Young artist who is healing Somalia through music
Khadar Ibrahim Keyow started singing at the tender age of 13 and became a household name in Somalia over the ensuing six years. His passion for music started in his childhood. Now 19, Khadar says he derived his inspiration from the veteran Somali musician Mohamed Saleeban Tubeec. His lyrics contain a conciliatory message of love and tolerance.
“Love each other and be united. Don’t engage in clan wars. Artists have no clans,” Keyow told his fellow youth and artists at a meeting held in a Mogadishu hotel ahead of Somali National Youth Day, which is celebrated on 15 May.
The budding musician, whose songs also instill in many a sense of patriotism, urges Somali youth to channel their energies into activities that benefit society.
Speaking on the eve of Somali Youth Day, Khadar attributed problems plaguing Somalia to negative clannism. He believes that the messages conveyed through his music will change the hearts of young peoples. He is also using music to encourage the youth to help rebuild Somalia.
“If I tried to make a break in music elsewhere, my message will be lost in the crowded world of international music, and my countrymen will continue to fight”, he explains.
In reference to Al-Shabaab and their recruitment of youth, Khadar discourages young people from fighting in wars they do not understand.
“When I started singing, they (Al-Shabaab) controlled Mogadishu and everything. Now there’s a government in place, and I am still singing my music about love and patriotism,” he said.
The teenage musician was abandoned by his mother when he was just three months old and was brought up by his aging grandparents. His father passed away after his eighth birthday. Living with his grandparents forced him to start fending for himself at an early age. Like the messages in his music, his life story is full of hope and resilience.
“My future is in Somalia. This is where I feel appreciated. When I walk at K4 or Al-Mukarama roads, I am acknowledged,” he states as he mentions locations in the capital Mogadishu where his music is avidly played and heard.