New Dawn: Track by Track

Released in 1997, 'New Dawn' is a live recording of a performance in The Wood Room at Real World studios by the Somalian ensemble Waaberi, featuring Maryam Mursal on lead vocals and guest contributions by Egyptian master percussionist Hossam Ramzy. In this feature, producer Søren Kjær Jensen provides some information on each of the album's ten tracks.

1. Rog Rogosho


Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music and lyrics: Abdul Kader Negeye

This is an all-time favourite Somali love song, full of drama. “You are always changing, cheating and lying. Stop that and change for good.

2. Cidlaan Dareemaya

(I Feel Alone)

Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music: Traditional, adapted by Abdi Aden Kays
Lyrics: Abdi Aden Kays, Maryam Mursal

A traditional and important song for Maryam Mursal, about loneliness. An exiled single mother, she adapts the old words to speak about the present loneliness. The song comes from Berbera in North Somalia and is over fifty years old, from the days when the North was a British colony.


3. Heei Yaa Alahobalin Hobalowa

Lead vocals: Abdi Nuur Alale
Music and lyrics: Traditional

Hobalowa, Hobaleia!’ is an ancient exclamation, often heard when people are working. The Somalis dance hard, so it is also a call to dance.

4. Hafun


Lead vocals: Kadra Daher
Music and lyrics: Traditional

A typical love song. When a Somali describes his love for a woman, he compares her to the beauty of the land and the fertile ground. She is like the flowers and fruit; when the fruit grows and ripens, the pleasure is like seeing his beloved. She is beautiful and soft; she is perfect for making love.


5. Shubahada

Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music: Ahmed Ali Egal
Lyrics: Yusuf Musa Matan

Shubahada!’ is shouted when having fun. This style of music is for dancing and is known to Somalis as ‘Jazz’; it is played at nightclubs and theatres in the big cities. Maryam was married to the composer, Ahmed Ali Egal, and it was one of her first hits.

6. Ada Bere Chaelka

(You Plant the Love)

Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music: Abdi Karim Farah
Lyrics: Yusuf Aden

You planted the love, but it is you who destroys it. You tell me not to lie, but now you lie to me. Why are you sick? You will not get well until you give up your secrets.

7. Indo Ashak

(Love Eyes)

Lead Vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music and lyrics: Mohamed Aden

He looks at me with eyes full of love, but I look down. My whole body is concentrated in my heart, where he resides. If we lose each other it will be a tragedy. We may die before we get married, so it is best to get married now.

8. Nin Hun Heloha Modina

(A Bad Man Does Not Make A Good Husband)

Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music and lyrics: Mahamoud Tukale

There is something wonderful about the change of seasons, but not so with the change of men. If your husband is away for several nights, do not think that he will return full of love. Don’t trust him; he is such a bad husband.

9. Ulimada

(The Professors)

Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music: Abdi Karim Farah
Lyrics: Mahamoud Tukale

A love song that also functioned as a resistance song against the dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre.

10. Kafiyo Kaladeri


Lead vocals: Maryam Mursal
Music: Abdi Karim Farah
Lyrics: Mohamed Ali Kariye

My love for him will no longer stay secretly in my heart. Although I try to stop it, the feeling moves to my lips. I have to tell him.

Maryam Mursal re-recorded several songs from New Dawn on her 1998 solo album The Journey, described by MOJO as an album of “deep, dirty funk from Somalia’.

Featured Release

  • New Dawn


    Released 20 July 1997

    A circle of singers sit on decorated pillows, drinking sweet tea. The atmosphere is intense but relaxed as they slowly warm up, singing their way through old songs of love and death, of the beautiful lover with the long neck, of desire and of the sensible advice of the wise old men.

By Søren Kjær Jensen

Published on Sun, 18 November 18

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