Au Revoir, Mogadishu Vol. 1: Songs From Before the War


It’s hard to imagine that only 8 years ago, as of 2023, almost no one outside of Somalia had heard of bands like Dur-Dur and Iftin. Since then a slew of reissues and compilations have put them on the map (if not quite made them household names) but it was this mixtape by released by obscure label ÇAYKH Recordings, founded by Nicolas Sheikholeslami, who has since curated several other Somali projects and also brought together a few Golden Era stars for Dur-Dur Band’s beautifully moving The Berlin Session, that reignited interest in Somali music. The tape kicks off with some expressive kaban playing and a woman’s emotional, echoey vocals on “Naga Tag, Kac Hooyaa” by Libaaxyada Maaweeliska Banaadir; the melancholic atmosphere carries through on the record, especially in the music by Waaberi, a super group of different singers, musicians, and actors established by the Somali Government. Dur-Dur’s cover of Londonbeat’s “I’ve Been Thinking About You” renamed “Ethiopian Girl”, is a wonderful example of just what a mix of local and global Mogadishu’s scene was back then.

Megan Iacobini de Fazio