Mohammed Wardi, a singing (and tambour playing) legend from Nubian Sudan, had been singing and playing for some 40 years at the time of this album, but one can hardly tell of such an age by his sound. He recites poetry to song, along with a line of instruments from both the east and west.
His arrangements involve the use of multiple rhythms on the various drums, along with the occasional electric blues playing by his guitarists.
The highlight of the album, apart from the tightly packed instrumental lines, is Wardi's own quavering vocals, which fill each and every song with a quality and power rarely heard in the West. The love songs can evoke a response despite the language barrier, and that's really quite something to look for in a recording.
Mohammed Wardi, who recorded more than 300 songs in the 60s and 70s--to the best of my knowledge, none of them are available. excellent album. It makes sense that the album Live in Addis Ababa, 1994, was recorded in Ethiopia, as there are plenty of similarities the music shares with the sounds of this nearby country, but Wardi's gorgeous, high-pitched voice sounds more Arabic. He fronts a great, string-laden 18-piece band.
In 1991 he left his war-torn country and took exile in Cairo. I believe these days he lives in Los Angeles, where he has performed a couple of times--but for the most part he's inactive. He did some sessions in LA in 1999, rerecording many of his old songs, but they've never been released. I assume that the mess in Sudan these days precludes any imminent effort to reissue his classic recordings, but hopefully one day we'll get to hear the stuff.
This album is a great introduction into the world os Sudanese rhythms that will surely make your spirit smile. The strength of the indigenous music holds this album together, and while the synthesized background textures and drum machine are sure to please the afropop fan in you, I am also eagerly awaiting a raw, ethnic release from Blue Nile.
Sudanese-American producer Mohamed Elomrabi calls this "Sudanese pop music" but I am struck by the album's jazz feel. Either way, Rhythms of Sudan's contagious sounds will point our musical curiosity toward this fascinating culture