Sign in to follow this  

Somaliland Singers Composers Thread - History and Legacy

Recommended Posts

Definition of Doublethink:


Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting as correct two mutually contradictory beliefs. It is related to, but distinct from, hypocrisy and neutrality.


... i'll leave it at that

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

JB, do you know today i got an email about donating books to Hargeysa book fair......I am going to donate a book to you especially and sign it off. The book is called the prohibition of Music in Islam. And the other is called the unity of the Muslims. bal is shek your full name. lol.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Waar they will still find something to muran about it ... dadkan wax baa ka si ah dee. :D



Caano Geel, after all they are Somalis but there is no denial that they belong to Somaliland. You wouldn't demand the same from Djibouti.



Abu, ha kugu taagnaato :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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


after all they are Somalis but there is no denial that they belong to Somaliland. You wouldn't demand the same from Djibouti.


Djbouti has two ethnic groups living there genius(somali and afar), plus they are a recognized country.


Get this nonsense out of here.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Originally posted by NGONGE:

The real diplomatic title of this thread is:
Somaliland Somali Singers

That's not diplomatic enough..It should be Somaliland, Somali, Puntlandand Mogadisho community :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

you still forget NFD, Somali Galbeed, Maakhir, Djibouti and many others ..... :D



Xiddigo, Afkaaga subag sixin ah lagu qabay ... mar haduu fankuba ka soo bilaabmay gobolka Awdal ee Somaliland ...... I knew we are unique ,,, :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^ Ayaa ku yidhi Awdal fakeland ayay ka tirsan tahay. Anaga Awdal waxay noo xisaabsan tahay SOOMAALIA.


Khadiija Balwo waligeed kuma riyoon in clanland wadan looga dhigi doono.


Haday maanta kumaqlayso meel aan ogahay ayay kaa maroojin lahayd :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jacaylbaro ninyow ignore the protests and keep posting. Awdal is part of somaliland, and you can't do damn thing about it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Xidigooy, Meel la iska maroojiyo horta halkaasaa ugu wanaagsane waabaanay inala joogin imika. I'm sure she would be singing "SOMALILAND DALKAYGA, SOMALILAND DADKAYGA" by now ......... :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Abdi Qeys: Singer-Songwriter/Mu sician, Poet And Playwright


Occasionally an artist has a moment that makes even skeptics think "O.K. maybe he is the best." Abdi Qeys achieved this in the late 1960'S, when he wrote a critically acclaimed play and performed hundreds of songs at the tender age of twenty something. The essentials fell into place, his songs highlighted only strengths, his voice never wavered, and his "Oud" player "Xodeydeh" flawlessly accentuated his songs.


What does it mean to say a single songwriter is the best? It's pointless given human being's idiosyncrasies. High standards can sometimes be a handicap. Abdi Qeys never saw himself as the best. Picasso, the great twentieth century painter, once said, "Good taste kills creativity." Therefore, a little shagginess that combats dull gentility is needed once in a while. Abdi Qeys used to mingle with the crowd. He used to hold conversations in stairways, restaurants, teashops, and hallways and in "Qat chewing sessions." As a result, he became one of the guys on the street.


But, Abdi Qeys was anything but an ordinary individual. He was so gifted as a songwriter that his songs were sought years after they were released in cassette tapes. Such skill and talent is burdening. That is why the singer used to disappear for days, visiting the Great Somaliland saint, "Sheikh Omar," who lived in "Haraf," a thirty minute drive from Hargeisa, to get away from it all, i.e. fame.


But again, Mr. Abdi Qeys demonstrates an invaluable gift as a songwriter: a genuine absence of ego. His most idyllic lyrics do not feel forced, because he tempers their poeticism with a conversational tone. Characters like his lover visiting him in a dream at mid-night or "Love" masquerading as a fellow traveler can express profundities because they have a plain side too. For instance, the following two songs come to mind (1) "Mar aad Xaaleyto ii Timid" or "When you visited me last night" (in my dream) (2.) "Umaleey Jaceyl Weli Jaar Ma Noqoteen?" or "Hey Omal, Did You and Love Ever Become Neighbors?"


When Abdi Qeys sings, his voice gains depth through his artfully straightforward baritone, the vocal equivalent of a baarcadeh, or Somaliland folk singer. His melodies are just as beautifully adorned too. The singer's humility allows for ambition. Like two other co-singer /songwriters, Faisel Omer and Mohamed Moogeh, he dwells on big, often difficult, moments in the lives of ordinary common people. By staying with them even as he flies into a metaphor, such as, (1) "Ubixii Baxaayow soodigan Abaarsaday" or "Hey! Blooming Flower. You Have Been Hit With A Drought" (2.) "Habar iyo Habeenkeed" or "Every Old Lady has her Day", he maintains equanimity.


