Reports: Music in Sudan

Early days
Modern urban music in Northern Sudan began taking shape between the 1920s and 1940s. Regarded by some as the father of contemporary Sudanese music, singer Khalil Farah was also prominent in the independence movement. Ibrahim al-Abadi (1894-1980) found new ways of wedding poetry to music, regarded as unorthodox at the time. Other early singer-songwriters included Mohammed Ahmed Surur, Al-Amin Burhan, and Abdallah Abdel Karim, better known as Karoma, who was the most prolific, writing over 400 songs.

The Sudanese Graduates' Congress used a song entitled "Sahi ya Kanaru" ("Wake Up, Canary") to spread resistance to British rule. Since then, many others have used the image of a beautiful creature, woman, or lover to refer obliquely to their country, and have stirred feelings sufficiently powerful to get the author jailed, sometimes. Translations, of course, rarely capture these allusions.

All that jazz