Here’s a look at a documentary that I’m told by reps for it, is currently in post-production, with a summer/fall 2014 premiere eyed.
Made by a team of US, Somalia, and Kenya based producers, the film is titled “Live from Mogadishu,” and follows Somali rapper Shiine Akhyaar, singer Falis Abdi, and their hiphop group Waayaha Cusub, as they lead a movement to persuade youth around Somalia to turn away from extremism and violence and help bring an end to ongoing civil war. The film covers their dangerous journey and climaxes as they perform and produce the historic Mogadishu Music Festival in war torn Somalia.
More from the release below…
Since the beginning, the Somali dream has been one of “nabad iyo caano,” peace and milk. From Africa’s longest coastline to its cruelest desert, Somali fishermen, nomads, marketeers, teachers, mothers, brothers, and children have all told their family histories, remembered their heroes, and dreamed of Somalia through poetry, and music. Many consider verse the Somalis’ second language.
But over the past three decades and more, selfish men have taken the country through colonialism, dictatorship, three wars, famine, and terrorism. Extremists including Alqaeda-backed “Alshabab,” The Youth, have banned music, murdered and attacked musicians, and closed radio stations in half of the country because musicians held the hearts of youth they wanted for killers in their war.
Through all this, Somali rapper Shiine Akhyaar and his wife, singer Falis Abdi, have led the Somali hiphop group “Waayaha Cusub,” New Generation, and a growing movement of international artists in a campaign to wield music as an instrument to persuade youth away from extremism, to help end the war.
Their movement has already been so successful in turning youth away from the extremists’ war that Alshabab ordered assassins to infiltrate and try to kill Shiine and members of Waayaha Cusub several times. They have survived shooting, stabbing, beating, near bombings, their allies bombed and killed, partners attacked, and they continue to live as refugees in neighboring Kenya.
Despite these threats, Shiine and Falis led their movement on a world tour from Minneapolis to Washington DC, New York, Nairobi, Eastleigh, the Dadaab refugee camps, and ultimately to run the most concert events in recent history, the Mogadishu Music Festival.
Performing the largest live shows in war torn Mogadishu in over two decades, reaching over 2000 live audience during a war including shows with former Alshabab fighters in a prisoner of war camp and with survivors of domestic violence at a women’s shelter, Waayaha Cusub and allies from Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Canada, and the United States rallied not only for music’s sake.
Through the Mogadishu Music Festival, they aimed to reach Somalia’s toughened and locked out youth who are facing the hardest decisions in their lives, to encourage them not to kill and die in a war for another man’s dream of power, but instead to love each other and work together to rebuild their country.
This film tells the story of Shiine and Falis, of Waayaha Cusub, and our global artist movement’s work to perform with them and support their campaign. More than that, this is the story of Somali music, live from Mogadishu.
Starring Shiine Akhyaar, Falis Abdi, Digriyow Abdi, Lihle Muhidin, and Burhan Ahmed Yare, featured performers include K’naan; Hodan Abdirahman; Dalmar Yare; Alsarah; Ariana Delawari ft. Qais Essar, Neelamjit Dillon, and Robin Ryczek; Kombo Chokwe & Afro Simba Band; Jahm-Eye; DZA the Dissenter; Zavara Mponjika; Uppa Notch ft Danielle Watson; DJ Gogetta; Koikoi; and Toni Blackman.
The film is produced by Humanitarian Bazaar and directed by Daniel J Gerstle.
Watch an early trailer for the upcoming feature documentary below: