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.

November 7, 2010, 5:57 am
Filed under: Somalia

Guulwade Siyaad

Dadkaaga Dhinac Ka Raac

This week, we have a guest post from Andreas Vingaard. Andreas took me up on my plea for a guest post on the music of Somalia. Here is his bio:

“Andreas Vingaard moved to New York City from Denmark in 2007. He has worked with the Maysles Institute on several projects since its opening including a night of documentaries on New York street gangs featuring several original members present; the successful graffiti film festival “Kings of the City”; and a collaboration with “ego trip” highlighting some of the more obscure early hip hop films. Andreas Vingaard works as a video journalist and still photographer. He has worked on assignments all across Europe and the US as well as Lebanon, Haiti, Iraq, Chile. He loves music from around the world as well as forgotten documentaries which he makes an extraordinary effort to track down.”

Take it away, Andreas…

It’s a sad fact that Somali music culture is very poorly documented. Even when it comes to field recordings, Somalia is highly overlooked. This album is one of the very few 45s and albums produced in Somalia.

Modern Somalia was essentially created out of the protectorate, British Somaliland and a colony, Italian Somaliland when the two territories united in 1960.

General Siad Barre, a man who wasn’t shy of having portraits painted of himself next to Lenin and Karl Marx, came to power in 1969 after the assassination of the sitting President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke. General Barre went on to establish the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party where the hope was to bring a blend of Islam and Marxism to Somalia. In reality, Barre transformed Somalia into a military dictatorship. In 1991, a coalition of different groups lost patience with Barres totalitarian rule and forced him into exile. He died in Nigeria in 1995. His remains are buried in the Gedo part of Somalia.

Since 1991 Somalia has been without a effective government, leaving the country in a chaotic power struggle between clan based warlords and religious militias. Recently, the Al-Shabab militia (“The Young Ones”) has made a name for itself with attacks that killed 42 aid workers in 2008 and 2009 alone. According to the non-profit organisation, the Islamist hard-liners in Al-Shabab are responsible for a total ban on music forcing 14 radio stations to close down in April 2010. To make things even more complicated “the government threatened to suspend stations in their strongholds that complied with the music ban.”

CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalists named Somalia as “Africa’s deadliest country for journalists.” However, brave souls keep Radio Mogadishu and other independent alternatives alive. At least Radio Mogadishu’s website is up and running – whether they are actually on-air is unknown at this point.

This album is sung in the local Somali language. I know that there’s at least two LPs in this series. This is the second volume with the following info on the label:

Somali Broadcasting Service, Somalia Sings, Radio Mogadishu, SBSLP-101

You can read about the first one album in the series HERE.

If you have more information on these or other Somali recordings then please leave a comment.

Here’s to a peaceful Somalia. Enjoy!


Since this posting, I have been contacted by Andreas, who was contacted by a person by the name of Sanaag. He provided the name of the band, as well as the song titles. The first track, Guulwade Siyaad (Victorious Siyaad), was exemplary of Siyaad Barre’s self-glorification and personality cult. Schoolchildren had to sing it every morning and it was often parodied to ridicule Barre and his minions. The second song, Dadkaaga Dhinac Ka Raac (Follow Your Peers / Keep Up With the Pace), carries a positive message. It calls upon all Somalis to pursue relentlessly the goal of developing the country and to work hand-in-hand for the benefit of the whole society.