Somalis Singing for Peace

A group of young Somali refugee musicians living in Kenya called Waayaha Cusub (New Era) are slowly gaining local popularity for their songs of reconciliation and peace.  They started their group in 2004 and have been singing in opposition to all atrocities against Somalis and criticizing the leadership of the country for sacrificing lives in the quest for power.

Most recently, in December 2009, they released a song called “Ha is Dilin” (Don’t Kill Yourself). In the video, one of the female singers is pleading with a young man who is wearing a suicide vest. By the end, the would-be suicide bomber takes off the vest and walks away. The chorus of the song is:

“Don’t blow yourself up brother, don’t commit a blasphemous act and anger the lord, don’t hate your people and make them hate you.”

Their anti-violence message, mixed gender composition (especially since females are unveiled), Western clothing, and political messages have caused them to be targeted with death threats by radical groups.

The group is popular in Nairobi but isn’t yet widely known outside of Kenya. Given the potential impact of their broader distribution, do what you can to spread the word about their songs and message!

© Marc Gopin