As a songwriter who is widely admired for the beauty of his songs and his plays, his perceptive and communicative skills as an interpreter of love and the inventiveness of his ideas, he has the title of "The Father of Love." He also has the drawing power and natural ability to hold huge admiring audiences for hours while he is on stage. Such was the case during the "Barkhad Cas Performance," in 1971. The singer offered his performance as a tribute to Mohamed Ismail "Barkhad Cas", a Somaliland poet, playwright and anti-colonial nationalist, who flourished in the late fifties and early sixties. He saw a kindred spirit in the tribute.


Like "Barkhad Cas" his songs were about love and against oppression. And perhaps in the back of his mind was the hope that future generations of artists and music lovers will call him with equal generosity. The program could have stood on its merit without a unifying patron saint. Abdi Qeys was his own singer and not a recreation of a past style. When he began to sing, with "Xodeydeh," the great "Oud" player, doing his thing, his interpretation of the Somaliland repertory was admirably flexible, and although its overriding characteristic was bluesy or sad, some of the songs had a playful side too. His playful songs did not sit well with women nor did they suit all tastes. Some women thought he was using demeaning, lyrics to describe women. They cite some of the songs described below as examples:


Women are the ones who kill me

They are also the ones who breast-fed me

They are devils sent to distract men.

But I cannot stop seeing them.


I lost my respect

When I consulted

With a mind that

Was only fifteen years old?


You can either be patient with women forever

Or you can leave them alone forever

There is no other way to deal with them.

You are getting more beautiful by the day

And yet you tell me that you almost died!


Women's mind is not that deep

Whoever consults with an arrogant rich woman!

Whoever goes to war

With a horse that was not

Trained for a war


But to his credit, Abdi Qeys was the one singer/songwriter who devoted an entire song in 1971 to the birth of his first born baby girl.


Hey! My first-born baby

You are from the tip

Of my heart and body


She is so soft tender

She has no muscles in her body

She has no heavy bones


My daughter

Don't marry someone,

Who is not in love with you.

God shouldn't allow you to marry

Someone who is angry all the time

Don't live in misery and

Heartbroken in the rest of your life!


Abdi Qeys was also the first person lionized as a guru, king, and expert on "love," by fellow artists. For instance, Haji Gujis, one of the foremost songwriters, wrote a song in 1971 about Abdi Qeys claiming that people should consult with him when it comes to love. This created a larger than life picture about the artist and his songs.


That love is a spear

And that there is no other disease

Greater than love

Ask Abdi Qays

The mystic expert.


Although Abdi Qeys was proclaimed as the father of love and romance nationwide, it was his political songs that defined the entire decade of the 1970's. His first political song was written in 1969, a few months after the infamous coup in Somalia led by the military dictator, Mohamed Siyad Barre.


You are playing with flying birds

You are speeding away in the air.

While the masses are thirsty

You are in the midst of water.


Life has been good to you

If you are winning today

Can you keep the victory for long?


People always lag behind

When the real work comes


Nafsi or (what goes around comes around)

Will come to our aid

Every old lady has her night

(Every dog has its day)


Following this coming of age period came another important period characterized by a question and answer series of songs known as the "Trilogy." The two great poets, friends, and political soulmates, Abdi Qeys and Mohamed Ibrahim Hadrawi exchanged this series.


The first song that they exchanged was a song called "Aakhiro" or "Heaven" in English. This was an inquiring, self-reflecting song about existence, Heaven and Hell, and the Cosmos, by Abdi Qeys. Mohamed Ibrahim Hadrawi answered these questions in a song called "AI Rahman." He basically used the Koran, the Holy Book of Muslims, to answer them. The Somaliland fans interpreted the song in a political context, arguing that the song was an inquiry into the whereabouts of the hundreds of political prisoners in Somalia.


The many good men and decent women

Missing because of you

Is hard to count.


That you have beautiful large eyed women

And a day of reckoning

That we have heard about it too.


That you are the flaming fire

Pain and suffering,

That you are the one that creates

Helplessness, we have heard it too.



Abdi Qeys: Singer/Songwriter/Mu sician, Poet And Playwright



The many good men and decent women

Missing because of you

Is hard to count.


That you have beautiful large eyed women

And a day of reckoning

That we have heard about it too.


That you are the flaming fire

Pain and suffering,

That you are the one that creates

Helplessness, we have heard it too.


So heaven which direction are you located?

Where are you located?


The second song of the trilogy was a rebuttal to a song by his friend, Mohamed Ibrahim Hadrawi. Hadrawi's song dealt with pan-Somalism. Here are some of the lyrics.


First, I am coming to see you

Second, I am carrying something with me

Be patient always

Oh! "Saharla" don't be impatient!


The lyrics of Abdi Qeys' rebuttal is:


Don't come! Go back

Keep whatever you are carrying with you

I am impatient

"Soobaan" is saying!

