Phil Moore of Al Jazeera is reporting that Somalia held its first formal musical performances in more than 25 years last week. The festival, held in the capital city of Mogadishu, was organized in last-minute secrecy and featured 18 international artists from seven different countries. The al-Shabaab reign outlawed music in 2009, and the effects still linger even after their removal by the African Union in 2011. Last week’s festival featured a performance by a Somali hip-hop group formed by Shiine Ali, who was long a target for his messages against al-Shabaab.
International acts from the US to Sudan supported Waayaha Cusub, a Somali hip-hop collective who formed while in exile in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. They had never before played a concert in Mogadishu. Shiine Ali, who founded the group, has spoken out strongly against al-Shabaab, which made him a target in 2007 when gunmen shot him five times and left him for dead.
Since then, his lyrics have continued to encourage Somalis to turn their back on al-Shabaab. He believes these concerts represent a major milestone in Mogadishu’s return to normality.
Read more at Al Jazeera.
This news brief was written by Kaitlin Higgins, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire.