Saba Biography

Saba Anglana, Mogadishu, Somalia. Born to an Ethiopian mother and an Italian father, Saba moved to Italy at the age of five when her parents were obliged to leave her homeland. The move was prompted by prejudice directed against the racially-mixed marriage and as Saba grew up this and kindred prejudices fuelled her attitude towards the world. She developed a drive to express herself and her struggle against racism through whatever means available to her. She became an actress, attracting considerable attention in Italy through a continuing role in La Squadra, a popular television drama. In this series, which she joined in the second and third season, Saba took the role of Katia Ricci, a black police officer battling racist opposition inside and outside the police force.

In her music, Saba has focused on the complex and often difficult relationship between Italy and Somalia (formerly an Italian colony). On her 2007 debut, Jidka, she sang largely in the Somalian language, but displayed her worldliness through the company she kept, including Tatè Nsongan (who is from Cameroon and plays guitar and djembe), Lao Kouyate (from Senegal, playing kora), and Felix Moungara (vocals). Her vocal sound is crystalline but tough, the latter quality matching her attitude towards the album title, which translates to describe the line that that separates people through the artificialities of race and colour, culture and language. Notable tracks on the album, for many of which Saba composed music and lyrics, included ‘I Sogni’, ‘Hoio’, ‘Manta’, ‘Melissa’, and ‘Huwauahuwa’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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