Abdi Nassir recently covered the state of Somali music and its perceived decline in his blog Abdi Nassir Somalia:
“If you explore a little bit about the Somali Music Industry, your eyes might see a man or a woman who calls himself or herself a Hobol (singer) copying the old Somali songs in 1960s and 1970s and making it into an album. This prompts me to think, is Somali Music dying or these s0-called Hobols are polluting the sweetness of the Somali Music with their lack of creativity?
These amateur singers, also known in Somali Language as Wejiyaxun (Bad Faces), are everywhere, especially in Somali wedding ceremonies where they are hired to play. Most of the songs they play are copied from old Somali singers and you rarely see new songs they make, except them pounding their noisy and heavy instruments. I don’t mean to discredit them but copyright infringement is a serious thing.”
It’s difficult to understand the impact war has had, tearing not only families but music groups, like Waaberi, apart and well known musicians, like Hibo Nuura, from their people. With the war and disintegration of Somali society, the music scene is in crisis state. Crisis can sometimes foster moments of great inspiration and creativity, I’m thinking of German literature after World War II. But unlike German literature, which is read around the world, the Somali society is a very close-knit group and it maybe difficult for musicians and authors to gain an audience beyond their native Somali audience. The exception would rappers like K’naan.
As a blog that has covered Somali heavyweights like Maryam Mursal and Hassan Samatar, it’s can be difficult to find information on even these singers in any language other than Somali. If it’s difficult for me to find info and new Somali bands, it won’t be easy for the average world music fan to find anything.
I would be very interested in speaking or corresponding with anyone who might be knowledgeable about Somali music and patient enough to explain it to a very curious newcomer.