(Ceelbuur is a town in the Galguduud region of central Somalia)


Poet: Maxammed Cali Kaariye
Music Composer: Cabdiraxmaan Cali Xirsi
Singer Name: Salaad Maxamed Derbi (Shardi)
Recorded: Early 1970s

“Ceelbuur” is a hees jacayl or Somali love song sung by Salaad Maxamed Derbi, who now lives in Faribault, Minnesota. The lyrics are written by Maxammed Cali Kaariye. The song’s lyrics describe a woman the singer greatly admires. She is characterized by gentleness, grace, and purity, and is compared to trees and fruit growing. She is praised for her good character, and it is speculated that this woman was an actual person whom Salaad Moxamed Derbi loved. The song was named “Ceelbuur” to refer to the location where it was written — Ceelbuur, a town located in the region of Galguduud in central Somalia.

Songs like these are called qaraami, which is a genre described as songs that are “love incarnate.” As a result, these songs were very controversial at the time of their release. Qaraami and other genres of Somali love songs tend to describe femininity and romance in great detail, which can be considered haram or forbidden by some interpretations of Islam. Musically speaking, many qaraami have a call and response style, moving back and forth between the singer and the oud, as well as other instruments such as flute or violin.

Salaad Darbi performing a version of “Ceelbuur” live in 2019

Salaad Maxamed Derbi performing “Ceelbuur” live