The world has passed

The stage when you have

To wait for things to happen.


The food that is in front of you

Or in the palms of your hand

Is always best for the people

"Saharla" is telling you

Don't come! Go back

Take back with you, whatever you are bringing

I am impatient


Abdi Qeys's rebuttal opened a Pandora's box. For immediately following this song, a number of poets and songwriters answered with their own poems, using poetry as the medium of exchange. This period opened, once again, a new period of Somali poetry discourse. The pros and cons of the song was discussed among the intellectuals, workers, and students nationwide. The military government of Somalia interpreted the song as anti-government and anti-Pan Somalism. They felt that the song was against the military government's effort to court Djibouti (a small nation in the Horn of Africa populated by Somali speaking communities and Afars), which gained its independence from France in 1977. Furthermore, the military government of Somalia accused Abdi Qeys of fomenting trouble in Djibouti through his biased songs. They thought that he supported the pro- independent statehood factions. Because of his songs he became a marked man!


The third song of the trilogy by the poet was called "Baledweyn." The lyrics of the song are:


Oh! Poor love

Today, you are gone

Today, you exist no more


"Burao" and "Nugaal"

Your "Lover" of yesterday

Did you forget "Boramah"?


False promises are no good

Indecision is your middle name


"Beerlulah," you already mentioned her

But where is your lover in Berbera?

Where are the others in the good old days?


Every time, you implant

Love feelings to an innocent young girl!


Your needs are many and far between

Can you be divided into a hundred?


This song created yet another controversy because the government accused him of once again fomenting trouble in Somaliland, formerly called Northwest Somalia. They called his song a separatist pan-Somaliland song. 'They argued that "Baledweyen," the name of the song, was the name of a town in Southern Somalia and that he was making fun of the town and its people. In conclusion, they accused him of forcing "Hadrawi," to sing only about Somaliland women! This was an uncalled accusation but the military government put him in prison for a number of years because of these false accusations, anyway.






Abdi Qeys's genius lies on the use of metaphors for the songs he wrote in the 1960's and 1970's. For instance, just prior to the coup-d-etat in Somalia, the government, of then Mohamed Ibrahim Egal (the late President of Somaliland), was in a steep decline. Corruption, nepotism, and malpractice were the order of the day. Abdi Qeys, the ever vigilant, was concerned about the fate of the Somalilanders who were treated by the southern dominated government as second-class citizens or stepchildren. He was also concerned about Egal's lack of vision and concern, and about his erratic nonchalant behavior. Therefore, he wrote a song that depicted two lovers discussing their upcoming marriage and the status of their love. The song, it turned out was about anything but love.


Man: Hey Girl! You are the only one who longs for a marriage ceremony.


You are fixing your hair in order to get married

But on our side, we do not even have a Horse that can carry war armaments.


It is so weak; it cannot even catch up with The caravan.


If your livestock is taken away by force

We are unable to rescue it.


Woman: Hey! Boy! You are the

only one who

Assumes that I cannot take bad news

You think that I am a retard

You are distancing me from you


I was present to all the events of the day

Therefore, I am aware of all of the bad

Dwellings we went through,

You are telling me to cool down

But do you believe that love just fades away?


Man: Hey Girl! You live in the midst of "Ganaano"

River and near a waterfall

And the drought did not reach you


But on our side, do we have a hero who can wage a war

Poverty is death and it has taken its

Toll and killed them all


There is no one to lean on any more

The heroes are all dead!


This song clearly shows Abdi Qeys is as genius as a poet. He combines three different metaphors. On the one hand Abdi Qeys articulates fears and alienation of the Somaliland people. He shows this through the vast imagery of the Somaliland landscape, its rivers, and livestock. He superimposes this with the plight of his people and the constant drought, poverty, and the unequal distribution of wealth.


From a political standpoint, the poet foresaw the downfall of Mr. Egal's government and the coming of the military dictatorship. Through his song he showed how easy it was for the southern dominated military offices to take power and therefore retaliate without any opposition whatsoever. He believed, since the basic governmental structure was destroyed, that no one would fight back. His song became prophetic and it took the people of Somaliland twenty years to overthrow the military regime and create an independent Republic of Somaliland on May 18, 1991.






Abdi Qeys is known as a Sufi mystic and a music traditionalist. He seems to insist on Somaliland musical traditions, which incorporates "Sufi" style music. He believes as the Sufi mystics believe that tradition is nothing more than "the eye of the heart." Maybe that is why Abdi Qeys used to act as the "Murid" or assistant to Shiekh Omer Haraf. During this time, he would play music that is accentuated only by the Oud and hand drumming. He is so close to his Oud instrument that he inscribes Koranic verses, which has a metaphysical subtext. Only the initiated are aware of his mysticism, however, so for the lucky few that understand his music, the subtexts are quite obvious. He believes, as he has shown in his most famous cassette recording "Awliya Alaay Adeeg," that he is indeed a composer of sacred texts or works.





1. If you love someone

But he/she is in love with someone else

And the person that he/she loves

Is smitten and loves yet another person


And you are thrown to hell

You won't get heaven's comfort

Neither will you find God's mercy

Or protection


She is good to me

She has no heart!


Run away from me

I will just have to tract along!


Run away from me

You won't stay away to long!


If the unpredictable love

Treats you the same way it treats me

Would you be able to sleep?


During the evening or midnight

Would you be able to sleep,

Under cotton blankets? Is that possible?


Hey "Umal" Did you and "Love" ever become neighbors?

Did you ever travel with him?

Did you come to face to face with him in a war?


Did you ever share a meal with him?

Did he ever cut you off from your relatives?

Instead of carrying a dialogue with him,

Did he ever make you silent,

And could not come up with any words?


I don't show love

I always hide it

I always make myself busy with entertainment.


Sometimes I feel like telling her

But my mouth avoids to articulate the words


I don't want to know about my everlasting love.

I don't want her to know about my Intentions.

Like a spear thrown at night, I disappear

Like the "Russian made mig-fighter plane" I dance on the sky.


I don't sleep at night

I keep turning from one side to the other!


Your love is the reason,

Why all men attack me!

I slept

I went to a deep sleep.


Last night I was in the midst of my nightmare-dream

And slumber.


At one time, people thought I

Was dead and sought help!


The love that I hid from the public

For years, come out from my Mouth,

While I was in a state of unconsciousness.


Those who were supposed to be

My roommates were making notes

During my sleep talk.


When I woke up

The news spread like a wild fire

And was all over the town!


Hey "Jiraba!"

Do you know that my soul

Always jumps from high cliffs?


It always advises me to go over the cliff

It never tells me to stop.


During the early morning hours

When it is cold, I don't feel the cold.


I don't go to sleep

And I can hardly walk

You are the love of my eyes

Come in front of me

And don't turn away.


A never-ending drought

And the un-inhabited "Haawood"

That both humans and animals fled from

I am staying between these two.


Love is fatal

You are Allah's bliss on Earth

You are his bounty during the rainy seasons

You are glittering/shining diamond


You are love of my eyes

Come to me!

And do not turn from me.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The King Of Oud, Mohamoud SH. Ismail “Xodeydi”






Xodeydi is the indisputable king of Oud. A musician, songwriter, and an exceptionally talented composer and arranger; Xodeydi can be characterized as the father of Somaliland music. If ever there were a Somaliland hall of fame he would have been the first person to be inducted. He is the guru and patriarch of Somaliland music and song. He is without a doubt a master instrumentalist that other Oud players can emulate and learn from new chord fingerings.


Furthermore, he single handedly kept the Somaliland music from the vampire grip of western music. He kept the music on the move for the past forty-five years: creating new songs and making new innovations on the old songs known in Somali as the “Qaraami songs.” He is also the person behind the sudden surge of the Oud during recent years.


Thanks to him, Somaliland has vast number of musicians, singers, songwriters, and poets who are Oud devotees in Somaliland and in the Diaspora. Xodeydi can also be characterized as one of the key persons behind the most famous band in Somaliland during the 60’s and 70’s called Barkhad Cas.


It was the most creative group in Somaliland music world with the finest singers, songwriters, and the best composers, arrangers, musicians and poets. To Somaliland music lovers, they were similar in their devotion to music and talent to the African American Jazz greats, such as Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and last but not least Lady Day or Billie Holliday.


The Barkhad Cas band included, for instance, Mohamed Mogeh, Ahmed Mogeh, Ahmed Ali Drum, Faisel Omer Mushteeg, Ahmed Mohamed Goad, Sahra Siyad, Abdulla Sagsag, Abdi Qayes, Abdirahaman Hassan, and Xodeydi. This era is known by many Somaliland critics and intellectuals as the Golden Age of Somaliland Music and song. Many cultural critics give credit to Xodeydi with keeping the art of Oud playing, alive, during the dark years of Siyad Barre’s dictatorial regime in Somaliland. Siyad Barre’s government-run radio used to play marching band type of music 24 hours a day. They called this type of music “revolutionary.” When Barkhad Cas Band refused to perform this type of music, they were branded as counter- revolutionaries by the authorities and banned from the airwaves. Therefore, they went underground and recorded their music on cassette tapes.


Barkhad Cas’s music and songs were also banned from performing on the two national theatres in the country. Also, anyone caught carrying the so-called seditious music was thrown into prison by the notorious National Security Services (NSS.) Many fans who were unaware of the government’s ban, were caught and thrown into prison. Despite the terror and fear that was unleashed by Siyad Barre’s notorious Secret Services, Xodeydi and his co-artists kept on singing and creating, until they literally began to dominate the entire music industry in Somaliland and the Diaspora.


