Posts Tagged ‘sudan’

Album Review | Top of the World | Alsarah & the Nubatones – Silt

Posted on June 16th, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Alexandra Petropoulos


Sudanese soul sister sings songs of return

While US-based Sudanese singer Alsarah appeared on our radar last year with her work as part of the Nile Project, as well as her duo album with French producer Débruit, Silt is her debut with her own band, The Nubatones. Both of those previous projects drew on themes of migration and displacement, and these are the major themes here too. Silt has its musical roots in the Nubian ‘songs of return’ in particular, which started appearing in 1970 after thousands of Nubians were displaced by flooding from the Aswan Dam. The songs voice a longing and nostalgia for home or place, much like the idea of saudade in fado.

The album kicks off with the soulful traditional song ‘Habibi Taal’, which is followed by the original ‘Soukura (It’s Late)’, a sultry yet funky number with a grooving bass line that is the album’s highlight. There are several other outstanding traditional tracks such as ‘Nuba Noutou’ and the eerily ambient ‘Jibal Alnuba’. But it’s the original tracks that make the album really shine, including ‘Fugu (Shams Alhurria)’ with its plucky synth sound, and the beautiful ‘Oud Solo’ performed by Haig Manoukian, which sounds all the more poignant due to the sad news of Manoukian’s death in early April. Creating something fresh yet timeless and imbued with a sense of nostalgia, Silt is an excellent album that perfectly captures the essence of what Alsarah describes as ‘East African retro pop.’

Track to Try: ‘Soukura (It’s Late)’

logo-Amazon-uk logo-iTunes-Download

Tags: , , , .

Backpage from Khartoum, Sudan

Posted on March 21st, 2012 in Recent posts by .

In our current issue (#83 April/May 2012) Tim Cumming reports on the changing live music scene in Khartoum, Sudan (read more on p106). Tim has been kind enough to share some of his videos from his trip.

Words by Tim Cumming

Sam Lee and Friends perform with Omar Ihsas, Saul Einsenberg and Dr Manal Eldin  
Filmed in a single take during a break from rehearsals under the shade of a huge neem tree in the garden of The Traditional House of Arts, Sam Lee sat with Omar Ihsas, a famous singer from Darfur and Dr Manal Eldin, a pharmacist by profession, a singer from Khartoum with the most clear and beautiful voice. The three of them improvised this stunning performance of a hare-coursing song that met midway between Sudanese and British folk traditions, with Saul Eisenberg on his gas canister and the three singers trading verses in different languages and on the same melody. They’d repeat it on stage the following night.


Sufi Dancers in Khartoum
Filmed in front of the tomb of Sheikh Hamid al-Nil as the sun sets on Khartoum on a Friday night, a crowd of several hundred Sufi worshippers circle a square of burnt ochre earth. Dancers sweep up and down through the middle, while others circle the square or stand at the edges, rocking back and forth until – as if they have stepped through some invisible gate – they begin to turn, faster then faster again.


Sudan’s Got Talent
Halfway through Sam Lee and Friends’ closing number, a young Sudanese girl climbs onto the stage to cut these outrageously good moves for a minute then, with a nonchalant wave of her hand, slips back down the steps into the audience, which swallows her up with a cathartic release of applause. A brave and political act is wrapped up in that impulsive stepping up to the stage. It is, very probably, the most beautiful and brave dance I have ever seen.


You can watch more of Tim Cumming’s videos on his Vimeo page

Tags: , , , , , , , .

The Nile Project

Posted on January 27th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

Having dedicated so much time and effort to our Music and Social Change special issue, we’ve been paying particular attention to interesting music projects that aim to do more than just create good music.

One such project recently brought to our attention is the Nile Project, created by Ethiopian-American singer and TED Senior Fellow Meklit Hadero and Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis.

The project aims to connect the various people of the Nile, sharing music and culture. According to their Kickstarter campaign, ‘loosely based on the Silk Road Project, the Nile Project is a multicultural musical platform that will bring together hip-hop and traditional musicians living in the Nile countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt) to play and record music, to tour down the river and its source lakes on a boat made of recycled water bottles, and to share an experience that will connect the peoples of the river.

At the moment the project is looking for supporters of their Kickstarter campaign, which ends next week. The money they raise will cover their scouting trip to connect with musicians and eventually create the Nile Project All Stars. If they raise more than the $10,000, they will create a residency for the Nile Project musicians, to record and distribute the CD and tour around the world.

Check out their Kickstarter campaign here and watch the video below to hear more from Meklit and Mina.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .