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Five Songs By Somali Singers & Rappers To Listen To This Summer

We round up five standout Somali tracks to bump this summer from Omvr, Robin Banks, Cherrie Hersi, Top5 and Layla Hendrix.


Photo: OMVR via facebook.

K’naan’s been on hiatus for awhile now but that’s okay! Somali artists from Europe to the United States to Canada have been holding it down for him while he gears up to take the music world by storm yet again. These artists, like the artists in our previous Ten Somali Artists & Entertainers To Watch In 2015 list, are killing the game and poised to take over this summer. Below, we’ve compiled some of their music videos and new releases from across the globe.

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“Hold You Back” by OMVR

OMVR, also known as Omar, is Norway’s answer to Sam Smith. In “Hold You Back,” his velvety, androgynous voice is splayed over a funky, electronic beat. The lyrics, contemplative and emotional, paint the portrait of a complicated man (Omar) navigating the messiness of a relationship that’s ended. Showcasing stellar vocals, heart and something to dance to, Omar is not holding himself or his former lover back.

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“Up Next” by Robin Banks

“Up Next” is the Somali diaspora’s answer to Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.” It’s catchy, upbeat and has an infectious, radio-friendly hook. Robin Banks is the kid who coined the phrase "TT right now,” which Drake recently used as an Instagram caption.

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Kayode Kasum’s Quarantine Watchlist

From 'Wives on Strike' to 'Goodwill Hunting' here's what the Nigerian filmmaker is watching while stuck at home in Lagos.

Kayode Kasum, like most filmmakers, has been stagnated by the coronavirus pandemic. The director behind the blockbuster Sugar Rush and the critically acclaimed Oga Bolaji was working on the post-production of his upcoming movies, The Fate of Alakada: Party Planner and Kambili—a collaboration between FilmOne Entertainment and Chinese Huahua Media— when the Nigerian government announced the lockdown order.

While post-production on Alakada has concluded, the stay-at-home orders have delayed work on Kambili. "Since the team cannot meet at a single point, we are moving hard drives left and right," he says to me over the phone from his home in Lagos. "It is a challenge, but the beautiful thing about a challenge is, when you make it work, it is fulfilling."

Still from 'Kambili'

Kasum has turned to books and films for an escape from the unpleasant realities of the pandemic. "I have been reading Elnathan's books: Born on a Tuesday and Becoming Nigeria," he tells me. "I have also been reading film directing books, Directing Actors by Judith Weston." However, Kasum longs for the movies. "I miss going to the cinemas; I miss that experience," he says. "There are times during this pandemic that I'm like 'na wa o, I wish I can go to the cinema.'"

Below are five films he recommends you watch during this pandemic.

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