Somaliland:Tragedy of a Music Icon and the Shame of a Nation

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By Bashir Goth

 

ADDUUNYADA NIN DHOOFIYO

 

Adduunyada nin dhoofiyo

Ninkii deggan dhulkii hooyo

Nin dhergiyo nin dhawr qaday

Aan dheef hayan

Dheddig iyo laboodbaa

Hawli kama dhammaatee

Qof waliba wixii dhibay

Dhafoorkay ku taallaa

            ***

(Whether you be a migrant

Or you stay back at home

Whether you live in affluence

Or you sleep on empty stomach for days

Whether you are a male or a female

The world never spares anyone of suffering

And everyone’s own misery and hardship

Can be noticed easily on one’s temples…

 

Widely known as the Somali King of Melody, Maxamad Saleeban Tubeec’s unique, modulate and soaring voice spoke prophetically of the fate that would befall the Somali nation and with it Somali culture of which music is its crown jewel.

 

After more than half a century of fame during which Tubeec has entertained, mesmerized, and moved the passions of the Somali people with his magical and inimitable voice in defiance of the ugly tyranny of the Somali people against his rights as a human being and a native citizen, he is now lying in a hospital bed far from home.  He said the doctors in Germany where has been taken for treatment confirmed to him that he needs a surgical operation, an operation that he cannot financially afford. The painful news came through a desperate appeal he made through a Somali TV channel, asking Somali people and the Somali government to assist him in meeting the hospital expenses so he can undergo this life giving surgery.

 

In any world, other than this surrealistic situation of Somalia, Tubeec would have been not only a source of national pride for his contribution to Somalia’s music heritage but also a wealthy man from the copyright and sales of his works. But is it no wonder that within the Somali context where there is no copyright and no respect for intellectual property that artists, no matter how significantly they contribute to the collective national memory of the people, would remain on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

As a person who grew up in the heyday of Somali music and literature in the 1960s and 70s when music rocked people’s passions with its magical melody, its powerful poetry, and its appeal to the ambitions and dreams of the young Somali nation, I could never have envisioned the day when the whole nation would collapse and Somali musical icons would suffer and die of negligence and anonymity in their old age.  

Hearing Tubeec’s pathetic condition, I travelled down memory lane and with the help of like minded people who preserved his music on YouTube, tried to relive the golden age of his music when he breathed the beauty of life into the hearts and souls of people who loved his music but wouldn’t otherwise treat him as an equal human being due to his clan. The days when his melodies symbolized everything beautiful in life and through it we all felt to be immortal.

It was ironic that I encountered his famous lyrics which Somalis have through decades sang and may continue to sing even centuries to come to ring in every New Year. As we stand at the beginning of a New Year, 2014, it is painful and somewhat apocalyptic to hear Tubeec singing the powerful words of Hussein Aw Farah:

KII NOO HAGAAGEE NOQO LOO HANWEYNYAHAY

Waan heesayaayee

Sannad waliba hoodiyo

Hawl iyo dhibaatiyo

Wuxu hadimo leeyahay

Waa laga helaayoo

Hadhaw lagu xusuustaa

Kii noo hagaagee

Noqo loo hanweynyahay…

            ***

(I am going to sing

That every year

Brings with it what  

It has to offer

In affluence and in misery

And it is remembered

In what it gives

O New Year

Be one that brings us

Good tidings

To earn our admiration…

 

One couldn’t miss, however, and might even remember it with a nostalgic feeling how Tubeec spoke to our hearts and made us live life to the full with his song Waqti (Time) in which he admonished Time to stay away from him and let him enjoy his youthful days.

WAQTI

Hawshiyo dhibaatada

Dhallinyaro intaan ahay

Ha ii soo dhaweynine

Waxan ii dhammaynayn

Sharaftayda dhawrooo…

***

(While I enjoy my youthful days

O Time

Spare me  

From your miseries and sufferings

Let me enjoy my youthfulness to the full

Dare you not harm my dignity…)

 

Well indeed, Tubeec had a productive and beautiful youth as one of the most loved singers of his generation and a man crowned by the Somali people as the King of Melody. Tubeec was a born singer in every genre he under took. But there is no doubt that he first captured the heart and minds of the Somali people all over the Somali peninsula with his patriotic songs at the time of independence. It was Tubeec’s lyrics that dominated the airwaves during the celebrations for Independence anniversaries. I can recall how the feeling of the people soared with the hearing of Tubeec’s “Dharaartaan waxyeeladay Dhaqdhaqeen” (The Day I Cleansed Myself of Shame) which had become one of the indelible symbols of Somali independence:

 

DHARAARTAAN WAXYEELADII DHAQDHAQAY                             

Dhaaxaan gunimiyo

Dhibaato mutoo

Dhomaha la iga saaray

Dhinacyada ee

Dharaartaan waxyeeladii

Dhaqdhaqnee

Calanka dhidbay

Sow ma soo dhicin…”

***

The Day I Cleansed Myself of Shame Day

(“Many a time, I had suffered

Ignominy and harshness

And have been loaded

On both sides

Like a beast of burden

O hasn’t the day

Has come

When I cleansed myself of shame

And I hoisted the flag…”)

 

I can only imagine how much the words of this song rang bells in Tubeec’s inner soul for while he was passionately singing about the removal of the yoke of colonialism and oppression, he knew in the deepest parts of his heart that he and his family were still carrying the yoke of centuries old societal heinous discrimination and oppression that his voice couldn’t erase. But he still sang for the promise of the day with a great degree of patriotism and optimism.

Another of his unforgettable independence songs was “Way Ahaataye Maaanta” (Yes, today we have done it”, a song with lyrics talking about the need for collaboration and cohesiveness in decision making between the leaders and the people, a message that has lost its way to the heart of the Somali people.

 

WAY AHAATAYE MAANTA

Hadba kii arrin keena

Ka kale aqbalaayaa

Ilaahii ina siiyey

Isagaa ku abaale

Way ahaataye maanta

Si wanaagsan u iida

***

YES, TODAY WE HAVE DONE IT

He, whoever initiates an idea

And the one who listens and supports it

O Thanks to Almighty

Who bestowed on us such harmony

And unity of purpose

Yes, today we have done it

And we must celebrate it

With peace and gracefulness…”

 

Apart from his patriotic songs, Tubeec’s fame came from his dignified and serene voice, coupled with the pure classical Somali music that represented the era before Somali music was adulterated with foreign styles which is adopted wholesale by modern singers.

Among the most famous of his plethora of love songs was “Dhool Da’ay La Moodyeey” ( O You whose beauty resembles that of a day after rain”

DHOOL DA’AY LA MOODYEEY

Dhool da’ay la moodeeyey

Waan kugu dhadhabayaayey

Dharaartaynu kullanaa

Dhulku ila wareegeey

Dhimasho iyo nolol

Ayaan kala dhex joogaa

***

“O You whose beauty resembles that of a day after rain

Since the day I met you

The earth seems to be spinning around me  

And I stand between death and life…”

 

Yet another one of his memorable love songs is “Nayruus” (Nowruz) which he performs with Magool, known also as the Queen of Melody, thus making them a heaven-made duet, and arguably the best two voices of Somali music of all time.

 

NAYRUUS

 

Weligay kumaan nicin

Naagana kuma ag dhigin

Ka nixina ismaan odhan naruuroy

Ka nixina ismaan odhan nasteexooy…

***

“I never have ceased to love you

I never have compared you with other women

Never have it occurred to me to let you down

O my gracious deliverance

Never have it occurred to me to let you down

 O my precious darling.

 

It was in Lagos in 1977 that Tubeec and Magool mesmerized the African audience with their magical, authentic Somali voices. And one of the highlights of the night was“ “MINANKAYGII HADDAAD TIMI  which I recommend every reader of this piece to watch and enjoy these two artists’ stellar music and regal performance.

The precious archives of Tubeec’s music is priceless and deserve more than a book to cover it, but to throw a couple of more lines into the memory trove, I cannot miss to recall “Hanqaaro” (Urge)

 

NAFTAYDA ADAA HANQAAROO

Naftaydaa adaa hanqaaroo

Hablihii kale waan ka hadhayee

Anigu kaa helay hubaalee

Adigu mayla haysaa…

***

“O you have caused the urge in me

And I let go of all other women

My admiration for you is absolute

I wonder if have yours in return ..”

Definitely the list continues and includes Cimrigiiba Jacayl, AMAANADA ILAAHAY, Malyuun Hibo, and of course the great song of Hooyo (mother).

This is not a eulogy as Tubeec is very much alive and I wish him quick recovery but it is an attempt to remind the Somali people and the Somali government that our cultural icons and music legends like Tubeec and Cabdi Tahliil who is also ill and in need of treatment should never have been allowed to meet this fate.

It is almost a crime that we had the music of Tubeec and Tahliil to enjoy and took pride in the legacy they left for us and then let them suffer and face life alone in their twilight years. Undeniably the tragedy that befell Tubeec and other artists like him reflects the tragedy of a nation whose country, heritage, and collective memory are all in ruins, but the Somali governments, no matter what, are duty bound to give these artists the status and financial pension that they rightly deserve.

Finally, I would like to urge the Somali people and particularly the Somali government to extend their support and welfare to Tubeec and Tahliil who unlike other artists cannot seek clan support and who despite historical injustices always count the Somali people as a whole as their Tol.

It will only be befitting to end this peace with Tubeec’s following heart-wrenching song:

AMAANADA ILAAHAY

Ma ogtahay ayaantii

Ilmadu kaa da’aysee

Indhahaaga qoysaan

Inan yahay xasuustoo

Uurkaan ka ooyoo

Waan kaa ashahaatee

***

“O darling, don’t you know the day

When tears rolled down

And soaked your eyes

O darling, I do remember it well

As I cried my heart out

And felt great empathy for you…”

Email: bsogoth@yahoo.com

Source: https://Hanua.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you very much for visiting Tubeec's life. It was actually hard for me to read the songs, especially " Wey ahaateya manta, what a nationalist, This man is a legend and I feel sorry for him and his family. We should all help him as Somalis and give what we can. It just started in Minneapolis, USA. where people are coming together to help. This world is mean and the little ones always suffer.

  2. Maybe the slippery Mr. Goth should also point out that every single one of these songs was written by Somaliland playwright. not one was penned by a Southerner or Tubeec himself. These songs belonged to Bidde, Huryo, Hassan Sh Mumin, Gujis, Sugulle, Shimbir and others.

    If Tubeec remained a Somalilander instead of pretending to be Wallaweyn from the 60s onwards every Lander would've rushed to help him from Las Anod to Zeila.

    Those who abandon us when their nation needs them(yes Goth and Tubeec et al) should not come back weeping when they are abandoned by the Wallaweyn they joined.

  3. Actually I was never a fan of him. I cant remember a single song by Tubeec that I ever liked. And I found his voice was like licking vomit from honeypot. I preferred Egal, Shimbir, Hibo Nura, the Great Khadra, the haunting, otherworldly tempest of Mandeq, Abdi Tahlil and Zahra Ahmed. I would even prefer the one meaningful song ever sang by Qalanjo to all Tubeec songs.

    "Diriyan oh hey Diriyan..Diriyan dooxada ka yeedh..diriyan oo dirirgle..diriyan weliga ha damin.." Durban dadku waa madow durbaan waa deeq allee durban weligaa ha damin" She sang respelendent in traditional Northern Somali dress, hair a braided like every maiden. One of the most sensous, majestic single piece of Somali beauty in liquid flow from my boyhood memory.

    And look what hapepned to ouer women..

  4. Oh and how did forget the unforgetable; the Kings of Kings; Negusa Negust of Somali Music,; Leader of men; the man who can make angels weep in awe; the inimitable Moge. Not only the voice; the lyrics, the class but also the principle. never sang a single Kacan song. Never allowed his music to be soiled by fads like organs and drums and synthesized music that was all the rage in the 70s.

    And how many of the kids know he was a lecturer at university, a trade unionist and and a socialist although the salafised Somaliland of today is trying to wipe that out of his gloriosu history?

    Oddly some of his lyrics were at odds with socialist principle at times " Whenever you are smoothing the bed..uphold longing memories of mine….or is it feebleness of feminine mind…has love long journeyed ..from your mind"

    Sufficient to give a socialist palpitations. I hope he is up there his trusted Cuud in hand….singing in paradise. Aamin

  5. To: Bashir Goth

    How come you've never mentioned 'Hooyo' By Hadraawi?

    Hooyoy la’aantaa
    Aduunyadu hubaashii
    Habeen kama baxdeenoo
    Iftin lama heleenoo
    Dadku uma hayaameen
    Xiddig hawd ka lulatoo
    Sida haad ma fuuleen
    Dayax heego joogoo
    Hubka laguma tureen
    Hawo laguma gaadheen
    Cirka hirar ka muuqdoo
    Hooyoy addoomuhu
    Halkay maanta joogaan
    Adigow horseedoo
    Intaad hanad xambaartee
    Haaneedka siisee
    Horaaddada jaqsiisee
    Habtay baan xisaab iyo
    Tiro lagu heleynoo.

  6. The one music artist that I believe used the ultimate power of music is Bob Marley. Bob Marley created music for people, fame and money just happen to go along with it. His music is also the remnants of his life experiences; experiences that significantly changed or impacted his life.

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