Home | News    Saturday 24 June 2006

Nubians use hip-hop to preserve culture

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

June 23, 2006 (NAIROBI) — On a recent night in downtown Nairobi, beneath a nightclub’s orange neon lights and spinning disco ball, dozens of descendants of Africa’s ancient Nubian tribe gathered in full regalia to perform traditional music.

But the crowd, who turned out in force for Nubian Night, was not there just for a glimpse into the past. About an hour into the concert, the vibe switched from plaintive drumming and chanting to loud, explosive hip-hop.

The concert was designed for Nubians in Kenya — there are believed to be 200,000 of them here — to keep their traditions alive and relevant by fusing them with modern sensibilities.

"In every community, the culture is getting lost," said Yousouph Noah, a 26-year-old rapper who helped organize the concert. "I grew up in this community so I have the knowledge of traditional music. But I just combined it with the music of the younger people, hip-hop."

Nubians came to Kenya from Egypt and Sudan after serving with the British Army in the King’s African Rifles regiment during World War I. The British then settled them in what is now a sprawling Nairobi slum, Kibera, a maze of dwellings topped by rusting iron roofs. Noah lives in Kibera.

"I am using my popularity. All the youth, they listen to me," said Noah, who goes by the name Refigah, the Nubian word for friend, and performs in Arabic with a bit of Swahili.

Many reminders of the ancient civilization of Nubia — located in today’s Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan — were nearly lost with the construction of Egypt’s Aswan High Dam, which was completed in 1971 about 425 miles south of Cairo. The dam forced tens of thousands of Nubians to leave the land that now lies under the dam’s huge reservoir.

Incorporating traditional beliefs into modern music isn’t new - Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo has been incorporating traditional African sounds into her music for years, and Muslim musicians such as the group Native Deen from the Washington, D.C., area, or Capital D from Chicago have espoused traditional Islamic messages.

The Nubian Night performers, some of whom were Muslim, didn’t carry a religious message — the concert was held at a bar with free-flowing alcohol, which is forbidden under Islam, and one performer was trailed by three scantily clad women while audience members hooted and handed him money.

Noah is Muslim, but knows not all Nubians are, and said the raucous atmosphere of Nubian Night was just part of melding old and new traditions. "I don’t drink alcohol and all that, but I don’t have any problem with" performing in a bar, he said.

(AP)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Why SPLM should not be a political party? 2014-10-27 08:00:25 By John Adoor Deng October 27, 2014 - Many people who have the focus in South Sudanese politics, these days have been bombarded with many coined Acronyms around SPLM. Truthfully, it has been a (...)

World’s newest nation has unprecedented opportunity to end sexual violence in conflict 2014-10-17 21:34:44 By Zainab Hawa Bangura October 17, 2014 - As United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, I completed my first trip to South Sudan last (...)

Celebrate the golden jubilee of the October 1964 Sudanese revolution 2014-10-17 21:34:32 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman October 17, 2014 - Despite the dearth and lack of what needs celebration and rejoice in the reign of the National Congress Party (NCP) regime led by the tyrant genocidal (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


Sudan Democracy First Group condemns wave of arbitrary arrests in Sudan 2014-09-25 05:17:35 Sudan Democracy First Group 25 September 2014 - In a desperate attempt to prevent a series of events commemorating the victims of the September 2013 protests, Sudan’s notorious National (...)

HRW calls on UN rights body to press Sudan to investigate murder of peaceful protesters 2014-09-24 21:24:09 Human Rights Watch One Year On, No Justice for Protester Deaths (Geneva, September 23, 2014) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should call on Sudan to account immediately for the death (...)

Hundreds walk for peace in South Sudan 2014-09-23 08:30:16 National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR) PRESS RELEASE Juba, 21 September 2014 - Hundreds of people took to the streets of the South Sudan capital Jubato ‘Walk for Peace’and demand (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.