Since many of the artists were thrown in jail so many times and tortured the underground cassette tapes became a hot discussion topic among the people of Somaliland.


The underground music was in such great demand that when someone from Somaliland visited abroad, the first question to be asked was whether he was carrying any new tapes from home. In those days whether Xodeydi played old songs called Qaraami or whether he performed modern songs, his music was just phenomenal, hypnotic and down-write infectious.





The songs Xodeydi played in the 60’s and 70’s catapulted him into Somaliland mainstream popularity, rare for diehard Oud players. For years the tapes he collaborated with his band would have remained in the Top #1, on Somaliland Billboards’ charts, if Somaliland had Billboards at the time.


Listening to those tapes, one is taken by not only the addictive beat of his Oud, but one is equally smitten by his style of music. He always brought unflagging energy and alert musicianship to the songs. His Oud lines moved through all the music as a non-stop, countermelody tumbling in, to the singer’s voice, plunging lightly to catch up a rhythmic change, humming along as a second opinion on a solo or vocal line, nudging the music towards the next bend.


Although, the Oud is supposed to be a solitary instrument at its best, when left to sing on its own terms, Xodeydi’s Oud is anything else but solitary. He makes it sound like ten different instruments in one. Once again, the Oud is supposed to be a soft-spoken instrument, which is at disadvantage to other instruments, but his Oud can be characterized as a band by itself. In fact, he is at his best when he performs alone with no back-up musicians and that is what makes him the genius that he is. His trademark is a ten string larger than normal Oud. He sometimes holds his Oud not only horizontally, but also vertically which makes it look like a Cello.


At the end of the 60’s and 70’s cassette tapes, Xodeydi usually paid tribute to his Aden- South Yemen, days by combining elements of his style with a style in which disparate elements-Nubian, Arabic and African rhythmic impulses - are molded into a distinctively Somaliland sound.


In concert, he resembles an aging Jimmy Hendrix, with an Oud instead of a guitar. His effortless plucking of the stirrings seem so simple but yet complicated. To the uninitiated, the sound of the Oud is so unfamiliar and different; but to the fans, the sound is smooth and sweet that it defies simple explanation. To many Somalilanders Xodeydi’s music is an affirmation of the tenacity, hope, strength, spirit and passion of the past, present and future generations. It also symbolizes the richness of Somaliland culture -song, music, poetry and dance.





Xodeydi, who arrived on the Somaliland music scene four generations ago, from Aden-south Yemen, as a member of Walalo Hargeisa, was born in Aden to rich Somaliland parents. Legend has it that Xodeydi traded all of his inheritance money for an Oud which shows the importance he accorded to the instrument. Xodeydi became part of the Somaliland Aden community, who were involved with anti-colonial, nationalist discourse. It was during this time that he befriended some of the best known Somaliland artists who were living in Aden at the time. They included Abulillahi Qarshe, the father of Somaliland Nationalist Songs and Muhamed Ismail Barkhad Cas, the great nationalist poet and playwright.


He also met Qaassim, another great poet and nationalist of high caliber. Xodeydi once performed as Abdillahi Qarshe’s drummer in an anti-colonial play, written by Mohamed Ismail Barkhad Cas, and directed by Abdillahi Qarshe, who was also the lead singer. Soon after that, he met the late great Oud player and fellow Adense Hassan Nahaari, who taught him how to play the Oud.


Xodeydi in an interview with the British Broadcasting Company (B. B.C.) reminisced about the good old days. He remembered the first time he set foot on Somaliland soil. He said in the interview that he arrived in a small holy town called Maid located on the eastern coastal area of Somaliland. He talked about how he was brought to Diaxa another small town that had a boarding middle school.


He continued to say how he met at the time in the boarding school, an exceptionally talented teachers, including the great Somaliland poet Abdlsalan Haji Adan, Oral Historian and teacher Lumumba and the great poet and playwright Ahmed Suleman Bidde who was the School’s electrician.


According to Lumumba, when Xoheydeh arrived in the city, a big party was thrown in his honor. When Xodeydi found out that he was among fellow artists, he began to mellow and decided to play the Oud. That night, according to Lumumba, he opened his music adventures - an instrumental style that showcased his Oud prowess. Lumumba adds, “the music seemed to say, ‘Diaxaaxey’ and I began to sing along: “Adiga ee daryaaleh. Dia xaa xey.” “I began to hear once more and I responded to the music again and said, ‘dantida jiraa yey.’ We created a song right there and then, without any rehearsal. It was the greatest moment of may life.” In English translation it goes like this: “Oh! Diaxa you are the one who takes care of me. Oh! Diaxa you are the one who looks after me …”


Shortly after, the teachers and Ahmed Suleiman Bidde wrote a play together, primarily for the entertainment of the students in the boarding school. Xodeydi wrote the music for the play. The play became a hit for the students and the town’s people that the teachers decided to take the play to a much larger audience in the major cities of Burao, Sheikh, Berbera and Hargeisa. The play became a hit also in the big cities. It was during this time that he met the rest of the talented ten and distinguished artists of the Barkhad Cas group.





When an entire group of people is attacked by its government the group fights back sooner or later. One of the best means of fighting back is to create dignified images within that group. And musical instruments and singing becomes the most potent forces against injustices and oppression. Being able to sing your own songs and play your own music without hindrance, is also the [beginning of empowerment and control of your own destiny.


Control over the music and songs of others or their culture, exerts control over the way the others are regarded and influences the way society treats them. For instance, during Siyads Barre’s dictatorial rule of Somaliland, Somaliland radio stations depicted the Somalilanders as anti-revolutionaries . This created in the minds of Somali the notion of the ‘others.’ Songs, such as the infamous ’sama diido dibin baa ku degan laa ku ku deli doono’ or ‘he who refuses good behavior a trap has been laid to kill you’ or ‘the worst people are those who have their belly full.’


These songs and others encouraged a degree of generalized hate that made: 1) the detention without trial of Somalilanders, 2) Killing and looting of their property, 3) the firing of seventy five Director Generals and 4) the forceful closure of all boarding schools in Somaliland in the 70’s, more nearly acceptable to the general public.


On another level, the radio repeatedly identified the inhabitants of Somaliland and their party, the Somali National Movement (the party that won Independence for Somaliland) as Qudomiis or filthy carcass. This was a tag that branded them less than human and therefore an easy prey by the military force in Somaliland to shoot and kill people suspected of being members.


It was that period of generalized fear and intimidation of the artists by the authorities that Xodeydi arrived in Hargeisa and plunged himself into the fold of Barkdhad Cas, where he rightfully belonged. Ever since, his arrival in Hargeisa, the music and song of Somaliland was never the same. The group performed a couple of plays and recorded hundreds of tapes together. It seemed as if the group and Xodeydi were made for each other. For instance, watching him and Faisel in action makes one lose both time and space, especially, when Faisel sings his signature song Subceys.


During the 1960’s, the song was a vibrantly radical work, at once unsettling and impish, with a voice comprised entirely ululation vocal sounds, yelps, squawks, shouts, drumming and whistles. Made up words Arabic and gibberish were mixed into the Somali words too. The audience jumped into the action too, to reward Faisel and Xodeydi with their own assortment of yelps, shouts and encore or ‘peace’ in Somali.


When playing Subceys, Xodeydi’s notes sounded not like a shimmering sustained harmony, but like a rippling rhythmic motive, eerily dry and tingling. Xodeyedeh who looked like someone in a trance, makes the playing so simple and a deep emotional sensibility runs through his playing, however, pristine and refined with the melodic twists and turns of the tune that he seems to be singing along with the music. This performance is not only full of colour and seduction, it is also brilliant and thought provoking. At the end of the song, one can hear in the background the audience exhaling and roaring for encore or ‘peace’ in Somali.




Today Xodeydi is widely seen as a revivalist and a hope for the future of the Oud. He is best described as a veteran serving as a mentor to a younger generation of artists, and at the same time consciously using his fame in order to draw attention to older Qaraami, traditional music, thereby strengthening the Somaliland music and song. Without Xodeydi the younger generation would not be able to become aware of their musical heritage especially the Qaraami.


The musical legacy of Xodeydi has been a central theme in Somaliland’s music enthusiast circles over the past four decades. Issues that face the artists now, such as cultural commodification, ownership of Somaliland’s music and the direction of the music, are important items that all Somaliland artists and fans alike, have to tackle in the coming years.


For now, our coverage of this genius musician provides a long overdue recognition for one of Somaliland’s favorite sons. Our hope is simply that the attention will prove to have served as a catalyst for enhancing the prestige, honor and status of a long forgotten living legend who deserves a national symbol to be named after him, such as the Hargeisa theatre. We also believe that his tapes should be collected and put into the Somaliland National Museum for posterity, because his pioneering work has not yet been fully explored.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Abdirahman Hassan: The Singer/Songwriter Who Died Of Love


Adirahman Hassan's career as a singer/songwriter was short lived. He only recorded three songs in his entire life. But his remarkable legacy as a great singer/songwriter and composer is remembered to this day, twenty-five years after his untimely death. His songs are played by some of his close friends and co-singers such as Ahmed Ali "Drum" and Faisel Omer "Mushteeg." (They were all members of the famous "Barkhadcas Band.") Faisel, a great admirer of the singer and a close friend remembers Mr.Hassan's 1971 "Barkhadcas" concert debut as a turning point. " When Abdirahman came, it was the first concert of a three part series," Faisel recalled. "But he really lifted us up with his real life, truthful, haunting voice and carried me along. It was the most phenomenal debut since Mohamed Mogeh."


