This is not the only epiphany Hibo shared with the audience. She also gave insights into the local music scene of Uganda: ‘In the beginning when I started to dj, there were no other women around. Everytime I came to play somewhere, the man plugged me out: “This is not a female job!” We are supposed to be dancing in the club and not to play the music. So we started our own little place called 154 where we trained us in djing. One producer told me: “If a woman wants to be a successful musician, she has to sleep with the producer!” – Well, not when I am the producer. Nobody has to sleep with anyone, we just have to make music. So it became a really big movement for us to take over. First it was just fun, but now it became a responsibility for us to change the society that we are living in. I see positive changes.’
To understand the musical world of Hibo Elmi better, one has to be familiar with her family background in Somalia and later on in Ethiopia. ‘When our mum ran away from her country, the only things she took with her were her cassettes. Every morning she listened to them to feel how it felt at home.’ – that way Hibo and her twin sister Houdini (who is also scheduled to play the 2022 edition of the Monheim Triennale) also were enabled to travel back with the music to the home of their ancestors and learn about the deep artistic history of Somalia.
All quotes are from the Artist Talk with Thomas Venker as part of the 2021 Prequel issue.