Somali Blind Musician: Legendary talent continues to nurture next generation of artists
Onto Somalia now and the story of a legendary Somali musician who despite losing his sight continues to nurture the next generation of local artists. Our reporter caught up with Farah Sidow Farah in Mogadishu.
Farah Sidow Farah is reminiscing his good old days when he performed some of his classic hits in the presence of a live audience.
The 70-year-old's life took a turn for the worst a decade ago after losing his sight following years of ill health - but that hasn't distracted him from playing musical instrument, singing and training a new generation of artists.
FARAH SIDOW FARAH MUSICIAN "My musical career began back in the days when Aden Abdulle was president of Somalia. My nephew worked as a journalist at the state run radio Mogadishu, he used to take me there and that's where I recorded my first song - that opened the path to my long musical career."
His first song is titled Maseer - Somali for jealousy - a popular hit in the country back in the days. Farah says even though it doesn't reflect on his personal life, distrust among married couples is a factor that affects many societies in the world - and must be addressed in order to move forward.
FARAH SIDOW FARAH MUSICIAN "This was my own production and it's not based on a real life story. Jealousy is an issue that affects most marriages in any society. I produced this song in 1969 and recorded it in 1971."
ABDULAZIZ BILLOW MOGADISHU, SOMALIA "Years after making a name for himself in the local music industry, Farah found himself touring the world alongside other Somali artists."
The world tour would see him travel as far as Russia, Italy and Germany. He also staged numerous musical performances in major capitals in the African continent including Egypt and Nigeria.
But a brutal civil war in the early 90s saw the destruction of the country's music industry. This national theater constructed by Chinese engineers was badly destroyed, forcing many artists to flee the country. Farah and several others remained behind to ensure that the next generation of artists understands the value of culture, music and arts.
FARAH SIDOW FARAH MUSICIAN "More investment is needed to nurture the Somali music industry - arts, music and culture is part of the identity of any given society. Authorities must protect and encourage the growth of music because it can be used to pass important message and used in awareness campaigns."
In Mogadishu and many other cities, young music artists have emerged and embraced traditional ways of playing music - entertainment spots like this one are filled to capacity every weekend as the old and young generation meet to remind themselves of the good old days with classic hits from the past. ABDULAZIZ BILLOW, CGTN, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA.