Somali Idol : Music Competition taking Somalia by Storm

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After 25 year of war and conflict, Somalis are embracing revival of music and arts. Somali music competition was launched to give aspiring young artists an opportunity to flaunt their talents. Over 1000 aspiring singers, poets and comedians from across Mogadishu’s 16 districts and from other regions of Somalia have applied to participate in the competition. The competition will be broadcasted live on Somali televisions and radios through successive auditions. The winners of each audition will be chosen by a panel of judges consisting of well-known Somali personalities and artists.

“I am excited about the possibility to show my talent to whole Somalia, said, 18 year aspiring girl Anab Ali Mohamed. As she is waiting outside of the National Theater studio, she said “I can compose, sing and act but until now there was no venue and opportunity to showcase our talents”

Mohamed Ahmed Nur, Mayor of Mogadishu known as “Tarsan” who have has being keen to show about the other side of Mogadishu said” Mogadishu is not only business center but it has the potential to become culture and music center” Mayor added “definitely there is mental shift, we are now well on our way of recovering as we began to think about culture and music rather than killings”

Since the launch of the show thousands of young and old sent video clips, poetries to the selection committee. Director General of National Theater who manages the program said ‘ we knew there were pool of talents but the kind of young artists who have performed so far are overwhelming with emotions, it will certainly be harder for judges to make sound selection”

For many youth, this is their first time to see studio or theatre. 24 years , Yahya Mohamed Diini, who competes poetry reading said “ this is the first time that I have seen stage of theatre with audience .. it was nerve racking experience but is great to share my feelings with wider Somali people”

Judges and audience who attended in the recoding of the auditions was stunt by the quality of artist’s songs and emotions attached to their singing.” we knew that we will see young aspiring artists but we were amazed by the sheer talent of these young people, a 18 year girl who read poetry about the destruction of our country brought tears to everyone eyes in the studio theatre” said Maki Haji Banadir one of the judges.

Over the past 20 years or so over 500 Somali arts were killed, assassinated or died as a natural death. Those who survived from the strife of the civil war are scattered across the world. About 100 prominent artists are now live in western sphere. Unfortunately the average ages of living Somali musicians and singers are about 56 years old. This means most of the Somali artists are already approaching their retirement age with no new young generations to replace them. This type of program is intended to revive Somali arts but also Show Somali people have a culture to pass on to other generation.

For the first time, millions of Somalis will follow program through radio and TVs, the program has already taken the country by storm as number of aspiring applying has increased by 10 fold. Deputy Minister of Information, Abdishakur Mire said “we are country of poets and artists, every aspect of our lives is attached to arts and culture, this kind of show is what can unify Somalis across the world”