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Lul Gelani

Lul Gelani

Somali Recording Artist & Care Provider

Born: Shangani, Somalia
Heritage: Somalian

Stay in school and help all your family members. Don’t ever betray your mom. Never forget where you grew up and never forget who raised you.

Lul Gelani

Somali Recording Artist & Care Provider

My name is Lul Gelani. I was born in Shangani, Somalia on the continent of Africa. I was born in 1957. I started singing at the age of eleven. A producer in Somalia by the name of Ahmed Nagi recorded me. It was hard growing up where I lived.

I lived with family members. Everyone put their money together to live in a nice house by the ocean. I could see dolphins and whales. I could go fishing and swimming. It was a beautiful place to live.

When I was young I would travel and sing. I sang in big hotels in Somalia and Italy. I went to a religious school and everyday I would get whooped. They would separate the boys and girls in school. School started at seven in the morning. I had to walk to school in the hot sun. I liked playing hopscotch at recess.

The war started in Somalia in 1991. Millions of people fled from Somalia to Kenya. The road was full. Thousands of people driving in cars and walking filled the roads into Kenya. There was a war and you would get killed if you stayed in Somalia, but in Kenya you would get your stuff stolen. I don’t like to think of those times.

In 1996, on the 18th day of September I found out I could come to the United States of America. It was a big door that opened, and I came. I flew to France and then to Atlanta, Georgia. It was beautiful looking out the plane window on America.

A month later someone told me I could go to Minnesota and sing in a Minneapolis hotel. I liked it here. There was a lot of snow that first night and it was beautiful. I brought the whole family to Minnesota.

I now work for Minnesota Quality Care. I care for people because they cared for me. I did homecare for my mother; my mother was a giving person. If someone needs something, help them because everything you do for other people will come back to you. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

People are nice to me because I am a singer. Somali people like me. They give me respect because I sing. When people ask my son, “Who is your mom?” and he says, “Lul Gelani,” people treat him good.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Lul Gelani

I Am Free Now

My name is Lul Gelani
I was born in Somali
I started singing when I was eleven
Ahmed Nagi recorded me

From Italy to southern Arabia
It was hard living there
Nobody had insurance for living
When I walked outdoors, I was scared

I am free now to live my life
To help those in need

Mother raised us without a father
In a house my father gave
Whenever he would earn some money
Father would drink, nothing saved

In Somalia had to pay money
To go to school at your age
The boys and girls were often divided
The teacher would whoop us every day

I am free now to live my life
To help those in need

Where we lived everyone gathered
Around the fire all would eat
Rice and pasta with the neighbors
Alone go hungry, together we feast

Looking out on the ocean
Whales and dolphins jumping up and down
When the war came to Somalia
There was no peace to be found

I am free now to live my life
To help those in need

The roads were filled
with millions of people
Into Kenya we did flee
Where they stole all my possessions
Before we came to the land of the free

Flew to Paris into Atlanta
With my mom, kids and grandkids
On that Mike Tyson was fighting
Never too old to start again

I am free now to live my life
To help those in need

Stay in school, help your family
Give support to your mom
Remember you have God above you
Never forget who you are

As my mother, I give to the people
As my mother, I do homecare
Plus I sing to make a living
There’s so much joy in life to share

I am free now to live my life
To help those in need

Words by LARRY LONG with Jill Swanson’s 3rd grade class of Eisenhower Elementary School
(Hopkins, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2006 / BMI

Listen: I Am Free Now