Abdel Aziz el Mubarak
With his apparent fondness for spangled jackets and polished love songs for the ladies, Abdel Aziz el Mubarak sometimes comes across as the Bryan Ferry of Sudanese music, albeit with a better voice. One of Sudan's great international stars - and unlike others, a shrewd businessman - Abdel Aziz comes from a family of musicians and was trained at Khartoum's famous Institute of Music and Drama in the early 1970s. After successes on the radio and television as early as 1975 he went on to become one of the country's best known bandleaders.

From Wad Medani, Abdel Aziz el Mubarak was the first Sudanese artist to play WOMAD, at Glastonbury in 1988, with a dozen musicians romantically resplendent in long white jellabiyas. Next day they appeared at London's Jubilee Gardens wearing tuxedos. His love songs are songs of the city.

 

Every pleasure in the absence of your eyes
Is incomplete and does not touch me.
Every road that does not take me to you
Is a dark road that doesn't deserve the walk.
Darling, all through my life
I have been longing for your smile.
(Abdel Aziz el Mubarak, from "Ya A'asaal" on Straight from the Heart. Tr: Moawia Yassin)
 

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