2014-10-20
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Somalia: Singing in Mogadishu

The Africa Report
Thursday, July 11, 2013

On a rainbow-hued stage in Mogadishu, Foos Ali sings out to an audience of no more than two dozen people.

Anxious, her shy smile gives way to a plaintive voice that enraptures the three judges sitting a few metres away from her.

"I was determined to make it to the second round. i had to do it," Foos says afterwards.

Foos, a secondary school student, is one of more than 700 participants in Somalia's first music talent show.

Dubbed Hirgali Hamigaaga Faneed, or 'Awaken Your inner Artist', the competition began in February 2013.

Parts of the Somali National Theatre were renovated for the second round after last April's bombing.

It is hoped that London-based universal TV will show it.

Contestants from across Somalia's regions sing, recite poetry or perform comedy skits.

"This show is a game changer. It is a step into the future," enthuses Ahmednur Abdulle, project coordinator at the Centre for research and dialogue (Crd), which is managing the show.

Besides identifying new talent, the Crd expects the show to emphasise Somali culture and to spread messages of peace and reconciliation.

"This is a platform to show the world that Mogadishu is changing.

It is time the youth took the challenge to preserve our culture and music for future generations," the city's mayor Mohamed Ahmed Nur asserted during the contest's launch. ●



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