Ighd Al-Jalad: Sudan's Motown Band? - عقد الجلاد.

Ready for more Sudanese music?
Yes, indeed!

This time we're not going to stray far from 'band' sounds of Sudan, but take a few steps ahead in time to reach the early 80's. A ripe time for Sudan, since those who went off to work in oil-rich Arabian Gulf states (as we've mentioned in the previous post), came back loaded to the gills with whatever boons they toiled hard to get from those oil-choked 'cuntries'.

This meant more money to be spent on private (and public) parties. More fun, that is. Sudanese people are very fun-loving, and ahem, some are really quite the heavy drinkers (and by this I don't mean water, nyet).

All and all, money constitutes a great part in what keeps musicians going on. Music in 80's Sudan witnessed the most prolific era in regards to popular artists and bands like this one: Ighd Al-Jalad (Arabic: عقد الجلاد, or 'The Rope Necklace': a famous skin-made necklace worn by women in a province called 'Al-Jourtough' in Sudan. The skin is usually taken from a gazelle, or sometimes from a wild-cat that has a musk-gland. It's known to smell sweeter with age). The band's name is rather quaint in all honesty: it's about a woman's necklace when the band is predominantly male
Moreover, the band itself is a mystery to many Sudanis, and most know next to nothing about it as it had frequent lineup changes, sometimes dwindling to just four members, and other times... to a howling twelve!
Ighd Al-Jalad in their early years. Early 80's.
Like Al-Balabil, they were a chorus-based band. Group sounds in Sudan were much needed because there were an abundance of solo singers and performers (both, male and female) in the late 70's. Ighd Al-Jalad had singers from both sexes maybe not in an equilibrium, but even that was set to balance by the strong, over-whelming lead 'power-voice' of one of its female singers; namely Manal Badir-Aldin. The other females were Hawa Adam Al-Mansouri who came from Ferqat Al-Samandal ('The Salamander Band')  which was mainly an instrumental band, and Amal Al-Nour.
The Ighd Al-Jalad Band in a cheerful pose.
They started around early 1984, gathering some lyrics to put to music led by the effortless Osman Al-Naou (bass guitarist and literally, its beating heart), taking their time to ripen and 'sweeten' for a handful of years until they've become well-known around the 80's pop music scene. In December, 1985 they'd their first T.V. debut on national Sudanese television, and ever since that day, their public hafla invitations and live acts are still at a good go.
Complete early line-up of Ighd Al-Jalad with best guesses at some of the unknown members' pictures.

This band was unlike any in Sudanese music history, because they broke some of the old rules, and invented more complex rhythms introducing some brave attempts at proto-dub music sometimes. The instruments were too many to care to count, but the main-stays were the lead and bass electric guitarspercussion section consisting of the ever-present lap bongos, 'two' electric organs (wowsa!), and the charismatic accordion. Oh! Almost forgot! Fadamn! And the Oud!
The band pointedly was a progressive band minus the rock-moniker. They took a different path later on in their career, and popularized madayeh, or adulatory songs sung specifically for the Muslim Prophet, Mohammed. Then becomeafter a series of quittance and changes more an entertainment band which can be seen in their perma-blue uniforms shirts.
They still are as sweet as they've started, though. Their music and old songs known to each and every Sudanese whether they are far from their much-beloved home, or close. I do like the older songs, of course without the saw-buzz Korg-y of modern Arabic pop music. In the link below you are to get a glimpse at their wonderful old songs, the same as you did for Al-Balabil:

18 songs in their entirety (I've more, but wanted to up the same number count as that of Al-Balabil's post, even shared the file as a sub within theirs just to make it a blissful experience for all), Ighd Al-Jalad has more than maybe 120 songs known to exist.

Do enjoy ma brathas and sistahs!



No comments: