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Somalia's Dur-Dur Band reveals “Heeyaa”

World Music Central
Thursday February 16, 2023


Heeyaa” featuring Cabdinuur Alaale is the latest single from Dur-Dur Band on their album, “The Berlin Session,” set to release on Outhere Records on March 3, 2023. This album marks the first full ensemble recording from Somalia since the golden era of Mogadishu came to a halt thirty years prior.

“The Berlin Session” captures a historic reunion in the heart of Germany’s capital, bringing together Dur-Dur Band Int. with legendary singers 
Xabiib SharaabiCabdinuur Alaale, and London-based Fadumina Hilowle. This reunion is proof that Somali music is thriving and full of life once again, with the timeless sound that was previously heard on reissues such as the Grammy-nominated compilation “Sweet As Broken Dates”.

Cabdinuur Alaale, also known as Abdinoor Allale, is the lead vocalist on three tracks on the album, including the hit single “Heeyaa”. With a career spanning over fifty years, he is a true giant of Somali music and the founder of Djibouti’s first private group, Sharaf Band. He made his first appearance at Mogadishu’s National Theater in 1972.

“Heeyaa” is a traditional love song for nomads, based on a popular melody that has been used by many singers over the years. The song is a chanting folk song with a strong emphasis on the off-beat, reminiscent of Reggae for non-Somali listeners. However, the musicians insist that it is Dhaanto, their rhythm, that has been imitated. Dhaanto is a rhythm originating from the Ogaden region, now in Ethiopia, and dates back to the “clap & chant” era.

With its infectious beat and soulful vocals, “Heeyaa” showcases the rich musical heritage of Somalia and the enduring legacy of Cabdinuur Alaale.



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