Sudan's underground musicians turn defiant after uprising - GulfToday

Sudan's underground musicians turn defiant after uprising

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A collection of vinyl records is pictured at the Sudanese English-language Capital Radio.

During the day, Gadoora checks his patients at a clinic near Khartoum, but at night he locks himself in his room rapping songs which echo the sentiments of Sudan's "revolution".

"The revolution broke the long-standing wall of fear," said Gadoora.

"Songs have become much more daring now," added the doctor, who chose to use his stage name.

A surge of freedom has taken over Sudan's underground music scene since the army ousted longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April after months of nationwide protests against his rule.

From rap to afrobeat, musicians living in Sudan and overseas have composed tunes punctuated by some of the protest movement's most popular slogans.

During Bashir's ironfisted rule of three decades, Sudanese rappers had been unable to express themselves openly.

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Ahmad Hikmat, content and programme manager at Sudanese English-language Capital Radio. 

Gadoora, who has been composing music since 2006, had often resorted to metaphors to make political insinuations.

"It's hard to dissociate politics from your daily life," he told AFP at a busy Khartoum cafe.

"No matter how much you try to escape it, it always finds you."

Creative hub

Protesters accuse the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which are part of Sudan's armed forces, for the June 3 bloodshed.

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Sudanese music producer and guitarist Amjad Badr plays the guitar as singer MaMan performs.


Musicians still remember the festive, carnival like atmosphere at the protest camp before the bloodshed.

"The sit-in was a creative hub," said Ahmad Hikmat, content and programme manager at English-language Capital Radio.

"Music and revolution are just one thing," said Hikmat, dressed in a traditional Sudanese robe and cap. 

Peace and justice

For singer MaMan, the sit-in was a replica of a utopian society where "democracy" flourished.

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Music producer and guitarist Amjad Badr plays the guitar at Sudanese English-language Capital Radio in Khartoum.


"What happened in the sit-in is exactly what we want for our life in the future," said the musician, who did not want to give his real name.

"It was like a small Khartoum ... We did music in the middle of the sit-in and then people just gathered around."

With that he sings his song, "Angora", in a deep voice marked by guttural intonations of the Sudanese Arabic dialect. 

MaMan, 28, is still shocked by the death of his friend Mohamed Mattar in the June 3 raid.

"Most of the time all I am thinking about is him," he said.

"It was hard to look at pictures of the martyrs and then you see your friend," MaMan said, describing his shock when he found out that Mattar was killed.

"I kept checking over and over, and it turned out to be him."

Agence France-Presse