Renowned Somali poet Hurre Walanwal dies at 75


Renowned Somali poet Osman Ibrahim Warsame, known as Hurre Walanwal, passed away in Burco at the age of 75. Hurre, a significant figure in Somali literature, was the brother of the late celebratedpoet Ibrahim Warsame Hadrawi who died on Aug. 18, 2022, in Hargeisa.

Hurre Walanwal, born in Caynaba in 1948, moved to a rural lifestyle at age 10. He became famous for his jib and jaga songs, a vital part of Somali culture, often used in courtship and by clans to show admiration for each other. As a young man, he was part of the Orgi-women group ( Orgi-naagood), known for their traditional dances and songs. They travelled to homes, engaging in social interactions through music.

Hurre recalled his youth in an interview, saying, “I rode a camel and participated in games, visiting these places every night.”

His popularity soared after he collaborated with female singer Ambaro Nuh Mohamed from Buhoodle in the late 1960s. The duo partnership marked a pivotal moment in his career, blending his poetic prowess with Ambaro’s vocal talents, creating a unique fusion that resonated deeply within the Somali cultural landscape.

Reflecting on this period during a public forum in 2011, Hurre spoke about spoke about how these collaborations were not merely professional milestones but transformative experiences that broadened his artistic horizons. “It was 1967. Ambaro was not only beautiful but also proud. She was 17, wise beyond her years; I was 19.” He highlighted how he was able to explore new dimensions in his art, blending the rhythmic patterns of his poetry with the melodic structures of song. 

Throughout his life, Hurre Walanwal played a crucial role in the development of Somali literature, infusing it with richness and inspiring future generations. His contribution to the arts and culture of Somalia remains a key part of his legacy.

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