Hassan's voice always made "Xudaydi's" "oud" scowling. His voice showed his deep seated feelings of suffering and intensity. He put on a blaring performance that held the audience rapt.


In describing their chemistry - Xudaydi and Hassan - you might say Hassan's genial down-home bluesy style returned Mr."Xudaydi" to his serious "Qaaraami" roots. The expected song, "Waan Ku Raadiyaayoo," was delivered with freshness and heart. But the show's most touching moment was Mr.Hassan's rendition of, "hurdo Gama' Ma Ledoo," an arching ballad that infuses agonized longing and despair with an almost Shakespearean sense of tragedy. Faisel adds, "When you sing Abdirahman's songs, you must speak them in tune, because the love stories are so profound." Some of his lyrics are in English.

I don't sleep at all

love never leaves me alone

The stress in my body

drives me out of bed


A man who has so many to chose, from his age group

But who stays away from them, because of you!

If you have any intelligence or empathy

Do not foster harmful designs against me


Do not discard me

Do not reject me

I would never have dismissed you!



I am trying to track you down

I can not rest

My hair has a braided length

I have dreadlocks, because of you


When I look in front of me

My false dreams make your vision real to me


But, Allah has taken you to a place of honey

Green grass and plentiful water


The song in English

First Part


When the earth is wet and full of moisture

Flowers on the trees blooming

You are like the efflorescent morning glory flower


When someone is smitten by love

You don't just watch and stand by!


What has come between us?

Our state of affairs is in shamble!


Second Verse


While I was waiting for your love

my compatriots have surpassed me (financially)

And I have neither money nor your love!


What inspires me with awe

And hurt me badly

is your grand sublime and powerful beauty



1) Gacan haadis bay I dilay

2) Malabkoo dhibcaayaay


My Dear Companion

You have pierced me with spears

Do not hurt me

Take this load or saddle off of me


Mr. Hassan's songs raised questions about the abstract notion of love. He asked things through his songs, why loving someone created despair and agony for him. He asked, furthermore, why he was put into this miserable state of affairs. He felt neglected, unwanted, and unloved by the woman he loved and cared for.

He was agonized and bewildered by this sudden misfortune; his lover, the woman of his dreams, songs, and music lived in the midst of plenty, enjoying every part of it, he explains in his songs. His songs raised more questions than answers.


Most Somaliland artists and music lovers knew a secret that other people didn't know. They knew that his love was real. They also knew that when someone is smitten by love, you don't just stand and watch by!


Who has come between us?

Our state of affairs is in ruins.


Love was the cause of his untimely death. This puts him in the category with a rare group of Somaliland poets who died when they couldn't attain the desire of their love. Elmi Boodhari is one of the most famous of this category. He was a 1940's Somaliland poet who died of love, according to Somaliland folk tales. Therefore, one can arguably say that Mr. Hassan is the second person, after Elmi Boodhari to have died of love during the last century in Somaliland.


Abdirahman died in the mid-'70s in Djibouti; he was only twenty years old. Abdirahman had a famous singer as a brother called Omer "Rooraayeh." He is remembered by many artists and Somali music lovers as one of the most gifted and talented artists of all time. If there was a "genius award," Mr.Hassan would have won, without a doubt. Somaliland misses him a lot!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mohamed Mooge Liibaan





Singer, composer, musician, teacher and Revolutionary, Mohamed Mogeh "Baban" is acclaimed not only for the purity of his voice, said by many to be the best in all Somali speaking areas, but also for his integrity, revolutionary zeal, teaching ability and his efforts to maintain high artistic and social ideals in his music. Mohamed Mogeh believed the role of the artist is to be a pioneer, and to do this, he should devote all his work and his life to the people and humanity of his time. Mohamed Mogeh's singing was never for self-satisfaction or personal enjoyment. Mogeh articulated the responsibility of the singer to be the creation of new, healthy values for both future and contemporary people, so that society can evolve, while at the same time grounded on the normal and social values of the generations past.


Mohamed Mogeh grew up at a time when singing was not used as a profession. "Barkhad Cas" dominated the generations of the 50's and early 60's and "Abdillahi Qarshe" was the giants whose nationalistic songs dominated the airwaves. However, neither of them worked for the "Radio hargeysa". Abdillahi Qarshe worked for the District Commissioner (DC) in Hargeysa, and "Barkhad Cas" the poet of Somali Nationalism refused to work for radio station hargeysa. Mogeh's profession was not singing, it was rather teaching in schools. In the early 60's Mogeh was the lead singer in a play performed by the Somaliland Teachers Union. The play emphasized the value of education and schools. The opening song included this verse:


We are like the moon that illuminates a dark world.

