Somali Culture and Music
Culture 
 
Somali Learnings:
 
Religion and culture are 2 different things. The Muslim religion crosses many
cultures. The Somali culture is one of them. There is music in the Somali culture,
but there is a lot of disagreement over the use of words. They sing and dance at
weddings, work songs and lullabies, but they don’t think of those as music.
Men choose most beautiful women and the others didn’t get picked. Covering up to
take focus away from beauty contests, equalize the field. Men can have up to 4
wives.
 
Camels produce milk for 12 months after having a baby. Their milk has no fat and
has lots of antibioties. Can go 40 days with no water. Used to carry supplies, not
ridden. Smart, and bond with owners like dogs, can be taught tricks. Camels can
live on just about any type of vegetation.
Sheep there have short hair. Not shorn.
 
Goat milk is used to make butter, very tasty.
 
Donkeys are used for hauling.
 
Wooden containers are used to hold milk.
 
Plastic jugs are used to hold water.
 
There are all kinds of troughs – wooden, cement, steel
 
Wells & lakes are source of water. Water for humans is first cooked.
 
People are nomadic or city. Nomadic people trade their goods in the city for clothes
and plastic jugs. Milk is one of the goods that they trade.
 
Nomadic homes are made of branches, sticks, brush, clothes, paper from shopping
bags cover like an umbrella, rugs made from old clothes and sticks. Pretty sturdy in
rain, unless torrential.
 
Video Highlights:
Camels
Goats
Sheep
Milking
Well
Lake
City
Market
Streets and cars
Lullaby
Butter making
Wedding
Halo dance
 
Comparisons:
We raise cows/sheep/goats/pigs/horses like they do camels/donkeys/goats/sheep
We have cars/electricity/oceans so do they
We have deserts, so do they
We had a civil war and they are recovering from one
Men in many cultures wear “skirts” – Irish/Scottish kilts, Catholic Robes, Somali ____
We are alike in many ways
 
 
Music
 
Tooting the Horn of Africa:
A “Cornucopia” of Music from Somalia
 
A Smithsonian Folkways Lesson
Designed by: Ethan Chessin
University of Washington
 
 
Students will become familiar with the music of Somalia and some of its trends and
applications. Videos and recordings establish the importance of the oud, drums, and
song. These songs will provide repertoire for the students to sing and play as they gain
fluency in recognizing, performing, and transcribing the pentatonic scale. Finally,
readings and discussions on the history and use of music in Somalia serve as a gateway
to students’ creation of their own songs and improvisations.
 
Suggested Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Country: Somalia
Region: Africa
Culture Group: Somali
Genre: World
Instruments: Guitar, Voice
Language: Somali
Co-Curricular Areas: Social Studies, Dance
National Standards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9
 
Prerequisites: For Segments 2 and 3, a basic understanding of solfege and Western
notation
 
Objectives:
Describe features of Somali music
Transcribe a personal Somali song
Sing and play traditional Somali songs
Improvise melodies and rhythms
 
Materials:
“Hasan Gure performs a Somali freedom song” (video) at:
http://www.folkways.si.edu/sgs_live.aspx#Africa
 
“Kasikazi Vuma, Oh, Wind of the Southwest Mountain” from “Baijun Ballads:
Somali Songs in Swahili” (SFW08504)
http://www.folkways.si.edu/trackdetail.aspx?itemid=20297
 
Lesson Segments:
 
1. Songs & Instruments of Somalia (National Standards 1, 2, 6, 9)
2. Composing and Improvising Somali Song and Dance Forms (National Standards 3, 4, 8)
 
1. Songs & Instruments of Somali
 
Objectives:
While watching and listening to examples, students will be able to describe the major instruments and components of Somali music
Students will be able to play and sing along with “Kasikazi Vuma”
Students will make connections from the song lyrics to modern Somali culture and current events
 
Materials:
 
“Hasan Gure performs a Somali freedom song” (video) at:
http://www.folkways.si.edu/sgs_live.aspx#Africa
 
“Kasikazi Vuma, Oh, Wind of the Southwest Mountain” from
“Baijun Ballads: Somali Songs in Swahili” (SFW08504)
http://www.folkways.si.edu/trackdetail.aspx?itemid=20297
 
Liner notes from “Baijun Ballads”
Classroom percussion instruments and other resonant objects
 
Procedure:
 
a. Watch video of Hasan Gure. Use the following as directing questions:
 
i. What is the name of the instrument?
ii. What is this song about?
iii. How many strings does the oud have?
iv. How is the music being played different from the melody
v. Does the melody ever repeat? Or is the music always
b. Listen to “Kasikazi Vuma (Oh, Wind of the Southwest Mountain)”
i. Have students tap the strong beats.
ii. Have students pat the percussion parts in their laps
iii. Using classroom percussion and improvised instruments
being sung?
new?
play percussion parts. Talk about the Somali practice of using various items as drums.
iv. Look at the lyrics and talk about them. Use the following
 
questions to guide the discussion:
1. What can we learn about this culture from the Song?
2. Why are Somalis reliant on the sea?
3. What are the people in this song doing?
4. What connections can we make to the current 
problem of Somalian piracy?
v. Sing along with the chorus.
 
Assessment: Students will be able to sing “Kasikazi Vuma” while playing appropriate
percussion parts without assistance by the teacher (or while teacher plays the simple
melody on a single-line instrument).
 
2. Composing and Improvising Somali Song and Dance Forms
 
Prerequisite: Basic understanding of solfege and Western music notation
 
Objectives:
Students will improvise a melody over a rhythmic pattern and harmonic drone
Students will compose a rhythmic pattern and pentatonic melody for a selected poem
Students will connect musical skills to movement skills by dancing to improvised melodies
 
Materials:
 
Soprano recorders or classroom instruments
Culture and Customs of Somalia by M. Diriye Abdullahi
Poetry books
Blank staff paper
 
Procedure:
a. Improvisation
i. Read chapter on Music and Dance from Culture and
ii. On recorders or classroom instruments, have the students
iii. Have students sing the minor pentatonic scale on solfege
iv. Have students stand in a circle and keep the beat by
v. Invite several students to maintain a drone on A and E on
 
Customs of Somalia by M. Diriye Abdullahi; have students
describe how a Somali folk dance might seem, play the minor pentatonic scale, stepping left to right and clapping a simple pattern,Invite several students to maintain a drone on A and E on recorders or other instruments
 
vi. Imitate a Somali folk dance
1. During this rhythmic pattern and harmonic drone, choose one student to act as the lead singer; have that student sing a simple compliment to the next student in line, improvising a melody from the potential tones in the minor pentatonic scale.
 
2. The next student moves into the center and dances for eight counts while the rest of the students keep time
 
3. This student then becomes the lead singer, and the process continues until each student has had a turn
 
b. Composition
i. Read chapter on Music and Dance from Culture and customs of Somalia by M. Diriye Abdullahi. Discuss the relationship of Somali poetry and traditional music
ii. Have each student find a poem he or she likes
iii. Read the poem out loud and try to find the underlying
 
rhythm
iv. Play this rhythm on a drum
v. Transcribe the rhythm
vi. Using the pentatonic scale, write a melody that fits the poem
vii. Have each student perform their own poem while another student plays the drum part
 
Assessment:
Students will be able to improvise melodies that correctly use the minor pentatonic scale while keeping a steady rhythm. Students will compose a melody to fit a poem of their choice and perform it for their classmates.

 

 

This is a favorite song of some of Ms. Jallo's stundents!

IN SOMALI.

Arday baan ahayoo
ubaxii wadankaan ahayoo
waxaan u ordayaa ordayaa skuulada uadda
inaan aqoon kororsadoo dalkeyga wax uu qabto
waxaan u ordayaa ordayaa skuulada uadda
inaan abo iyo hooyo abaalkooda gudoo
dadaale allahayow iigaar gaar
aamiin amiin.

allahayow iigaar gaar
aamiin amiin   

 


Arday baan ahayoo
ubaxii wadankaan ahayoo

ubaxii wadankaan ahayoo
waxaan u ordayaa ordayaa skuulada uadda
inaan aqoon kororsadoo dalkeyga anfacee wax uu qabto
waxaan u ordayaa ordayaa skuulada uadda
inaan abo iyo hooyo abaalkooda gudoo
(100)dadaale allahayow iigaar gaar
aamiin amiin.

allahayow iigaar gaar
aamiin amiin.


 

IN ENGLISH.
I am student
I am the flower of the country
why am I running to school*2
going to school
so I can gain knowledge to help my country
why am I running and running to school
so I can help my mom and dad
I did my best so god helps me.
Amen amen.


 

THIS IS HOW I SOUND IT OUT
Ardy baa nahae yoo
ubehi wadankaa nahaye yoo
wahan uu ordeeya ordeeya skulatha uu atha
inan akon koror satho dhal kayga waah uu qabto
wahan uu ordeeya ordeeya skullatha uu atha
inan a boo iyo hoyo abal kotha guutho
dhathalee alahayoo ee gargar
amiin amiin.*2