“Birraa dhaa Bariihee” (meaning, Spring has sprung) was Ali Mohammed’s first stage song in 1963; Ali was only 14 at that time. The song was an instant hit. Performed in the city of Dire Dawa with the Afran Qallo band of musicians not far from Ali’s age, though Ali was the youngest member, little did the band and Ali know that they were planting the seeds for the renaissance of the Oromo cultural movement with that song and with that debut performance of the Afran Qallo band in Dire Dawa. Indeed, it was this musical performance that sprung the Oromo Cultural Spring that continues to shine since then. Ali Mohammed’s life has also changed by this hit song; not only he became the star performer of the Afran Qallo band during his formative years – he also adopted his “last name” from this song: he became Ali “Birra” – as the world has come to know him today. The dawning of the Spring season is figuratively used among the Oromo to indicate the bright future that lies ahead — leaving behind the darkness of the rainy and gloomy Winter season. At the time “Birraa dhaa Bariihee” was sung, the audience understood this figurative meaning of the song as it related to the Oromo political and cultural situation of the era.
Enjoy below Dr. Ali Birra’s “Birraa dhaa Bariihee” (performed in 2013 and recorded by Lagatafo Studio during the artist’s 50th career anniversary event) and other Irreecha season’s favorite hit songs.