MOGADISHU, Somalia – Fueled by the high-volume music and fast-talking rappers, the Somali crowd danced, shouted and sang. Mogadishu’s first music festival in decades acted as another step in moving past a city soundscape once filled with gunfire and mortar shells.

The Reconciliation Music Festival was organized by a Somali rap group who moved overseas, Waayaha Cusub. Last week’s performances attracted international artists to a capital city that until recently was music-free.

The militant group al-Shabab ruled Mogadishu from 2006 until the fighters were forced out in August 2011. No lyrical stanzas were allowed in al-Shabab-controlled areas, and the al-Qaida linked militants banned music as a “sin” punishable by public flogging.

Two years ago, an al-Shabab spokesman threatened Waayaha Cusub after it produced a song disparaging the militants’ rule and its penchant for killing civilians.

“We want to change the world’s impression toward Mogadishu as a dangerous city,” rapper Shine Akhiyar told the crowd from the stage. “Mogadishu is more peaceful than many cities considered peaceful. Through music, we are committed to fight extremism.”

For the cheering audience in this seaside capital, the winds of change were audible.

“It’s a great night,” said Abdishakur Ali, a 17-year-old who was standing among his dancing peers. “I have never seen something like this. It’s a nice one. We are tired of war.”

Music is gradually returning but Somalia still has a long way to go to regain its rich cultural past. The packed open-air venues of the 1980s have been bombed to rubble or occupied by squatters. The music has changed too. Gone are the songs about love and romance. Instead, new tracks explore the struggle for peace.

The foreign and Somali musicians also had a private showing with an audience that in the past may have wished them dead — a group of militant defectors now participating in a government-sponsored rehabilitation program. To the musicians’ surprise, many former fighters — some of them still in their early teens — immediately began to dance.

“The most important achievement of our festival really was to rap and sing alongside former fighters and child soldiers,” said Daniel Gerstle, an American musician from Ohio.

 Source: Associated Press


    • Imagine 100years from now there is a debate between

      Hawiye -vs – Darood

      H – General bahuko was Hawiye and we will raise a statue for him
      D – Are you made Bahuko was jebarti ibnu Kabalalax
      H – No he was not, the man who saved Somalia is a Hutu and we know only Hawiye is hutu
      D – No you are mistake DNa was taken when Bahuko died and he is 99.99% Kabalalax
      H – You are day dreaming, You people have soft hair he did not so he is hawiye.
      D – Listen i will concede that Mahiiga was Hawiye but Bahuko was Darood ok?
      H – Shake on it.

  1. tellmetruth,

    I know you are working tirelessly for the unity of our country and people. Thanks for the article posted here but let us enjoy the music in Lido Beach for once. As the young man swooning to the rhythm of the rap stated " we're tired of war". I may also add, we are very tired of politics and tribal squabbles. Let the music play on play on …

      • kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk, your right salah, all the same pesron———–kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

    • Jazira maybe even Lido beach are the graves of Isaaq genocide victims.

      Keep dancing on top of graves it is a reflection of everything you people stand for.

  2. Akher Zaman, when Music is seen as progress. Sign of the times. Have they not learned anything ?
    “Truly, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)

      • KFC,

        Brother i'd like to remind you that there are 2 angels who are 24 7 watching you and recording what you say or do so for that reason be careful before you state something you don't really know.
        Alah subxaanahu wa tacaala said "wamina alnaasi man yashtary lahwa alxadiithi liyudila can sabiili Allah"
        Ibn mascuud, said that lahwa alxadiith is music
        and there is a very clear xadiith that where by the nabi said that music is haram
        "there would be some folks from omati (my nation) who halalise the fornication (zina), alxariir, alkhamr (alcohol), and the music."
        Anyway KFC, i think you can do a little search about these things brother. and just remember, that music only keep you distened from remembering allah and you can't fill your heart with both, music and quran. I ask Allah to put us all on the right path and to forgive us

  3. The nabi peace be upon him never listened to music nor he encouraged the saxaaba to do such a thing. Therefore, I call on all my Somali brothers to follow such a path, as it is the path that leads to piety

  4. What is exactly wrong with singing or songs that Islam hates? Why cant people live and be happy the short time we are here. Why do we have to constantly agonize over hell fire? Islam is a death cult obsessed with death and dying and not focusing on living well with yourself and others around you in the short time that is given you.

    Talk about depressing, no singing, no music smdh not interested! Who the hell wants to live like the 6th century arab in the 21st century? No I, especially when there are soo many other meaningful ideas being exchanged. ugh

    • Hey man, I agree with you Somalis need to stop with this salafi madness and go back to what we were. A time where women wore our beautiful Somali dresses, now they are dressed like ninjas and look nothing like Somali. This saudi terrorists need to be stopped, they are exporting their salafi filth to every nation. Hell I even heard pakistani's lecturing to somalis, what happened to our own shiekhs?

        • Walal trust me this is Islam, the softer version that we are used to would be considered by Mohammed himself as a new invention. Just look at the hadith and tafseer. Many muslims don't know what is exactly in the tafseer and hadith walal. And when you do find something questionable they tell you ohh well you just don't know the Arabic. These arguments are getting old and tired.

          And when you finally get to see the Arabic and have it translated you find out its the same rubbish or even worse where words like qataal the Arabic word for kill are translated into English as meaning fight in order to soften it for western readers.

          Our people are much better than this!

    • For starters, if you are Muslim or know anything about Islam you'll know that we were created for ONE reason and ONE reason only: to WORSHIP Allaah. That's it. No surprise and no hidden agendas. If you don't want to follow the laws set out by Allaah than by all means "live" your life and "enjoy" it for the short time that we are in this world. Because death is inevitable. Yes, death is being constantly talked about because it's the one thing that everyone agrees on; be it Socretes or an old jewish man.

      That's the only thing 100% guranteed. And secondly, the trials Allaah has put Somalia in for the past 23 years were due to our sins, so alhamdulilaah after all this Allaah has blessed Somalia by allowing it to prosper and THIS is how we chose to celebrate it? By singing and dancing? SERIOUSLY? Fear Allaah as He ought to be Feared. And repent to your Lord with a sincere repentance.

  5. During this time our local somali singer have more and more difficulty to song in Somaliland speacially in Burco as our local Taliban take more and more power in our loved country. No enough for them our ladies aldready dress like afghan one instead of their beautiful dirac.At this trend we will surpass country like Saudia or Pakistan..

    • For the first time I agree with you,This agenda of Saudi Arabia has a lot to do monetary policy than anything else and it's not only them it includes all the rich gulf States. And What they're striving for is to keep the whole of horn of Africa under rap in their mercy!!!!!!!!!!

  6. hornid stop lying, Somaliland has some of the best xaflads ever! Last time I was there it was like a club on steroids girls wearing dirac with their hair out and youngmen in western clothing!

    The young want nothing to do with Psycho Islam or any other suffocating world view! People are sick and tired of this nonsense, if you want to be religious keep it to yourself! The world is moving on and the young are more interested in living life than constantly fearing some arabs 6th century view of hell where a so called merciful god torments his creation over and over and over again, I am sorry the young generation isn't buying that dung hill you lot try to sell as the religion of peace

    • Well said NLander. I wonder how can music be sin now and was not years back? I can remember when they were side by side , religion and music and they were not clashing at all. Somaliland we had a best art culture when it comes to music, theater, Poetry and so on. I miss that a lot. I hope we all bring back to life and leave our younger generation something they should be proud of belong to that culture.

  7. First thing Somalis in Mogadishu do when the Ethiopia's puppet government lays claim on the capital is to celebrate sinful acts in such a shameless manner.
    It's not a surprise that since it was a christian invasion of Somalia that now you are following in the footsteps of christians and jews.

    If you want to be thankful to Allah for peace you follow his religion just as Prophet Muhammad PBUH and his companions did. Don't follow the footsteps of christians and jews because they are the worst of all God's creation.

  8. Ok so let me ask you this then. If Allah is soo great and wonderful why does he need people to worship him like an egotistical maniac? And then why does he threaten people with eternal hell fire when he refuses to provide evidence? Why does this all ah need to always put one man to represent him? How inefficient is that for someone you claimed created the whole universe horta?

    Like I said you are obsessed with death and dying and not concerned with living your life. When you get brainwashed enough to love death more than you love your life and living it well is when youngmen and women strap bombs onto themselves!

  9. Socrates loved life and asked good questions like how can we live together in peace? What is the best way of building a city. etc He never concerned himself with gods only living well and treating other well!

    What sort of sick god/ all ah decides to punish soo many innocent children and women for some supposed offense! I remember my mom once saying that a lady who was suffering from Cancer was being punished for sins so she could enter heaven……what a load of cr a p! That is some medieval thinking What sort of god is that?

    I am only human and I am even more mercy than all ah

    The more people get educated, get good healthcare the less they will want to be controlled by a heartless, incompetent being and those who preach his hatred and feed off of people misery and poverty!