Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Mohámed Ahmed
January 9, 2022, 1:00 am
Filed under: Somalia

Ila – Gabo

Since my last and only Somali post – which was a guest post – there have been a small number of releases showcasing the music of that country: Analog Africa’s Dur Dur of Somalia – Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks and  Mogadisco – Dancing Mogadishu (Somalia 1972​-​1991),  Afro7’s Light & Sound of Mogadishu and Ostinato Records’ Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africaa.

But information about records from Somalia is almost as rare as the records. I have not been able to find any information about the performer Mohámed Ahmed, lyricist Hassan Gudan, composer Basher Hadde or the record label Gazira Melody – other than the label only released two singles and that Indiana University’s Bloomington Archives of Traditional Music has a copy of both of those records.

There is an interesting post on the blog Tix iyo Tiraab (Poetry and Prose) that provides some history of the recording industry in Somalia during the 1960s to the 1980s.

[…] There were, thus, a few private labels in the first half of the 1970s, such as Sirag Noor & Co., Jirde Ltd., Light & Sound, Gazira Melody etc. These were basically commercial enterprises selling many miscellaneous articles, including music paraphernalia, instruments, vinyl records and, mainly, tapes. They also had fast recorders to tape cassettes for the customers and rudimentary facilities to (amateurishly) record bands live or in a studio, and they produced and commercialized the albums independently.

By mid-1970s the music production labels were completely owned by the government and that lasted for about a decade. In the mid-1980s, licenses were again granted to a number of firms, popularly known as stereos, studios or phones. These music shops were pretty much copies of their predecessors from the ’70s. However, producing and selling music- and film-related items, mainly cassettes and videos, was their principal activity.

If you have any further information, please leave it in the comment section below.

Catalog number 5742 on Gazira Melody, manufactured by Flex of Lebanon. No other information listed.

1 Comment so far
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Mohamed Ahmed was one of the most prolific and popular Somali artists. Born in the 1930s, he started his artistic career in the 1950s and continued singing and acting in theatres till he passed away in 2015. If you write his name in Somali – maxamed axmed kuluc -, you can find tons of info. about him including many vids. e.g.:

Comment by Sanaag

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