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Mareegta Far-Shaxan
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      Ubax Baan sidaa Most of Somaliland love songs appear contentious, almost the vain cry of unrequited love.
      In spite of their beautiful lyrics, they may sound monotonous.  Not this one!  I have searched this song for
       nearly twenty years for two reasons: it marks a crucial time in the history of Somaliland, and it
       departs from the antagonistic love abounding Somaliland songs. It is called “Dhambaal,” a message to
       a loving partner.  Some of the sounds and images may have never been expressed in public before and
       may have sprung over the boundaries of morality. However, that might be its very lure.  The song is
       simply a message addressing all that bind lovers.  Its amorous thrums reveal a healthy relationship
       between lovers. That profuse “ deaf woman” paradigm of male courting is humanized with sensual
       seductive, soothing strokes. The composer (Perhaps a woman) reaches out to a distant partner through
       Magool’s most melodious voice.  While this song might not have been to a man or even to someone in
       the gulf, its timing and message fit into a period of mass migration to the Middle East. After a
       severe draught pounded some of our regions, a mass exodus of our able men to the Arabian Peninsula
       occurred which was a double edge sword for our society in Somaliland. This song reverberates on the
       aftermath of a long brewing famine in the then northeastern regions of the Somali Democratic Republic
       that was hushed by the uncompassionate Southern government characteristic of governments that had
       ruled our land. Thousands of people and livestock perished within few months during which time, three
       high-level fact-finding government missions were visiting the area.  Two missions from the south
       denied there was any disaster.  The third delegate, who was from that region, called it a disaster of
       immense magnitude. He announced his plea over the BBC Somali Service asking the United Nations and
       the international world for immediate intervention.  For the next few years, UNICEF and other UN
       agencies airlifted thousands of people and livestock from north to the southern river bands.  Famine
       survivors met with new local disaster: diseases unknown to the semi arid dwellers of Somaliland
       killed half of the famine survivors.  In that harvesting transition, Schistosomiasis and Bilharzia
       claimed many more lives.  In order for our displaced people to return home, Somaliland men and youth
       labored under the severe conditions in the gulf. Arabian money had saved millions of families whose
       sustenance came from the gulf but that departure was also the first time our women and children were
       left unprotected from Siad Barre’s mercenaries. He seized the chance to install his systematic
       genocide.  Therefore, while this song marks one aspect of Siad Barre’s apartheid rule, it also
       departs from the regular Petrarchan love for “Laura”. The composer is no Laura.  S/he could be a real
       person who reveals his/her feelings unrestrained and conveys not only her/his love, but fear as well.
       This song, sung by Magool, one of Somalia’s diva has not come about as just another song.  It is the
       outpouring passion of an ordinary partner to another. The song though erotic plays on neutral
       language that obscures the gender of speaker and listener. Great literature, we suppose, has
       universal appeal and must mimic reality.  This song enmeshes self and other through imagination.
       What is that resounding echo? Do we hear the voice of a man or a woman? Or both? If great literature
       transcends the mundane, The songwriter, like John Keats, eliminates the distance between them in a
       blur. If indeed, the composer is a woman, Her ingenious mind shrouds her candor in the neutrality of
       language thus mitigates any outrage from the audience. Poetic ambiguity is one of highest literary
       forms and must have been a clever and careful manipulation in a gender specific language like Somali.
       Dhambaal’s linguistic intrigue does not end here.  The glottal consonant “H” combined with open and
       closed vowels creates all kinds of emotions in the poem. It invite and responds, coos and cuddles.
       Words like hee/yea, haa/yes reinforce its positive image in a conversational tone. S/he teases the
       other in an innocent but provocative way.  Her/his unrestrained hum, seriousness, anxiety, and
       sensuality all wrapped in the simple message “ I miss you” arouses the sympathy of the listener.
       Love is as important as money, health, and the demand for fidelity.  It is a heartfelt animated plea
       for news of a lover. If the songwriter is a woman, physical distance now heightens her anxiety of
       polygamy that hangs over every Somali relationship even if travel never separates them. In this
       separation, the other is likely not just to flirt but to nest elsewhere.  While this song surprises
       me in its candid sensuality, its vivid images that have until its appearance were private, it entices
       me too for its openness in a culture that keeps such sensuality under wraps.  It teases without
       offending.  Rather, the listener sympathizes with a smile.  If nothing else, “Dhambaal” personalizes
       the long impersonal and contentious male/female wooing.  At last, Venus, in her power of persuasion,
       seems to have tamed Mars and earns her title wo/man with honors.
       Hohay dunidaneey kala haatiyay.			            Oh! A world that flings apart!
       Naftu waxay u hibatoo ay haaban 			            So much reminisce a mortal.
       weydoo ku hanqaara badanaa.			                    So deeply, afflict yet unreachable.
       Laba aan is hurin oo				                    Two inseparable souls
       haddana aan is haynoo				            that cannot concur.
       Intuu caashaq wada helay 				            Desire smitten couple
       Hayaan kala fogaadoo 				            traverse thusly apart.
       Kala heeray waayuhu				                    Rent asunder by circumstance.
       mid waliba halkiisu				                    Each forlorn -------
       la jiifaa haraadkee				                    languish athirst--------
       Halkaad ku nigadahay				                    In your realm
       Maxaad caawa haysaa?				                    How do you fare tonight?
       Hawada caafimaadkaaga				            The breeze of your zest
       Iyo heerka noloshaada?				            Your zeal, soundness and
       Hayntaada jeebkiyo sidee				            The bounty in your pocket?
       Hawshu kugu tahayee?				                    Are you overwrought?
       Hibashad xusuusta Hurdo 				            In longing and retrospection
       kaama seexdee, wadnaha i				            Sleepless I spur.  My heart
       habayee, kaaguna ma heema?			                    Spews, does yours spurt?
       Haasawaheenii ma u soo helowdaa?		                    Do you covet our interchange?
       Habeenkii kulkay tahay ma la ikaa horkeena? 	                    At night, does my apparition arise?
       Haaaaaa hareertaada gogosha, hiiiiiii ma ku	 	            Haaa in bed beside you, do you
       Haabataa gacan? Huuuuu  sida geel haleela		            Reach with your arm? Eeeeh! Like an
       Hiii hoose miyaad ka reentaa?			            Impassioned camel, do you groan -- gravely?
       Hamuumta iyo xiisaha ma is hasanweydaa?		            Does want overwhelm you?
       Sia hobol caan baxay kalidaa ma heestaa?		            Like famous soloist, do you croon alone?
       Habalyada salaantiyo ma heshaa waraaqaha?		            Do you receive greetings ‘N letters?
       ………….							….
       Hudhud ama ku lumiyoo heedhe la isku keen diray. 	            What ‘f you be adrift, avouch gossipmongers
       Amad halacsataayoo ku hawiratay meel kale.	                    What ‘f you flirt ‘N nestle with another
       Caashaqii horeeyiyoo keenii halmaantaa.		            Discard,  and disregard ‘R love,
       Haatufkiyo dabaylaha war la hubo 			            Do send me your pledge
       U soo dhiib, kaygana mar iga hoo.			            By phone or wind and hear mine
       Hoobee laba shub weeyaanee.  Hobee hobee		            The profusion of my emotions
       Heedhe ma I maqlaysaayee? Hayey hayey!		            Do you hear me?  O! Yea! O! Yea!
       Hindisuhu siduu qabo  				            As future plans may have
       Hadmaad  Iman (ahhhh) bal ii sheeg.		                    Do tell me when are you are coming.
       Hor Alle waan ku sugayaa.			                    By God, I anticipate in earnest.
       Rhoda A. Rageh

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