By Philip Thon Aleu
July 20, 2009 (BOR TOWN) – A local artist sang for leisure-seeking residents of Bor Town on Sunday night, boasting in one song that Abyei is southern territory.
- Musicians in Bor town on July 19, 2009; Aluel Dhol Deng (left) and Johnson Jock Lal (right).
Johnson Jock Lal, who was born in Khorfulus, Jonglei State, is on the first ever tour to capital Bor Town. He was accompanied by Aluel Dhol Deng, a developing female artist from Aweil in Northern Bhar-el Ghazal. Ms. Aluel attracted a tremendous crowd of young people when her song lauded her home town to this end: a music talent from Mading Aweil to be enjoyed Mading Bor.
For Johnson, who had sold thousands of albums in the Dinka and Arabic languages, his presence here was a long-awaited. Hundreds of people gathered at While Nile Hotel at dusk for the entertainment that ended just past midnight. With the entry fees of 10 Sudanese Pounds, most young people made it to see Mr. Johnson who had composed liberation, love and unity songs for among the Southern Sudanese and beyond.
At the sideline of the night dance, Johnson, 33, told the Sudan Tribune that he composed his first song ten years ago in 1999, but had kept many songs to himself while 13. Married with children, Mr. Johnson described his talent as inborn, but he says that fellow Southern artists like John Kudusay, Nyankol Mathiang and Gordon Kong motivate him further.
“I usually chat with them and I like their songs,” he said when asked of close friends who inspire his work.
The artist Nyankol, who has inspired Mr. Johnson, was born in the contested oil-rich region of Abyei. She composed songs that sought clarification from Southern leaders for why Abyei was left out of Southern Sudan even though it is a Dinka land. Johnson seconded this in his song that Abyei really is a Dinka land. The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is to rule on Wednesday, July 22 on whether Abyei is a southern territory.
The music industry is highly admired by young people who grew up in exile during the war but home productions are less popular. However, having one event at night in Bor Town, where deeply rooted cultural norms reject such entertainments, attracted all ages of people. Foreign tapes are highly preferred by youths but the elderly and villagers always prefer local musicians.
Typically, local artists dwell on themes of liberation and traditional division of people with each tribe or clan claiming superiority in bravery and such sorts of thing.