Minneapolis, Minnesota (Sunatimes)– Hassan Aden Samatar, the legendary Somali singer and one of the most famous Somali entertainers, received a lifetime achievement award from the Somali community in Minnesota in a tribute dinner and gala party held Saturday night in Minneapolis.
The award was presented to Samatar by Eagle Media and leaders of the Community.
Abdirahman Kahin of Eagle Media who organized the successful gala said to award Samatar was long overdue. "Eagle Media wanted to do it years ago but we were just waiting Hassan Aden Samatar to return to Minnesota," Said Kahin.
Adar Kahin- no relation to Abdirahman Kahin – a contemporary of Samatar who acted with him in a play in the eighties, implored from the audience the reason Somali artists’ work are not recognized. "We watch shows on TV here in North America where they award artists all the time and I tell you these are not as great as my beloved brother Samatar. Why not we Somalis do it and appreciate our legends?," wondered Adar.
Hassan Aden Samatar was born into an artistic family in Dinsoor in Bay Region, Somalia, on 1953. He began his primary and elementary schooling in the same city and continued his secondary schooling in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. After graduation at young age, Hassan wanted to go to Italy for college but the moment that changed his life happened when friends encouraged him to take part in the "Hirgilinta Heesaha" program, Somalia’s equivalent of American Idol. This was in 1971 and he won the contest and soon was inducted into the leading Somali troupe of Waaberi and became a leader in Somali music and theatre.
Hassan Aden sings in Somalia’s two dialects -Maay and Maxaay – with ease and passion. Hassan is regarded for his theatrical performance and powerful melodies and vocals. He acted in more than two dozen plays from melodramatic and socially conscious plays to romantic ones. Hassan Aden is equally celebrated by the young and the old because of his charisma and performance .
Hassan credits his artistic achievement being exposed to Somali folklore and cultural festivals at young age. "As a young boy growing up in Diinsoor, I used to go to town center to watch dances and celebrations by townsfolk. these were mesmerizing and I think because of seeing all of that I always wanted to sing and perform," said Hassan. He encouraged Somali parents in the Diaspora to teach the rich Somali culture, specially songs and poems to their kids so that they will appreciate the beauty of their culture and be proud of it.
Hassan is humanitarian who participated in many concerts to raise funds for different causes such as building schools and clinics in Somalia and raising money for those displaced by violence.
Samatar now lives in Toronto, Canada and usually comes to Minnesota to hold concerts and to sing at Somali events.