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Lost Songs From Somalia’s Golden Age

The most defining feature of the archive was its ability to transport our hearts and minds to Mogadishu of the 1970s and 1980s, when the coastal capital glistened as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,”

Somali Sounds from Mogadishu to Djibouti (Selected by Nicolas Sheikholeslami & Vik Sohonie) by Ostinato Records

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Something remarkable has taken place in the last few years: Somalia has reasserted itself.
Indeed, challenges still remain—and they are grave. But we should not discount how far Somalia and Somali people have come from two decades of civil war, and current ongoing hardships.

Mogadishu slowly but surely has been defiantly rebuilding itself. The airport has been renovated, a strategic seaport is in the works. Presidential elections were held last month, with a peaceful transition of power observed and optimism abound.

To the north, the autonomous Republic of Somaliland has enjoyed stability and peace—attracting a diaspora who fled during the war, now keen to invest in the future. Schools in the dusty capital Hargeisa are graduating Ivy league bound students. From those we met, there is a palpable sense of selflessness in the conference of degrees. A dedication to learning achieves the goals of rebuilding first, individual upward mobility second.

Amid this often underreported revival, brewing just beneath the surface, a concerted effort by Somalis at home and abroad to preserve, restore, and spread their culture, reminding the world of its lush vibrancy before the violence, has begun.

by VIK SOHONIE : http://www.okayafrica.com/audio/somalia-music-golden-age-lost-sounds/

The Somali diaspora in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere in East Africa have used the digital tools their disposal—namely YouTube and blogs—to upload their collections. This cultural assertion is a cornerstone of the Somali revival.

In 2015, Berlin-based researched and collector Nicolas Sheikholeslami nimbly scoured the Somali niches of the internet to compile Au Revoir Mogadishu Vol.1, a viral mixtape of Somali music from before the war.

Made speechless by the mixtape’s other-worldly sounds, Ostinato Records and Sheikholeslami traveled to the Horn of Africa after catching word of an archive of over 10,000 cassettes and reels, painstakingly preserved through the war by intrepid radio operators and dedicated vanguards of Somali culture. The archive was rescued only recently and generously made available to us.

The Lost Songs From Somalia’s Golden Age of Music Are Compiled In This New Mix

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