New Dawn

Waaberi

Released 21 July 1997

  1. Rog Rogosho (Changing)
  2. Cidlaan Dareemaya (I Feel Alone)
  3. Heei Yaa Alahobalin Hobalowa
  4. Hafun (Soft)
  5. Shubahada
  6. Ada Bere Chaelka (You Plant The Love)
  7. Indo Ashak (Love Eyes)
  8. Nin Hun Heloha Modina (Don't Believe That A Bad Man Is A Good Husband)
  9. Ulimada (The Professors)
  10. Kafiyo Kaladeri (Opposites)

Liner notes

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.

This is the good life. Lots of talk and music among friends, witty and sharp comments back and forth between performers and audience – this is no passive crowd. People sing and play along gently, always respecting the direction and authority of the master singers. When the song culminates, or when the singer ad-libs a double entendre lyric variation, they explode in laughter and shouting. There is no amplification. To hear the singer, musicians keep the volume down while maintaining the high energy. Traditionally, the nomads could not afford to carry instruments on the camels, so they learnt to beat on the nearest thing that sounded good; today, teacups and bottles are perfect percussion instruments – clear, but not loud. The musicians follow every little sign and wink as they support the lead singer, interpreting the sorrow and joy of the people.

On this album, Waaberi is joined by Egyptian master percussionist Hossam Ramzy. They had a lot of fun together, proving that Somali and Middle Eastern music is still closely related. These performers are the elite of the National Theatre – once a great troupe of musicians, dancers and actors before civil war destroyed everything.

Waaberi is the Somali world for morning. After years of exile, some of the artists have finally found each other again. I think they will manage to create a new dawn for Somali music.

Photo credit: Thomas Søndergaard

Reviews

  • This is a gloriously accessible upbeat collection of nomadic dance songs that sound like an arabic-tinged form of raw R'n'B The Guardian (UK)
  • Mursal and her ensemble draw on a potent mix of African and Arabic influences to create music that is at once pensive and propulsive, full of subtle rhythm and reverence. Philadelphia Enquirer (USA)
  • A joyous collection of traditional Somali rhythms... powerful love songs and infectuous dance tunes that is also influenced by the singer's love of Western jazz. Mursal's is a remarkable story of human endurance. Billboard (USA)
  • Mursal, blessed with a low contralto voice of sinuous grace and depth, achieves tension, tenderness and danger ... Her singing is very accessible to Western ears... Folk Roots (UK)

Listen

Further Listening

  • The Journey

    Maryam Mursal

    Released 16 March 1998

    The radiant Somalian diva Maryam Mursal lifts off with this highly charged album of vibrant pop songs. The album title refers to the journey taken by the singer and her five children when they underwent a seven-month odyssey to escape the trials and tribulations of their native Somalia.
  • Live at Eden: Africa Calling

    Various Artists

    Released 26 June 2006

    On July 2, 2005, ten concerts took place around the world as part of Live 8 in support of the campaign to Make Poverty History. One of these concerts was Africa Calling, organized by Peter Gabriel and WOMAD. The day featured an exclusive line-up of some of Africa's finest artists, performing in the spectacular setting of the Eden Project.

More content

Day by day line-up announced for WOMAD 2018

WOMAD UK have just announced the day splits for their 2018 festival at Charlton Park, 26-29 July.

Geoffrey Oryema, 1953-2018

One of Real World's most loved musicians, Uganda-born Geoffrey Oryema, has died at the age of 65.

Live: Les Amazones d’Afrique at Brighton Festival

Les Amazones d'Afrique deliver a rousing, energetic set in the Dome as part of Brighton Festival.

10 Years of Society of Sound

It’s some legacy: Ten years’ worth of outstanding music. Sounds good, right? Actually, it sounds...