The Berlin Session


There’s something incredibly touching about this album, a feeling heightened by the melancholy typical of Somali melodies. Thirty years after the sun set on Somalia’s Golden Era, its brightest stars are living scattered across the world, in East African refugee camps or European cities where no one knows about their past. The majority no longer play, and for some even making a living is a struggle. But in 2023 Nicolas Sheikholeslami, the person behind Au Revoir, Mogadishu Vol. 1, one of the first compilations to ignite a global love of Somali music, reached out to several Golden Era musicians and orchestrated a reunion. The music is as glorious as ever, built around Dhaanto rhythms, infectious organ riffs, and soaring vocals. The legendary Xabiib Sharabi, a well loved artist who sang with many of Somalia’s biggest bands, also appears on two tracks, his time-worn voice a poignant reminder of the difficulties of life in exile.

Megan Iacobini de Fazio