Abdi Sinimo

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Abdi Sinimo
Birth name Cabdi Deeqsi Warfaa
Born 1920s
Jaarahorato, Somalia
Died early 1960's
Genres Somali music
Occupation(s) Poet, singer, songwriter , port driver and musical innovator
Instruments vocals
Years active 1940s-1970s

Abdi Sinimo (Somali: Cabdi Siniimoo, Arabic: سنيمو‎‎) (born 1920s, died early 1960's), is a Somali singer, songwriter, poet and musical innovator. He is noted for having established the balwo genre of Somali music.[1][2]


Sinimo was born in the 1920s in Jaarahorato, an historical village situated 25 miles (40 km) north-east of the present Borama, Somalia. He hailed from the Reer Nuur clan. He was the fourth son in a family of 18 children, consisting of nine boys and nine girls. Even though born in Borama district at that time, he spent most of his life in Djibouti working for the Djibouti Port Authority as a driver of a transshipment truck from Djibouti city to Addis Ababa, via Dire Dawa.[3]

The first band Sinimo created was in Borama during 1944 when he retired from driving and went into music full-time.it was called Balwo.[3] Members of his band were:

  • Abdi Deqsi Warfa (Abdi Sinimo)
  • Kobali Ashad
  • Hussen Are Mead
  • Hashi Warsame
  • Khadija Eye Dharar (Khadija Balwo)
  • Nuriya Atiq

Below is a sample from a poem by Abdi Sinimo which he first hummed while repairing a broken truck in 1943. This came to start the Balwo-genre and Northern Somali song tradition.[3]

Balwoy! Hoy balwoy Waha i baleyey mooyaan Waha i baleyey babur Waha i baleyey berguba. . . .

Translation: (Balwoy! O' Balwoy I know not what made me suffer It is a truck that made me suffer She is berguba [a girl's name] who made me suffer. . . .)

Abdi Sinimo, Historical Dictionary of Somalia,2003


  1. ^ Abdullahi, p.172
  2. ^ Johnson, p.xv
  3. ^ a b c Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (2003-02-25). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Scarecrow Press. p. 12. ISBN 9780810866041.