Musical Expressions of Somali Identity in the North American Diaspora Open Access

Jordan, Erica Frances (2013)

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This thesis examines cultural hybridity through the lens of musical identity. Using the music of the Somali diaspora as a case study, it specifically focuses on how immigration and the formation of a North American Somali diaspora have changed traditional Somali musical structures, and how the Somalis view and understand these changes. The development of contemporary music in the diaspora is compared to the development of professional popular music in Somalia (called heello-hees) beginning in the 1940s. Using musical analysis of songs from both periods, retentions and changes can be seen in instrumentation, rhythm, poetry composition, song structure, timbre, and melody. Placed within the Somali political and cultural context, analysis of these songs demonstrates that, despite strong generational tensions within the diaspora, heello-hees and contemporary music developed with similar goals and in similar contexts. Both emerged as a product of young generations in new environments. Just as the creators of heello-hees were defining their Somaliness in an emerging independent nation, the musicians of the diaspora are defining their Somaliness within their new Somali-American community, using music as an expression of this identity.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Chapter I: Introduction...1
Chapter II: A Modern History of Somalia: Colonization, Civil War, and the Development of the Diaspora...9
Chapter III: Songs of Wisdom: Popular Musical Traditions in Somalia...19
Chapter IV: New Ways of Expressing Somali Identity through Music in the Diaspora...44
Chapter V: Conclusion: Musical Expressions of Blended Identities in the Diaspora...70
Appendix A: Glossary of Somali Terms...83
Appendix B: IRB Approval...84
List of Figures
Figure 1.1: Photograph of Karmel Mall, Minneapolis MN...3
Figure 1.2: Photograph of Shops at Karmel Mall, Minneapolis MN...3
Figure 3.1: Map of Qarshe's Early Life...28
Figure 3.2: Formal Structure of "Lumumba"...40
Figure 4.1: Photograph of Sahan Studio, Karmel Mall, Minneapolis, MN...52
Figure 4.2: Photograph of Somali Total Music, Karmel Mall, Minneapolis, MN...52
Figure 4.3: Formal Structure of "Hoobaale"...57
Figure 4.4: Formal Structure of "Masaafo"...64
List of Musical Examples
Example 3.1: Lyrics of "Lumumba" in Somali with English Translation...38
Example 3.2: Basic Rhythmic Pattern of "Lumumba"...41
Example 3.3: Variation on "Lumumba" Rhythmic Pattern in Oud Accompaniment...41
Example 3.4: Pitch Source of "Lumumba"...42
Example 3.5: Melody of "Lumumba" Refrain...42
Example 4.1: Lyrics of "Hoobaale"...58
Example 4.2: Basic Rhythmic Pattern of "Hoobaale"...60
Example 4.3: Melody of "Hoobaale" Refrain...60
Example 4.4: Pitch Source of "Hoobaale"...61
Example 4.5: Lyrics of "Masaafo" in Somali with English Translation...65
Example 4.6: Basic Rhythmic Pattern of "Masaafo"...66
Example 4.7: Variation on "Masaafo" Rhythmic Pattern in Accompaniment...66
Example 4.8: Pitch Source of "Masaafo"...67
Example 4.9: Melody of "Masaafo"...68

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