We provide Education as a gift to the schools.


Mogeh at an early age of his adult life knew his role in society was to educate the masses as is clear from the song mentioned above. He could never have composed and sung his later famous patriotic/nationalistic songs without having an honest love, deep seated feeling and a clear and visible commitment for his nation and people. His songs always had a message. It was impossible for him to have left London, England in the late 70's, when most Somali intellectuals were moving to bigger and better pastures in the Diaspora. He joined the liberation struggle in Ethiopia without an undying faith and love for his people. Mogeh's revolutionary songs attracted thousands of students and youth to the liberation struggle spearheaded by the Somali National Movement (SNM).


In order to fully understand Mogeh's deep commitment against military rule and his fearless stands, the following story by one of his close friends and co-singer Faisel Omer Mushsteeg is illustrative. Faisel says, "In 1970 all the civil servants were forced to go through a one year course in "Xalane" a military camp near Mogadishu. The function of the training camp was to "re-educate" the civil servants to their new environment (military dictatorship) and end "civil society". Mogeh composed a poem or "Afar_leey", a smaller version of Somali poem. I also added a few lines to the "Afar_leey". Others in the camp also added a few lines of their own. The military officers in their version of "the big brother is watching you", heard about it and immediately informed their superior officers. They in turn informed the president, Siyad Barre. Siyad Barre became furious and instantly called for a general meeting of all civil servants in the camp. He wanted to know the person who composed the poem. To the dictator's utter surprise, Mogeh raised his hand and took credit for the poem. Apparently, that was not enough for the dictator, so he asked to recite the poem. Mogeh recited the poem in its entirety, including the lines we added to his original pieces. The poem went like this:


Do you know that the food I eat does not have any nutrition?

Do you know that I take orders from an ignorant soldier?

Do you know the person I blame is you!


In Somali

Ma ogtahay anfacadaan cunna ma laha iidaane?

Ma ogtahay Askari jaahilaan amar ka qaataaye?

Ma ogtahay qofkaan eersadaa adiga weeyaane!


The president of Somalia went crazy and ordered the officers to immediately put him behind bars. Mogeh stayed behind bars for the duration of the training period. It took me and some friends of mine to perform a pro government play during the closing ceremony of the training, which was attended by the dictator and his ministries. At the end of the play, we went to the President and asked for a clemency of our fellow artist. He accepted our plea, but warned all of us to stay out of political songs and anti-government activities".


Mogeh's political consciousness began to grow and mature. In 1971 in a visit to Djibouti a small Somali inhibited area which was under French colonial rule at the time Siyadd Barre accused him of fomenting trouble and put him in prison again. When he was released later on, he sang a song demanding and explanation for his incarceration. He says:


"If I visited Djibouti on a holiday,

an area stolen from us,

since I did not break the law,

why was I imprisoned?"



In Somali

"Xeebtaa Jabuutee

Somali laga xadday

haddii aan xaggaa tagay

maaan jabinin xeerkee

maxaa laygu soo xidhay"


Mogeh knew the difference between singing for your people and nation singing for a regime. He recorded two songs for the two radios in Mogadeshu and Hargeysa in his whole life as a singer; which spans nearly three decades of being number one. The song he recorded for Radio Hargeysa was a love song called "Mar Aan Xalyato Toosoon", When I Woke Up Last Night". The love song that he recorded for Radio Mogadishu was a patriotic song dealing with education and schools called "Waanada Macalinka" or "The Advice of the Teacher". As we have mentioned earlier, Mogeh's musical career span nearly three decades of being at the top.


Besides being a singer, teacher and revolutionary, Mogeh was also a great stage actor, for he was the leading singer and actor in "AQOON IYO AFGARAD", the famous play written and directed by the Great Somaliland poet and play write Hadraawi in 1972. Mogeh believes in integrity and deep commitment to his people's values and culture will hopefully be imitated by the young artists of today, so that his life will not be in vain. Mogeh was murdered by the enemy of Somaliland people in June 1984, fighting the good war against the military dictatorship.. Mogeh has been gone for more than 17 years, the distinctive sound and his prophetic lyrics resonate with a force still seldom rivaled.Mogeh epitimises Somaliland culture and his music became the anthem of a displaced generation and the power behind his voice and lyrics remains to this day. He left a daughter and two grandsons who live in Addis Abba Ethiopia. Somaliland misses its own favorite son deeply. In the summer of 1999 the Somaliland people, in recognition of Mogeh's vast contribution to music and songs of Somaliland, named a new suburban residential area in Hargeysa as " Mohamed Mogeh". This is an acknowledgment to Mogeh's commitment to the preservation of Somaliland culture through his music and songs.Mogeh's legend lives on in all who sing and listen to Somaliland music today.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this