Kamal Tarbas
Kamal Tarbas, now 50, is referred to by admirers as the King of Sudanese Folk Music. He founded the Dar Karoma centre for music in Omdurman in 1985 in honour of Karoma, who pioneered Sudanese popular song from the 1920s to the 1950s. Perhaps because of his earthy populism Kamal Tarbas is dismissed as a vulgarian by those who like their lyrics more elevated in tone. Beyond dispute is his immediately recognisable laid-back voice against revolving tom-tom rhythms and swaying accordion, derived from the hibaaq style and fleshed out in later recordings with strings. At his best when sounding rough-hewn, Tarbas makes one of the classic - if rather static - sounds of modern northern Sudanese music.