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SUDAN

It was the largest country in Africa but with very little of it's music available outside its own borders. Mostly Arabic influence so lets see what the new country of Southern Sudan has to offer.

This page was last updated on 4/9/11.

ARTISTTITLENUMBERFMTPRICEBUY
ABDEL AZIZ EL MUBARAK ABDELAZIZ EL MUBARAK CDORB023 CD 13.35 COL
ABDEL GADIR SALIM KHARTOUM BLUES 321027 CD £ 14.50
Abdel is the leading performer of the urban style and here he revives the jazz variations by the band's use of brass and accordion. Like the old bus they are shown travelling on this album really motors.
ABDEL GADIR SALIM NUJUM AL-LAIL - STARS OF THE NIGHT CDORB039 CD 13.35 COL
ABDEL GADIR SALIM SONGS FROM KORDOFAN (SOUNDS OF SUDAN) WCB002 LP 25.00 COL
World Circuit's second release way back in 1987 and a stunner from singer and oud player Abdel who is accompanied only by Azhari Abdel Gadir on accordion and El Zubeir Mohamed El Hassan on tabla. 1. UMRI MA BANSA
2. GHANU YA AKHWANI
3. AL NOAM DJAFANI
4. MAQTOOL HAWAKI YA KORDOFAN
ABDEL GADIR SALIM ALL-STARS THE MERDOUM KINGS PLAY SONGS OF LOVE WCD024 CD 13.65 COL
ABDEL KADER SALEM (not translated) SDS100 TC 7.00 COL
ABDEL KARIM EL KABLI LIMAZA RPM003-2 CD £ 11.99
Famous singer, songwriter and lute player Abdel and his band bring out the richness of the traditional music of the Sudan on this wonderful Paris recorded album. The band is almost a mini orchestra with violins, flute, bass guitar, lute, mixed percussion and just a bit of keyboard. Their softly played and sensuous music lets you just float away as if on a cloud while the velvety and tranquil throb of Abdel's power packed voice surround you with pleasure. On the other hand they can really belt it out when they launch into the classic 'Sukkar' or the dance happy 'Ash Shahid Gamar'. ABrilliant album. (F.T.Index: Ash Shahid Gamar, Limaza, Kabbas, Song for Asia and Africa, Dannab. ) [8T/69M]
ABDEL RAHMAN ABDALLA AL ZEMAN ABURASHMA MUNS81310 TC 6.50 COL
Beautifully serene album of traditional music which features a mixture of horns, flutes, violins and drums to back up oud player Abdel's rich and melodic voice. The second track, 'Al Entezar', is my favourite with its slightly more jazzy sound but in general the album's slow and rhythmic pace is just perfect to come home and relax to after a hard days graft down at the local camel market!
ABU ARAKY EL BEKHEET NOUR EL NOUR MUNS75152 TC 6.50 COL
Vocalist superb who's catchy intro track is a must for anyone even if you don't have an interest in Arab music. The rest of the album confirms his vocal mastery over a range of more standard styles of Sudanese songs. Orchestration comes from a line up of mainly traditional instruments but their playing can hardly be described as ethnic, more like, inspired. If you have Sidi Sedike or Dimi Mint Abba's albums and liked them then you'll love this one.
ABU EBAIDA HASAN SAYED EL BALAD MUNS77199 TC 6.50 COL
Traditional rhythmic drumming, simple backing strings, hand clapping and call and response vocals typifies this album from Abu Hasan and his band. Ethnic music with a touch of class that sets it aside from other more bland Sudanese productions. Not to be missed.
AHMAD EL GABRY AKHER EL GAZA'E MUNS76189 TC 6.50 COL
Super vocals from Ahmad plus a mixture of violins, ouds, flutes and some forcefull drumming gives a modern sparkle to some of the more ethnic tunes of the Sudan. Turn up the bass and transport me to a khartoum disco anytime. Wonderful music that goes on and on forever.
AL BALABIL LAYL AL-SHAJAN SDS271 TC 10.00 COL
A first time for the 'Sudanphone' label in the U.K. Al Balabil were Sudan's most popular all girl trio some years ago and rightly so. Their voices harmonise perfectly with, yet stand out from, the traditional backing of violins, horns and percussion played in a modern style with the addition of a bit of electric guitar on most tracks. Timeless and soulful, it's now a favorite of mine without a doubt, especially Nasmat Al-Shamal which is gorgeously hypnotic. RECOMMENDED. [8T/56M]

Some extra info from Jeremy Toomey in the USA
I love the first track, "Baridak". It must be a Sudanese standard, as putting that title into Google in Arabic comes up with a string of video performances of the song (not all by al-Balabil), including this very nice one from a TV appearance marking al-Balabil's reunion after a 15 year absence: Baridak The last listed track is interesting. 'Adila is just the feminine version of the Arabic name 'Adil, but there is a note indicating that this is sung in a different dialect than the rest of the tape, some sort of pidgin. The word that appears in parenthesis, "ratana", means something like "jargon, lingo, pidgin" -- non-standard speech. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about every dialect or language in Sudan to say which specific dialect or language it is, but you will notice that the instrumentation is quite different than the rest of the tape, with only drum and clapping. Also, unlike the other songs on the tape, the lyrics are not credited to known writers, but instead are credited to "heritage/folk" (min al-turath = "from the heritage"). I find it more or less inscrutable, but then there are over 100 spoken languages and dialects in Sudan, so it wouldn't surprise me if this were a different language entirely, or even an extremely localized/divergent variety of Arabic (there are regional standards in the country, such as the Arabic of the capital, the "Juba" Arabic dialect of the now-independent South, etc).

Thank you very much for the music. It's great.

And to Jeremy - Thank you ever so much for your help in transcribing the titles and the background information.

Nick
1. BARIDAK
2. AL-TAYF
3. AQUL ANSAK (I say forget)
4. LAYL AL-SHAJAN
5. WAYNAK INTI
6. NASMAT AL-SHAMAL (NORTHERN BREEZE)
7. ADILA
8. UNLISTED REPRISE OF AQUL ANSAK
HAFEZ ABDEL RAHMAN GHARAM MUNS83115 TC 6.50 COL
Flute magic, with this beautiful traditional album from Hafez. It's a shame that the guitarist on 'Hatta Naitaky' (track 2) didn't play a more prominent part but nearly an hour of absolutely superb traditional yet modern flute, violin and drum music, recorded live, more than makes up for the lack of a bit of guitar. GORGEOUS MUSIC.
KAMAL TERBAS MUNS81162 TC 6.50 COL
KAMAL TERBAS ARGOUK MUNS83008 TC 6.50 COL
One of the best singers in the Sudan and here with his backing group in a superb concert recording. The percussionists keep up a steady stream of varied and trance inducing ethnic rhythms to which Kamal's powerful voice and the band's backing vocals are perfectly suited. The last but one track, 'Bakait Tansa', is my favorite. Not as Jazzy as Ali Hassan Kuban but just as addictive. GREAT ALBUM
MAGZOUB ONSA DAH MA SALAMAK MUNS81219 TC 6.50 COL
I thought this is going to be another boring sample to listen to, as the usual drum and string orchestra struck up but I soon had to change my mind. Once it livens up it becomes obvious that its a live recording as the audience starts to clap to the rhythm and the girls start to 'ulah'. After a couple of tracks he switches to the studio where his full potential becomes apparent. It's got some very danceable tracks and slowly but surely you'll find yourself swaying to it's sensual rhythmic Sudanese beat.
MOHAMMED WARDI LIVE IN ADDIS ABABA 1994 RPM001-2 CD 11.99 COL
The living legend of Sudanese music live in concert in Addis Ababa and 'WOW' what an album it is too! Mohammed and his 18 piece band just explode into a riot of joyful music and song that mixes the classical sounds of the Sudan with the funky - bluesy sounds of sub-Saharan Africa. His rich and exuberant vocals bounce along to the infectious throb of the drummers while the strings, accordion and sax go into overdrive. This is without a doubt the best album of Sudanese music that I've ever heard, in fact it's one the best African albums that I've ever heard. (F.T.Index: Ya sha'ban lahabak thawriytak, I'm not going to try and list them in order as they are all brilliant.) [13T/103M] Great sleeve notes as well.
MUSTAFA SIID AHMED HAS022 TC £ 10.00
The two cassettes above were sadly Mustafa's final releases. His untimely death, he was only in his 40s, in 1995 in exile at Doha - Qatar, has left a gap in Sudanese music that is almost un-fillable. His songs while being rather political are sung with such tremendous feeling that if you don't speak Arabic you'll think of them as being romantic. The superbly played musical backing comes from the standard line-up of violins, drums, sax and flutes but such is the magnetism and brilliance of Mustafa's voice that you probably won't really notice it. ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS 1996 (F.T.Index: A1, B2 ,B3, A2, B1. ) [5T/46M]
MUSTAFA SIID AHMED HAS4214 TC £ 10.00
Released last year this album has a slightly more modern feel to it being enhanced with a little bit of guitar and keyboard plus the use of a most delightful female chorus on some tracks that reminded me very much of Balaabil. 1995 (F.T.Index: A1, B1, B2, A3, A4, A2. ) [6T/42M]
SADEK METWALY ESHET EL BASATA MUNS86075 TC 10.00 COL
Wonderful unique album from Sadek and his band. He combines soft and soulful but typically Sudanese songs with some inspired electric guitar playing that overlays and intertwines with the rhythmic drumming and singing. The result is just out of this world! Hauntingly beautiful music that I could listen to for ever. Brilliant in every way and I think it can easily stand comparison with Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck's classic 'Djam Leeli' album for the beauty of the music. A DEFINITE MASTERPIECE. [10T/56M]
Thank you to Stuart Ellis for the transcription and translations.
stuart@radiodiffusion.net
1. ESHET EL BASATA
~ THE SIMPLE LIFE
2. EL FARHA TAMT
~ HAPPY NOW
3. TENSA KEEF MA' ADNA
~ HOW TO FORGET OUR MEETING
4. AL BOLBOL AL SADAAH
~ THE ENCHANTING NIGHTINGALE
5. ZALAMOUNI ZALAMOUNI
~ UNFAIR TO ME
6. MADANI EKHWAN
~ MADANI EKHWAN (name)
7. EDEIT MIN OMRI SNEEN
~ I GAVE SO MUCH OF MY LIFE
8. HANENOUH
~ MAKE HIM TENDER
9. AYOUNIK WAHED L'L AFRAH
~ ONE HEART FOR HAPPINESS
10. ENDIB HAZI
~ CURSE MY BAD LUCK
SAYED KHALEEFA SALAM EL BASMA MUNS77184 TC 6.50 COL
A most difficult album to describe. It opens with a sax line up that could have come straight from an American big band of the 1940's and goes on through music which can sound typically ethnic Sudanese or even Chinese! Throw in a track or two that wouldn't go amiss in Music Hall or as theme tunes to a Western movie and you start to get the idea. Add instruments that range from oud to piano and both male and female backing singers and the picture is now clearer. However I haven't mentioned the driving force behind all this variation, namely Sayed Khaleefa, who's stupendous voice powers out on every track. If he ever takes up Opera, move over Pavarotti. A strange and intriguing album with plenty of surprises.
SHEREHLY AHMAD LAMMA EL KAMAR MUNS77204 TC 6.50 COL
Every so often something fabulous pops up from the most unlikely places and this album is definitely one of them. Intrigued by the first track, 'Lamma el Kamar', which sounded more like a hymn than anything else, I was astonished as Sherehly's crooning voice got me hooked on a lovely melody called 'Ellail el Hady'. Then on track three, 'Zay Mabnehwak', he changes again to the simplest of tunes played on guitar and horn but backed by a drummer using wires on a dustbin? Turn over and straight into a beautiful typically Sudanese number called 'El Hob Erefto'. Then back came the horn, the guitar, that mad drummer and Sherehly, his gorgeous voice now on top form with a couple of simple songs, 'Malek Ya Saly' and 'Ghazal', that had me up and shaking the old chassis in a flash. Bing Crosby never had this effect on me but I've played this album to loads of my friends and the verdict was always the same, 'ITS MAGIC AND I WANT ONE!' So for those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure of listening to Sherehly and his mad cap band I can only say to you that you won't be disappointed. Even if you think, like everyone else, that the music is terrible, you'll still find, as they all have, that overall it's got something that makes this album absolutely and totally irresistible. BRILLIANT
VARIOUS ARTISTS NUBIAN SONGS FROM NORTH SUDAN MUNS83116 TC 10.00 COL
Amazing 50 minute, 10 track, compilation album of ethnic Nubian songs which unfortunately gives no details about the artists. The singers on side 'A', both male and female, with the exception of the last track, are accompanied simply by strings and a hand drum or two. The last track could be a taster for the first track on side 'B' which must be twenty minutes long and is incredible. A stunningly powerful and rough voiced female singer leads the voices of hundreds of shrill young children in a call and response song that's driven along by a group of rhythmic drummers who can really belt it out. They also join in the singing about half way through and then speed it up to a stunning finish. That is followed by another group of drummers on their own and finally winds down with a beautiful unaccompanied chant by a man who must be long dead as it has been re-recorded from an old vinyl record. Who ever he was he could actually sing the music and that takes some doing. BRILLIANCE ETHNIC STYLE. TRACK 8
TRACK 9
TRACK 10
VARIOUS ARTISTS SOUNDS OF SUDAN WCD018 CD 13.65 COL
Superb compilation album from three of Sudan's top male vocalists. From Abdel Gadir Salim comes Umri Ma Bansa, Al Noam Djafani and Maqtool Hawaki Ya Kordofan. From Abdel Aziz El Mubarak comes Afra El-Helwa, Ya Izzana and Ya Marri Bebaitna. Lastly from Mohamed Gubara comes Noora, Guroosh Edjin and Rahiel Gumriyiei.
VARIOUS ARTISTS SOUNDS OF SUDAN WCB002 LP £ 10.00
Abdel Gadir Salim Sounds Of Sudan - Volume One - Songs Fom Kordofan featuring Salim on vocals and oud, Azhari Abdel Gadir on accordion and El Zubeir Mohammed El Hassan on tabla. Superb and a mint copy from 1987. 1. UMRI MA BANSA
2. GHANU YA AKHWANI
3. AL NOAM DJAFANI
4. MAQTOOL HAWAKI YA KORDOFAN
ZIDAN LAW AHEBK EL OMER KOLH MUNS85056 TC 6.50 COL
Great intro with the band tuning up for a live gig. When the music and singing starts its obvious why the crowd is going 'Bananas'. The music is fast and modern yet still traditional with violins forming the basis on which the electric guitar, horns and the drums improvise. Zidan's powerful voice belts out the songs but tends to get a bit lost in the background when the bands in full swing. You'll hear how stunning his voice can be on side 'B' when the band slows down for a bit of a breather. The audience obviously loved it, so did I.


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