This is a cassette of Dur Dur,1 a group from Somalia which was very popular in the 1980’s. When I first listened to it I was amazed by the sound which resembled very much 1970’s funk music. John at Likembe writes about similar experiences. He presents also a lot of more information about Dur Dur in a another posting.2
Because of the civil war in Somalia the group had moved to Ethiopia where they published this cassette in the early 1990’s. As it was the practice at that time the cassette was published by a music shop. In this case it is a shop called Elham Video Electronics. The shop has two branches one in Negele, Borana and one in Addis Ababa. The first branch in Negele seems to be the main one. It is located in an area in southern Ethiopia,3 which is close to the Ogaden, i.e. the Somali region of Ethiopia.
On the cover there are photos of four members of the group written in Latin and Ethiopic script: Zahra,4 Muktar, Abdinur and Qomal (or Komal).
As with a lot of Somalian musicians and artists it is difficult to obtain mor information about them. Therefor I would be happy for further information and comments about the group, its members and its music.
The cassette contains twelve songs, six on each side. The titles are given in Latin script on the inside, but listening to the songs it seems that the order of the titles is not correct. Therefore I changed the order of the lables of the 3., 4. and 5. song on the first, and of the 10. and 11. song on the second side. There may be further mistakes in the labeling.5
02 Abasho (Cabasho)
Complaint, accusation; it’s a prayer for forgiveness, repentance and peace in Somalia and everywhere
(probably about someone who’s possessed by the demons of love)
04 Hak Somalk Dumark (Xaqsoorka Dumarka)
Justice for Women / Uphold Women’’s Rights
Lament over Africa’s current plagues (war, bad politics, poverty, desolation…) and a call for unity to confront the problems hand in hand
06 African Music
07 Ethiopian Girl
(cover of “I’ve Been Thinking About You”)
08 Gorophmca (Gorofka)
The Elixir (full of love)
09 Ladaney: Oh, Ladan!
(female name); cover of an old love song
10 Kennea (Keennee Gardaran?)
Who is Wrong? (The dictator or the citizens?); This is an old song from early 70s denouncing the dictatorship in veiled lyrics about love.
11 Tarik (Taariikh)
History; love song
(Thanks to Sanaag the titles and order of the songs have been updated on 13/01/2010 and 19/02/2010)
- I bought the cassette on my first trip to Ethiopia in 1993 in Addis Ababa. And this is also first complete cassette, I managed to upload. [↩]
- An additional source of information about Somali popular music is the fascinating article The Light & Sound Of Mogadishu by Matthew LaVoie at VOA. [↩]
- This area is predominatly inhabited by Oromo. [↩]
- Her full name is Zahra (or Sahro) Dawo and it seems that she was quite popular by her own at that period. [↩]
- Any information about the songs and the group are most welcome! [↩]
- Thanks to Sanaag for the correct Somali spelling, translations and explanations! [↩]