Khadija Abdullahi Daleys, Mother Of Somali Music, Dies At 82 One of Somalia's most legendary singers has died. Khadija Abdullahi Daleys was known as the mother of Somali music, and we have an appreciation.
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Khadija Abdullahi Daleys, Mother Of Somali Music, Dies At 82

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Khadija Abdullahi Daleys, Mother Of Somali Music, Dies At 82

Khadija Abdullahi Daleys, Mother Of Somali Music, Dies At 82

Khadija Abdullahi Daleys, Mother Of Somali Music, Dies At 82

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/578247196/578247197" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

One of Somalia's most legendary singers has died. Khadija Abdullahi Daleys was known as the mother of Somali music, and we have an appreciation.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The woman known as the mother of Somali music died over the weekend. She was 82 years old, and as NPR's Eyder Peralta reports, a musical revolutionary.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

KHADIJA ABDULLAHI DALEYS: (Singing in Somali).

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: It's hard to find Somali recordings from the '50s, but this one from 1963 gives you a feel for what Khadija Abdullahi Daleys' voice might have sounded like coming out of a radio back then.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

DALEYS: (Singing in Somali).

PERALTA: As her friend and fellow artist Abdi Gab describes it, this was revolutionary in deeply conservative Mogadishu.

ABDI GAB: At that time, no Somali women were singing radio.

PERALTA: In fact, when she was done, people took to the streets in protest. And then they went to her father's house to snitch. According to Gab, Daleys' dad shrugged. Yes, she's singing, he said. But what's the problem? The whole world is singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF KHADIJA ABDULLAHI DALEYS SONG)

PERALTA: And that was it. From then on, Daleys inspired generations of Somali women to find their voice. She became not only one of the most beloved musicians in the country but also one of its most important political voices, advocating for independence and Pan-Africanism - and in this song, calling on Africans to love their blackness.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

DALEYS: (Singing in Somali).

HODAN NALAYEH: There's some people you meet in life, and you're just like, that is a real human being. And that's how she was.

PERALTA: That's her friend, Hodan Nalayeh. She says Daleys was always full of life. And the biggest lesson she'll take from her is that as a woman, she should not seek rights. Instead, she should take them and never let anyone define who she should be. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Nairobi.

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