New Dawn by Waaberi

Taking their name from the Somalian word for morning, Waaberi has helped usher in a new era of traditional Somalian music. Comprised of former members of Somalia’s National Theater, which flourished before the civil war, the group has continued to explore the musical traditions of its homeland. While Billboard described Waaberi’s music as “an intoxicating mix of African and Arabic influences”, Spirit called their repertoire “raw, hypnotic, and powerful tunes of traditional and modern Somalia – beautiful and cruel, African and Arabic… music that carries the ethereal quality of the oud and the wonderful earthiness of Afro-percussion”. […]

The music of Somalia is a mixture of African and Arabic influences, with instruments that range from household items like tea cups and water bottles to bongo drums and the oud, a lute traditionally associated with the Middle East. On the ten spirited tracks that make up New Dawn, the focus is primarily on singers Maryam Mursal, Abdi Nuur Alale, and Kadra Dahir, whose passionate vocals drive these songs to ecstatic heights. The stellar musicians urge the singers on, with intricately syncopated rhythms and Salah Qasim’s rollicking oud melodies woven tightly together to create dazzling tracks like “Heei Yaa Alahobalin Hobalowa” and “Shubahada”, which seem to urge listeners to get up and dance. A wonderful introduction to the enchanting music of Somalia.» (AMG)

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