03/02/2008

Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim - Ceasefire (2005)

«The old meets the new, and Northern & Southern Sudan are united, briefly, in this fine offering. Abdel G. Salim is one of the old-guard Sudanese oud players from even before the civil war. That war put an end to most of the music in the country and is still going on in the worst display of international ineptitude in the face of genocide since Rwanda. Salim suffered more than being silenced when he was stabbed by some fundamentalist who wanted to wipe out music in Khartoum. Emmanuel Jal is one of the child soldiers press-ganged into the Liberation army on the other side of the conflict and trained to kill by the age of 8. Children have no fear and make ideal soldiers, as the various fighting factions in the world have discovered. After a failed assault on Juba, thousands of these child soldiers set out to walk to the Upper Nile region they had started from but most perished on the way. Hunger, thirst, disease and animal attacks led to cannibalism & the decimation of their ranks till only a handful made it back. During a ceasefire, when he was 11, Jal met an international aid worker from UK who snuck him in her baggage to Kenya and saw that he was enrolled in school […]. Jal has grown up a bit and turned rapper and his songs are about his experiences. He is now a spokesman for the campaign to stop the recruitment of child soldiers but it's rather a moot point.

The Merdoum All Stars, Salim's band, add their funky sax and guitar to the young rapper's songs while his posse, the Reborn Warriors, get to throw down during the Merdoum pieces. (Merdoum is a 6/8 beat from Western Sudan's desert.) The result is not chaos but a great mix around the central theme of "Peace." The opener "Aiwa (Yes)" is a strong blend of rap over a thudding backbeat that reminded me a little of On-U Sound but overlain with atmospheric flute, xylophone and arabic bass rather than reggae bass. The first two tracks flow well together like a mini hip-hopera, but then we arrive at the familiar terrain of the Merdoum All Stars: accordion, hand-percussion and soothing vocals. Just when you get mellowed by the Merdoum kings, Jal drops his big one on you: track 6, "Gua," which has already appeared on the Rough Guide To Sudan, and went to Number One on the East African charts in September 2004. The word means "good" in Nuer and "power" in Arabic. […] A great encounter and a ray of hope for Sudan.» (Muzikifan)

Link in comments

5 comments:

Radu said...

http://sharebee.com/2ce45008

moorspede said...

Thank you, I look forward to hearing this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this present

Sakke said...

Humple thanks ;)

Sagna said...

Emmanuel is amazing. Thanks!