and a continuous and rigid lonely schedule in order to memorize the lyrics of these important songs.


Omer was endowed with a powerful memory that allowed him to store what no other person of his calibre could. These lyrics were not confined only to the Qaraami or old songs, but also included hundreds of songs from classical to contemporary Somaliland songs. No wonder both the older and younger generations loved him. Some people consider the untimely death of this son of Somaliland a tragedy, which perhaps equals in magnitude, the burning down of a major library. In the following pages, we attempt to give our readers a brief sketch of the artist and his music.


0mer Dhuule began his musical career in 1955 during the colonial days when Somaliland was still under British Colonialism. His first appearance on stage was the once in a lifetime chance that actors dream about. He performed as the leading “actress” in a play, written and directed by the late genius, Mohamed Ismail, “Barkhad Cas”, who was also a nationalist freedom activist and poet. Since women were not allowed to perform in public at that time, Ornar played the role of a leading actress. He gave an exceptional performance that is remembered by fellow actors to this day. The great singer and musician, Ahmed Ali, “Drum,” who played the leading actor, characterizes Omer’s acting as something no other actor can ever emulate. This extra ordinary and exceptional talent both as an actor and a singer, won him praise and respect through the years by fellow actors, musicians, directors, poets, singers and the public alike.


It was in 1962, according to a Somaliland poet, Ahmed Suleman Bide, Omer Dhuule, while visiting Burao, the second biggest city in Somaliland, first met the great “Oud” player, Mohamoud Sh Ismail “Xudaydi.” It was at this time that the great master showed few notes to Omer Dhuule. “Omer began to practice day and night, until he became a master teacher of his own and a great instrumentalist,” said Ahmed Suleman Bide.


By the late 1960′S, Omer created his own style of playing the “Oud.” He also became a superstar. The (BBC) British Broadcasting Company’s Somali service used to play his songs on the airwaves continuously. His recordings, therefore, exceed several well-known singers combined. The Somali speaking communities around the world considered Omer one of the most admirable singer/musician/acto r and poet of all time. 0mer also had become through the years, one of Somaliland’s musical patriarchs. Though his music is dark hued at first since he always sang about the rift between him and his wife, or lost love, i.e., “Ha Laanoo Garnaqo” or “We Need Counseling.” But the music gradually brightens and is full of interesting musical and singing’ imagery of love and romance. His sweet voice is compared to Teddy Pendergrass or Marvin Gaye.


The most interesting aspect of Omar’s music and “Oud” playing is the degree to which it draws on Xudaydi’s style of “Oud” playing. A close illustration of this aspect is a recording he did with his daughters in the early 1980′S. This tape is by far the best and finest piece performed by him. It has a gentle texture, like Xudaydi’s, that gives the music and singing a sense of mystery. In the tape, Omer Dhuule’s excellent performance sweeps the listener into the music, since the sound is so cohesive. There is also a spectacular “Oud” playing that reminds one of “Xudaydi,” Omer’s mentor and the sexy sensual voices of his daughters had a graceful, alluring flow and appealing sense of intimacy.


It is a tragedy that Omer Dhuule has to die outside of his homeland without a hero’s welcome. Somaliland will not only miss a man who was ahead of his time and a hero; but Somaliland also misses someone who is equal of importance to the Somalilanders as the library of Congress in the United States is to the Americans. Somaliland truly misses one of its favorite sons! May he rest in peace.

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Edit: Somali Singers & Composers Thread - History and Legacy


unless of course you have identified new non-Somali people there?


p.s. Cumar Dhuule was a family friend who lived in Muqdisho a few doors from my grandmother ...

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Caano Geel:

Why should he? you small minded oaf, icon_razz.gif People can be so small minded maa istid.


Regardless of where they lived or even died, the people identified in this thread hailed from Somaliland, I don't see the point in hiding that. People in Somaliland are very proud of them.


P.s. Musicians and poets have no clan in most parts, they are the hippy free floaters shared by everyone as an entertainment. They need to appeal to all, but they still have roots.

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Originally posted by J.a.c.a.y.l.b.a.r.o:

You're talking about 20 years ago sxb .... Now they are Somaliland singers/composers.



Keep your clan thing to yourself ,,,,,,,,


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