Sudan mourns musical icon Mohammed Wardi, dies at age 80

Posted: February 19, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Sudan
Tags: , , , , ,

Sudan mourns musical icon Wardi

By Ian Timberlake (AFP) – 

Mourners carry the body of Wardi, who returned from self-imposed exile in 2002 (AFP, Ebrahim Hamid)

KHARTOUM — Sudan mourned on Sunday the death of musical icon Mohammed Wardi, a former prisoner who spent years in self-imposed exile but who died on home soil after seeing his beloved nation divided.

“Mohammed Osman Wardi, Sudan’s lead singer, passed away… in Khartoum,” the official SUNA news agency said in a brief dispatch.

Wardi was born in 1932 on the island of Sawarda in far-northern Sudan. He began singing at the age of five, had his first hit in 1960, and still filled a Khartoum concert hall on New Year’s Eve 2010, when he was carried on stage for a rare show in his twilight years.

“Everybody in Sudan loves Mohammed Wardi,” a man from the western Darfur region said.

The Sudanese political activist group Girifna wrote in an online post that it “is saddened by the death of one of Sudan’s revolutionary icons.”

President Omar al-Bashir, cabinet ministers and musicians were among thousands who gathered to pay their respects to Wardi early Sunday when he was buried at a central Khartoum cemetery.

Wardi had gone into self-imposed exile shortly after Bashir, an army officer, seized power in a 1989 coup backed by Islamists.

The singer moved to Egypt and then Los Angeles to receive medical treatment for kidney trouble.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese greeted him at the airport when he first returned in 2002, vowing no retreat from the leftist views often heard in his moving songs.

“I am a human being, and every human being is against dictatorship and I will continue to denounce it,” he told AFP in June 2002.

“The atmosphere does not encourage creation. Freedom is essential to the blossoming of art.”

He said he did not regret the time he spent in detention under former president Gaafar al-Nimeiry, who took power in 1971 after a three-day communist coup which Wardi applauded. The singer was jailed for 18 months.

Wardi sang patriotic as well as romantic songs about the Nile River and everyday Sudanese life in Arabic and his native Nubian dialect Halfawi.

Just over a year ago, he told AFP that the 2005 peace deal which ended 22 years of civil war with southern Sudan had encouraged his return with hope for “the unity of all Sudan.”

But, speaking with sadness just before South Sudan voted overwhelming for independence, he said he had been singing about a united nation for more than five decades and he hoped “that even if south Sudan chooses secession, one day it will reunite with the north”.

The South became independent last July.

Political analyst Magdi El Gizouli wrote in a tribute that Wardi “will be missed”, not only in Sudan but around the region.

“His legacy… extends beyond music,” Gizouli said.

He recalled hearing Wardi’s songs over loudspeakers as a school student and said the lyrics “were probably a primer in political education.”

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hmTXnGjVm9Ph6XMb17K6RlycKDMQ?docId=CNG.0da26a67d1722e0e7b5d87bdd30d9048.3c1

Iconic Sudanese singer Mohammed Wardi, who popularized Nubian music, dies at age 80

By Associated Press, Updated: Sunday, February 19

KHARTOUM, Sudan— Famed Sudanese singer Mohammed Osman Wardi, who popularized the music of his native Nubia, died Saturday at the age of 80, the state media reported.The reports said the singer died of kidney complications in a Khartoum hospital. His funeral early Sunday was aired live on state television, despite his strained relation with the country’s Islamist government.
Wardi, who hailed from Sudan’s northern region of Nubia, played traditional instruments such as the stringed oud and the tambour drums but also sang to more modern instrumental arrangements. He is credited with pioneering a focus on the musical accompaniment of his pieces, as opposed to earlier generations of singers who concentrated on vocals and lyrics.His repertoire included love songs as well as more politicized pieces favoring Sudanese independence and later uprisings against military regimes in 1964 and 1986.He was associated with Sudan’s political left. He went into exile following the 1983 imposition of Islamic law codes by then-President Gaafar Numeiri, but returned to Sudan in the last decade, still keeping his distance from the government.His fame extends to neighboring African countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/iconic-sudanese-singer-mohammed-wardi-who-popularized-nubian-music-dies-at-age-80/2012/02/19/gIQA7Fz5MR_story.html

Associated Press

 
Iconic Sudanese singer Mohammed Wardi dies

Sunday, February 19, 2012

(02-19) 03:15 PST KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) –

Famed Sudanese singer Mohammed Osman Wardi, who popularized the music of his native Nubia, died Saturday at the age of 80, the state media reported.

The reports said the singer died of kidney complications in a Khartoum hospital. His funeral early Sunday was aired live on state television, despite his strained relation with the country’s Islamist government.

Wardi, who hailed from Sudan’s northern region of Nubia, played traditional instruments such as the stringed oud and the tambour drums but also sang to more modern instrumental arrangements. He is credited with pioneering a focus on the musical accompaniment of his pieces, as opposed to earlier generations of singers who concentrated on vocals and lyrics.

His repertoire included love songs as well as more politicized pieces favoring Sudanese independence and later uprisings against military regimes in 1964 and 1986.

He was associated with Sudan’s political left. He went into exile following the 1983 imposition of Islamic law codes by then-President Gaafar Numeiri, but returned to Sudan in the last decade, still keeping his distance from the government.

His fame extends to neighboring African countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.

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Comments
  1. Adams says:

    Kullu NAFSIN Za’iqatul Maut.
    May his soul rest in peace,
    Ameeeeeen.

    Like

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