Former president Mohamed Nasheed performed live at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) music concert on Thursday (August 31) as certain supporters donned t-shirts proclaiming their presidential candidate an ‘Eco rock star’ ahead of his techno-pop-rap debut.
The ‘Emmen Ehburun’ (‘Everyone one round’) music show (August 29) showcased some of the Maldives’ most popular artists and a variety of musical styles in an effort to galvanise voters to participate in the September 7 presidential election.
The lively campaign event was hosted by MDP MPs Eva Abdulla and Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy, and drew a crowd of nearly 4,000 people near ‘raalhugandu’, Male’s surf point, adjacent to the Tsunami Monument. A broad demographic of women, men, teenagers, small children accompanied by their families, and the elderly gathered to watch the show.
Maldivian rock band Eman’s Conspiracy fired up the audience with their unique style – some of the male band members sported women’s flower-print stretch pants and jumpers – and witty lyrics. One song joked about police breaking up protesters by tickling their stomachs, in reference to the Maldives Police Service’s violent crackdown on protesters, and former Civil Service Commission Chair Mohamed Fahmy Hassan’s dismissal in November 2012 over allegations he sexually harassed a female staff member by caressing her stomach.
After their performance the crowd around the stage rapidly multiplied and surged forward in anticipation of Nasheed’s performance. Cheers and shouts of ‘ehburun’ erupted from the audience as Nasheed took the stage with DJ Umar.
The ‘Eco rock star’ launched into an original rap spun by DJ Umar to a techno remix of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’. Nasheed’s on-stage excitement was contagious, with onlookers energised by his political lyrics and unique techno-pop-rap musical style.
Although audio clips from some of Nasheed’s speeches have been set to techno house music and have been endlessly echoing through the Maldives since the controversial transfer of power in February 2012 – this is the first time the former president has sung live. (See below for translated lyrics and video of Nasheed’s performance).
Nasheed may have stolen the show with his techno-pop-rap musical debut, but the artists that followed kept the crowd in a fevered frenzy.
Famed boduberu (traditional singing, drumming, and dancing) group Harubee, two time winners of the Maldives Boduberu Challenge and invitees to multiple international events, riveted the crowd with renditions of classic Maldivian songs. The ladies in the crowd were particularly enthralled with lead singer Ibrahim ‘Mandey’ Mamdhooh, who forewent his drum in favour of impassioned singing and dancing.
Men and women alike were headbanging in the ‘pit’ that formed in front of the stage during Maldivian metal band Traphic Jam’s performance. Their rock performance and political protest song lyrics – “Anni (Nasheed) was there when I went to bed, when I woke up it was a baaghee (traitor)” – resonated with the youth who shouted the lyrics in time with the band.
The ‘Emmen Ehburun’ show resonated with young MDP supporters, several of whom in the crowd described the eclectic mix of music as “habeys” (awesome) and that “Anni’s performance was epic”.
DJ Umar featuring former President Mohamed Nasheed:
“Fasten your seatbelts. We are cleared for landing. We will only rest after taking the oath of office as the President of the Maldives on November 11, 2013.
The people of the Maldives have seen, they have weighed, the people of the Maldives have decided to give this election to the Maldivian Democratic Party. We will win this election in one round. In one round. In one round. Forward, forward, forward, forward. Forward with the Maldivian nation.
Come. Come out with us, roll up your sleeves, and come out to develop this country. Our country has seen how things happened during 30 long years – our people has seen that. It was quite recently that education in the English-medium began in Maldivian schools. In our three years, we built 240 schools, in our three years we changed Maldivian schools to single session.
The people of the Maldives are yearning again for a Maldivian Democratic Party government. The people of the Maldives are yearning again for compassionate, good governance. We will come back. We will return. We will provide good governance for the people of the Maldives.
We cannot secure the change we seek without connecting the islands of this country with public transport. The people of the Maldives want development. The people want housing. We all want the same things. We want a good life – public transport, good healthcare when we’re sick, a good education for our children, we all want good governance.
We will come back. We will beat the traitors and win this election in one round. The people of the Maldives are not ready to leave this country to a coup. The people of this country want to establish a government of the people in the Maldives.
Forward, forward, forward. Come. Come out with us to develop this nation. We will not step back. Our courage will not slacken, our resolve will not be shaken. We will come back. We will offer good governance for the people of this country. The Maldivian Democratic Party will always remain with the people of the Maldives. Our prayer is always for a better way than this for our country. This country is rich in natural resources. We can develop and achieve progress. We can find a better way than this for our youth.
We want development. We want entertainment. We want housing, education for our children. We want compassion, social security. The Maldivian Democratic Party is a party that makes pledges and fulfils pledges. God willing, we will deliver on our pledges. Our country is headed towards a safe shore. Come out with us. Come out. We will secure our country. We can see the horizons of the Other Maldives. We have come out seeking this country’s development. We have always had one goal.
You would have heard the pledges of political leaders. When they go to an island first they’ll meet a fisherman. The fisherman will say, ‘Seytu [literally shopkeeper, used to refer to Gasim], my boat is on land.’ And Seytu will pledge a boat for every fisherman. In the middle of the island he will meet a teacher. The teacher will say I want a laptop and Seytu will say, ‘a laptop for every teacher.’ That is not a political pledge. Political pledges are those that can be fulfilled through a policy. The Maldivian Democratic Party manifesto is one that has been costed and budgeted. We are a party that makes pledges and fulfils pledges.
God willing, we will win this election in one round. In one round, one round, one round. Valhamdulillah. Thank you very much.”