Filed under: Somalia
“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.
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 freemuse.org, 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.