This article is a tribute to one of the greatest Somali
singer /songwriter /composer /arranger /0ud player/actor,
Cumer Dhuule, who passed away, at the beginning of the new
millennium. He literally committed to memory hundreds, if not
thousands of Somali "Qaraami" songs or oldies.
This took great dedication, stamina and a continuous and rigid lonely schedule in order to memorize the lyrics of these important
Cumer Dhuule endowed with a powerful memory that allowed him to
store what no other person of his calibre could.
These lyrics were not confined only to the Qaraami or old songs, but also
included hundreds of songs from classical to contemporary
Somaliland songs. No wonder both the older and younger generations loved him.
Some people consider the untimely death
of this son of Somaliland a tragedy, which perhaps equals in
magnitude, the burning down of a major library. In the
following pages, we attempt to give our readers a brief sketch
of the artist and his music.
Cumer Dhuule began his musical career in 1955 during the
colonial days when Somaliland was still under British
Colonialism. His first appearance on stage was the once in a
lifetime chance that actors dream about.
He performed as the leading "actress" in a play, written and directed by the late
genius, Mohamed Ismail, "Barkhad Cas", who was also a
nationalist freedom activist and poet. Since women were not
allowed to perform in public at that time, Ornar played the
role of a leading actress.
He gave an exceptional performance
that is remembered by fellow actors to this day. The great
singer and musician, Ahmed Ali, "Drum," who played the leading
actor, characterizes Omer's acting as something no other actor
can ever emulate.
This extra ordinary and exceptional talent
both as an actor and a singer, won him praise and respect
through the years by fellow actors, musicians, directors,
poets, singers and the public alike.
It was in 1962, according to a Somaliland poet, Ahmed Suleman
Bide, Omer Dhuule, while visiting Burao, the second biggest
city in Somaliland, first met the great "Oud" player, Mohamoud
Sh Ismail "Xudaydi." It was at this time that the great master
showed few notes to Omer Dhuule.
Omer began to practice day
and night, until he became a master teacher of his own and a
great instrumentalist," said Ahmed Suleman Bide.
By the late 1960'S, Omer created his own style of playing the
"Oud." He also became a superstar. The (BBC) British
Broadcasting Company's Somali service used to play his songs on
the airwaves continuously. His recordings, therefore, exceed
several well-known singers combined.
The Somali speaking communities around the world considered Omer one of the most
admirable singer/musician/actor and poet of all time. 0mer also
had become through the years, one of Somaliland's musical
patriarchs. Though his music is dark hued at first since he
always sang about the rift between him and his wife, or lost
love, i.e., "Ha Laanoo Garnaqo" or We Need Counseling.
Butthe music gradually brightens and is full of interesting
musical and singing' imagery of love and romance. His sweet
voice is compared to Teddy Pendergrass or Marvin Gaye.
The most interesting aspect of Cumer Dhuule's music and "Oud" playing
is the degree to which it draws on Xudaydi's style of "Oud"
playing. A close illustration of this aspect is a recording he
did with his daughters in the early 1980'S.
This tape is by far the best and finest piece performed by him. It has a gentle
texture, like Xudaydi's, that gives the music and singing a
sense of mystery. In the tape, Omer Dhuule's excellent
performance sweeps the listener into the music, since the sound
is so cohesive.
There is also a spectacular "Oud" playing that
reminds one of "Xudaydi," Omer's mentor and the sexy sensual
voices of his daughters had a graceful, alluring flow and
appealing sense of intimacy.
It is a tragedy that Cumer Dhuule has to die outside of his
homeland without a hero's welcome. Somaliland will not only
miss a man who was ahead of his time and a hero; but Somaliland
also misses someone who is equal of importance to the
Somalilanders as the library of Congress in the United States
is to the Americans.
Somali truly misses one of its favorite sons! May he rest in peace. END
Ps: if you got more to say or got any photo/song of cumar dhuule contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Abdirahman Ahamed Shunuuf,
Mohamed Ahmed Shunuuf,
Mohamoud Ahmed Shunuuf,