Saturday, April 14, 2012

Music from Sudan

I'm temporarily abandoning B's to jump all the way to Sudan. While I had intended to keep this blog focused only on the music coming out of various regions, music exists within a context. For Sudan, this context is genocide.

Yesterday Unreported World aired an excellent episode called Terror in Sudan, which can be streamed for free (at least in some areas). At one point in the program Sudanese rebels are able to capture a UAV which shows that al-Bashir is indisputably targeting civilians in bombing runs (as if any bombing run isn't detestable). Only hours ago five more people were killed in a clash between the north and South Sudanese forces. The point I'm getting at is that genocide is real, and it's going on right now.

Beginning with the imposition of strict sharia law in 1989, many of the country's most prominent musicians and poets, like poets Mahjoub Sharif, were imprisoned while others, like Mohammed el Amin and Mohammed Wardi (Mohammed el amin returned to Sudan in 1991 and Mohammed Wardi returned to Sudan in 2003), fled to Cairo. Traditional music suffered too, with traditional Zār ceremonies being interrupted and drums confiscated.[1] At the same time, however, the European militaries contributed to the development of Sudanese music by introducing new instruments and styles; military bands, especially the Scottish bagpipes, were renowned, and set traditional music to military march music. The march March Shulkawi No 1, is an example, set to the sounds of the Shilluk. Sudan is very diverse, with five hundred plus ethnic groups spread across the country's territory, which is the largest in Africa. The country has been a crossroads between North, East and West Africa for hundreds of years, and is inhabited by a mixture of Sub-Saharan Arabs and Africans.From Wikipedia.

One commenter on this video explains, "Duop is a member of the Nuer tribe in Southern Sudan and sings in his mother tongue. As far as I understand, he celebrates or endorses the peace for the whole of Sudan, including Khartoum..."

Needless to say we will revisit Sudan at a later date.

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