Somalia: Concert cancelled for “objectionable” shows in Europe

19 September 2016

A concert with singer Nasteexo Indho, along with DJ Subeer and the singers from Stars of the Horn, was cancelled one hour before it was scheduled to begin on 13 August 2016 in Hargeisa as armed soldiers surrounded the DJ and a young TV cameraman, informing them of the cancellation and that Nasteexo would be arrested if she went on stage, according to a video statement by the singer posted on YouTube on 15 August 2016.

In a televised interview posted on YouTube on 14 August 2016, the minister of religion Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi Ahmed said that when the concert was announced he was approached by Somaliland religious leaders who came to him with video clips and photos of the singer’s performances in “Europe and western countries”, which he deemed “objectionable” as he waved around his mobile telephone in front of journalists allegedly showing them the clips and photos of the singer.

They [religious leaders] complained, ‘That one there [Nasteexo]; she is a problem. We would like you, in your ministerial position, to look into the matter with us so that we don’t have to take the law in our hands or speak about it outside or in the Jummah speech or at the mosques.’ … So the ministry has decided to stop the concert since the pictures of that lady [Nasteexo], and the way she sings, is not in accordance with our law, with our religion or with our culture. It was delayed and stopped successfully; for that we are thankful to the security forces.

The minister also said the singer had not gone “though the proper channels” for the concert, stating that he checked with the Ministry of Communication who informed him they had not approved any permissions or licenses for the performance.

Nasteexo said in her statement that after the cancellation, her hotel was surrounded by police and was told that if she gave an interview to the TV cameraman she would be arrested. She also said she had trouble the next day at the airport for her scheduled flight out of the country, but was helped by a “supporter” who got her through passport control and onto the plane. The singer’s statement was recorded in Dubai, where she said she and her DJ were safe.

Musicians targeted in Somaliland
In late 2015 four singers from the Stars of the Horn were arrested upon arrival at the airport in Hargeisa, after a tour with performances in Nairobi and Mogadishu, and were detained for four days until a regional court ordered their release as police had failed to bring “credible charges” against the singers. One of the singers said they were beaten while in custody and much of their money was taken as “ransom”.

Hargeisa is Somalia’s second largest city and the capital city of the self-declared, but internationally unrecognised, state of Somaliland. According to Freemuse sources there has been an increasing trend in the censorship of musicians in Somaliland, using them as political bargaining chips through restricting their travels in Somalia, arresting musicians who perform or visit Somali capital city Mogadishu.

Photo: Section of poster from cancelled concert


» 15 August 2016: Nasteexo Indho statement via YouTube

» 14 August 2016: Minister of Religion Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi Ahmed statement via YouTube

More from Freemuse

» 11 July 2016: Somalia: Security forces arrest musician

» 1 October 2015: Somalia: Regional court orders four singers released from custody

» 29 September 2015: Somalia: Four musicians reportedly arrested

» 4 August 2015: Somalia: Musician released after one day in detention 

» 31 October 2012: Somalia: Poet and songwriter killed by unknown gunmen

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