Filed under: Sudan
Mirghani began his studies at the Sheikh Amin school, which next to the National Cinema in Khartoum. He completed his education at the Babiker Badri School, where he taught until his retirement in 2008.
Mirghani recorded his first song in 1965 for Sudan Radio. He would go one to record over 200 songs by many famous Sudanese writers. This song, which translates as “You Are Hidden From Me”, was written by Al Sardoleeb and the music was written by Hassan Babaker.
Many thanks to Hany Zaki and Hisham Mayet for the translation.
Catalog number 5577 on Munsphone of Khartoum, Sudan. No further information available.
Filed under: Sudan
While many people debate the superiority of vinyl over compact disc – or vice versa, the true format in many corners of the globe is the cassette. Thought to be extinct, banished like it’s elder cousin the 8 track and replaced by the CD-R, cassettes still remain popular to this day.
Since some countries did not have record industries or pressing plants, the primary way to distribute music was by cassettes that were copied. Only recently has copying CDs has become inexpensive, but dubbing cassettes has always been easy. Also, in many other countries there was a gap between when vinyl was popular and CDs became affordable. And during that time, there is a vast amount of music that was released – some of which you can find on other sites like Awesome Tapes from Africa, Fish Stalls in the Pear River Delta and Monrakplengthai.
Another reason for the continued popularity of cassettes, is that unlike turntables and CD players, tape decks can usually take more abuse – especially while in use. They also tend to be more affordable than the other machines. And while cassettes themselves can be temperamental, they do hold up to the elements fairly well compared against other formats.
Cassettes are still available online and in shops around the world. Recently while in Singapore and Indonesia, every music shop that I visited had cassette racks – many of which were copies on blank 60 minute tapes. And online, you can find many releases, including Omar Khorshid’s first album, which has never been issued on disc.
If you have any information about Sedeek Metwaly (also seen transliterated as Sadek Metwaly) or the Munsphone label, please contact me. You can find another track (as well a couple of Alèmayehu Eshété tunes) over at Yawning and Balafon.
Catalog number MUNS 602-86075 on Munsphone of Sudan, no other information available.
Filed under: Sudan
Sudanese music is based on the pentatonic scale: scale with five notes to the octave, like the black notes in the piano (in contrast to an heptatonic, seven note, scale like the gypsy or Egyptian scale). It is similar to the Scottish, Chinese and Puerto Rican music. Celtic folk music, American blues music also utilize the pentatonic scale music. Well, here… I’ll let Abdel Karim El Kabli explain.
Contemporary Sudanese music might be a potpourri of diverse traditions, but it has emerged as a unique blend, with a character all of its own. It is rooted in the madeeh (praising the Prophet Mohamed in song). The genre filled out into something quite irreverent in the 1930s and 1940s when Haqibah music, the madeeh’s secular successor, caught on. Haqiba, a predominantly vocal art in which the musicians accompanying the lead singer use few instruments, spread like wildfire in the urban centres of Sudan. It was the music of weddings, family gatherings and wild impromptu parties. Haqibah drew inspiration from indigenous Sudanese and other African musical traditions in which backing singers clapped along rhythmically and the audience joined in both song and dance. The lead singer’s incantations induced a trance-like experience in which spectators swayed along to the rhythm of the beat. The Sudanese music influence can also be heard in neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Eritrea.
Musical instruments in Sudan vary from chordophone instrument such as tambour which is the most common instruments used throughout Sudan. Rabbabah (a stringed bowl-shaped lyre. Its strings determine the available pitches, and its tone depends on the musician playing technique. Bowing, plucking or strumming will yield a harmonious rhythm), um kiki (woodwind instrument) other kinds of such instruments used in Ingasna (now known as New Sudan) and Kassala regions. Percussion instruments such as drums are also common in the Sudan, the nuggara (west Sudan) the taar (Northern and Eastern Sudan) and the dalouka (Eastern and Central) are all names of drums. Sudanese play also other instruments such as lute or oud, as well as western instruments especially in modern Sudanese pop-music, such as accordions, saxophones, electric guitars, basses, violins, banjos are often used.
Abdel Karim El Kabli was born in 1933 in Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast, moving to Khartoum at the age of 16 to attend Khartoum Commercial Secondary School. Having taught himself first the penny-whistle and then the oud and shetern (small drum), he would eventually go on to study Sudanese folk music and Arabic poetry at the University of Khartoum. Although he took a position as a courts inspector for the clerical division of the Sudanese judiciary, following his graduation, he continued to be fascinated by music.
El Kabli first gained popularity, when he wrote Sukkar, Sukkar (Sugar, Sugar) in 1962, a take on the Twist, the dance craze he had just encountered in England, and which he claimed could be traced back to the Zār ritual in Sudan. Soon after his success, he went to live in Saudi Arabia for a few years in the late 1970s. Having found financial security but little creative impulse he returned to Sudan, his primary source of inspiration.
His role in rediscovering and collecting Sudanese folklore has since brought invitations to lecture at academic institutions and perform at cultural events in many countries. Although like most Sudanese his songs are mainly about love, his lyrics increasingly tackle issues of social and human concern. The avuncular poet, composer and folklorist, now in his mid-sixties, has become a walking encyclopaedia of the musical heritage of north, east and central Sudan. El Kabli embraces both colloquial and classical styles, and is equally beloved by academics and ordinary Sudanese. Gifted with a finely-pitched audio memory, which allows him to learn songs after hearing them only a few times, he has built a repertoire of hundreds of traditional Sudanese songs.
Catalog number 1004 A_B… No record company listed. Produced by Levon Keshishian, who was an Armenian working for the United Nations as correspondent of the Sudan News Agency. No other information available.