Maryan Cali Muudey

Maryan Cali Muudey was a member of the Somali group known as the Iftin Band, originally organized by the Somali Ministry of Education in the mid-1970s. The Iftin Band, like many other bands sponsored by recently-liberated African states, played a prominent role in the country’s educational, political, and social scene. During this time, early in Somalia’s independence, the Iftin Band performed music that was highly educational and worked with music teachers around the country with the goal of using music as a tool for learning. Muudey’s most well-known song with the Iftin Band, “Alif La Khordhabey,” was sung to teach children about basic letters and rules of the Arabic alphabet. They also frequently performed live alongside plays with the National Theater of Somalia (which opened in 1967) and were known for the sci-fi sounding synth instrumentals found in many of their songs. 

In the 1980s, the Iftin Band moved away from their close relationship with the Somali government and pursued a more private path to fame, becoming known as Iftin B. They were one of the biggest bands in Somalia’s “Golden Era” of music, performing frequently in Mogadishu — the capital known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean.” However, following the country’s economic decline in the late 1980s and a lack of government support for their private endeavors, Iftin B gradually faded into the background. Their members eventually emigrated due to the political turmoil brought by the civil war in 1991, but their music still remains ingrained in Somali history to this day. Maryan Cali Muudey’s song is remembered by many Somalis who grew up listening and learning from the Iftin Band on the radio or at live performances. Muudey passed away in June of 2013 while residing in London.