June 26, 2012

Oromo: Music’s Role in a Struggle for Rights

The celebration of the Afran Qalloo Golden Jubilee (1962 – 2012) will take place on June 30th 2012 in Toronto, Canada, where the role of music in bringing unity to the Oromo community will be marked.

Below is an article published by Gadaa.com:

Afran Qalloo, named after the four major Oromo clans in Eastern Oromia, was one of the earliest social movements that facilitated the birth of the Oromo national struggle. The objective of the movement was to reawaken Oromo national consciousness by engendering the revival of Oromo culture. Recognizing the power of music as an indispensable tool for disseminating messages in oral societies, a band named after that movement was established. The band played traditional music composed with modern instruments. They traveled to rural and urban areas, and received overwhelming reception.

Although the group was banned shortly after its inception, it left a lasting legacy as its members went on to play leading roles in further strengthening the Oromo struggle. Respected local elders and band members, who supported this great cause, were imprisoned and executed, including Abubaker Mussa, who was gunned down in a cold blooded manner. Many of them went underground and reached out to members of the Maccaa Tulama, the Bale Resistance Movement and student activists – which culminated in the launching of the armed struggle for the Oromo national liberation. Others, such as Ayub Abubaker and Yonis Abdulahi went to Somalia and started a radio program in Afaan Oromoo. The rest, including Legendary Dr. Ali Birra, Ali Shabbo, Usmaielle Mummad, Mohammed Yusuf, Salah Mohamud, Shantam Shubisa and others, kept marching forward with their musical talents using their penetrating melody and captivating lyrics to reunify the disjointed Oromo regions to rise up in unison against national subjugation.

The Golden Jubilee is being organized to commemorate this legacy of Afan Qalloo’s contribution to the Oromo movement. The daylong event includes a memorial service for the heroes, who sacrificed their lives, and a ceremony honoring those who are still alive. It also features discussion panels in which renowned scholars, Professor Mohammed Hassen, Dr. Gemechu Megersa, Dr. Ismael Abdulahi and others, will review and reflect on the role of Afran Qalloo in Oromo political history and the development of Oromo language. That evening, original members of the Afran Qallo Band — the revolutionaries of yesteryears and legendary vocalists of today — will come together to entertain the audience with their classic hits. Do not miss this once in a lifetime event!!!

Date: Saturday, June 30, 2012
Time: 11 AM to 3 AM
Location: ACE banquet & Concert Hall,
821 Runnymed Road, Toronto, Canada

For more information, call the coordinating committee:
Canada: 647-710-7098
US: 972-896-2161
Europe: 4930-9225-2403
Australia 616-2167-9368