Based upon a story I found on Minnesota Public Radio on the Somali music store California Studios, I went off to find it near the corner of East 24th Street and Elliot on the southeast side of Minneapolis.
Finding the actual Somali Mall wasn’t difficult. Once I opened the door to enter the mall, I was completely taken aback by what I saw. While the corridors are fairly narrow, they are full of beautiful Somali clothing for men and women. All around me, I heard Somali families conversing in native tongue, and I was fairly excited by the dynamic atmosphere. With the winding of the halls, I stopped by a travel agency and asked for the California Studio. I knew I was getting close with the blaring music and constant beat.
Two girls and two guys were talking, and I had no real clue as to what I was doing and felt like an infant in terms of my knowledge of Somali music. The guy behind the counter handed me two CDs, which I thanked him for and purchased. It was a very interesting experience of leaving the familiar behind, and almost being transported to another country. Both in terms of my knowledge and dress, I was a bit out of place although it was very cool to walk in the mall and take in the language, the sites of clothing on the walls, men drinking coffee, and women in long flowing dresses.
Everyone was doing his or her own thing, and it was nice to be a part of it and to come out with some fairly interesting tunes. As I write this, I’m listening to one of the albums, I think it’s called Cigaal Hoobal from the singer Stiinte. It has a very heavy use of drum machine and synthesizer, but I like it quite a bit. It’s very different from anything I have. It’s produced by Safari World Entertainment. If you know anything about the CD or musician, please let me know. I’d love to learn more.
The second album was a compilation CD produced by California Studios. I included the art work in case anyone recognizes any of the musicians on the cover.
Somali Music Resources
Somali Music – Wikipedia
Hassan Samatar performs Heego – MPR (Real Audio File)