The Great Normalia Mix

2005/ 2009. Sound installation/ audio CD, duration 48 min.

The Great Normalia Mix contains different auditory representations from Somalian culture and community life. In this scenario the African-American jazz musician, Jacques Butler, with the recording of After the Ball, is mixed in as a general theme. After the Ball was recorded in Oslo, Norway, February the 14th 1940, with Jacques Butler and his Swing Patrol (with Robert Normann, Carl Engstrøm, Gunnar Sønstevold, Fred Lange-Nielsen and Kjell Bjørnstad). 

Through sound processing, Jacques Butlers voice is separated form the orchestra and subtly mixed into the other material, partly in duet with Somalian artists. The Somalian material consists of traditional music by legendary artists and younger artists living in exile. These are songs about love, nature, and family - about politics, war and life in exile. Here we find poems in the “gabay” tradition, which pay homage to Somalia’s independence in 1960. Among other things we’ll hear Somalia’s exile president’s speech of February the 12th 2005, and a central poem of resistance by the great war hero and poet Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, who was the leader of Somaliland before colonial times.



Content with time indication:

00:00: Gabay (classical Somali epic poetry and chant), unknown artist: ”We have become a divided people.” / Kenadid and Kadafi – GST Ghettostarz, “After Party”, sample.

01:14: Xakiin Xaashii Raaxeeye, “Samsam”, Somali love song.

04:01: Jack Butler and his Swing Patrol, ”After the Ball”, instrumental sequence.Robert Normann (g), Jack Butler (tp, vcl) Carl Engstrøm (cl), Gunnar Sønstevold (p), Fred Lange-Nielsen (b), Kjell Bjørnstad (dm). Recorded in Oslo, February 14, 1940.

04:32: Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed, Somalia’s exiled president speaking in Grove, Puntland (North-East Somalia), February 26, 2005. Somali Broadcasting Cooperation.

06:04: K’naan, “Rajo” (Hope), sequence / Jacques Butler, ”After the Ball”, vocal extract.

09:34: Cabule Raage, gabay, “Gumaysi” (Colony). Patriotic poem about Somali independence from Britain in 1960 / Omar Dhule Ali, rhythm sequence.

11:21: Jack Butler and his Swing Patrol, ”After the Ball”, instrumental sequence / A radio reporter announces that the Somali exile government will welcome foreign soldiers to support Somalia. Radio Warsan, Somali international broadcasting (2005).

12:45: GST Ghettostarz, featuring Kaziano & A. Iimaan, “S.O.M.A.L.I.A” / Jacques Butler, ”After the Ball”, vocal extract / Carays Ciise, gabay, “Dhalanay” (We are born). Poetry praising Somali independence in 1960.

17:35: Jack Butler and his Swing Patrol, ”After the Ball”, sequence / Recitation from the Koran, Somali local radio.

19:29: Saado Ali & Shamuuri, “Dhabta i Saar” (Let me sit in your lap). Somali love song.

24:03: Jack Butler and his Swing Patrol, ”After the Ball”, trumpet solo.

25:10: Sayyid Mahammad Abdille Hasan, ”Koofil” (Englishman). Poem about resistance against the colonial powers. (Abdille Hassan was a poet and nationalist leader – called The Mad Mullah by the British – who for 20 years led an armed resistance against British, Italian, and Ethiopian forces in Somalia.) / Jacques Butler, ”After the Ball”, vocal extract.

28:54: Xussen C. Miraale, “Hoyo” (Mother).

31:39: Jacques Butler, ”After the Ball”, vocal extract / Mohamed Suleymaan Tubeec, “Geelaa” (Camels).

35:15: K’naan, sample / Jacques Butler, ”After the Ball”, vocal extract / Omar Dhule Ali, song about women’s beauty. (Omar Dhule Ali was a master of Kaban, a traditional Somali instrument. Kaban is also a term for classic Somali jazz).

39:17: GST Ghettostarz, sequence, ”Somalia (interlude)”.

40:00: Interview with a warlord claiming to be the migration minister of Somalia: “The Somali passport has no value, we can’t go anywhere with it.” Radio Daynile, local radio in Mogadishu.

40:29: Shamuuri, ”I don’t eat, I don’t drink. I lost my sanity, I only think of you.” / Jacques Butler, ”After the Ball”, vocal extract.

45:13: Maryam Mursal, rhythm sample / Jack Butler and his Swing Patrol, ”After the Ball”, complete version.

Bonus track (on the CD):

Jacques Butler with Mercer Ellington Octet

2. “She’s Got the Blues for Sale”

3.  “Messy Bessie”

Jacques Butler (tp, vcl), Mercer Ellington (tp), Lawrence Brown (tb), Al Sears (ts), Harry Carney (bar), Leonard Feather (p), Mary Osborne (g), Bill Pemberton (b), Heyward Jackson (d). Recorded in New York, March 18, 1946, Aladdin Records. Digitized from original 78’ record and mastered in Oslo, February 2009.

Sound material was selected on bases of research into Somalian history, music and culture life. Somali translator and consultant: Abdulwahab Mohammed Said. Technical support: Cato Langnes. Sound processing: Henrik Sundt. Produced at NOTAM, April/May 2005, remixed 2009.