A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #
Salim, Gadir, Abdel
In a country where nationalist lyrics have been the norm and governmental repression the standard response, Abdel Gadir Salim has stood out as a charismatic, yet resolutely non-political, musician: vibrant, successful, innovative, and widely admired. Abdel Gadir was born in Dilling, in the far west of this country, but started out by writing and performing distinctly urban songs that sounded as if they belonged in Khartoum. He studied both classical European and Arabic music at the Khartoum Institute of Music and started playing oud at the suggestion of a friend. In the early 1970s, he moved away from his city sound and turned back toward the musical culture of his own Kordofan province, playing regional folk songs and celebrations of Kodorfan. Sudan is often called the bridge between Arabia and Africa, and Abdel Gair has taken it as his mission to fuse Arabic and African sounds of the country, taking musical scales and motifs from the former and wild percussion from the latter. The lyrics to his songs (he rarely writes the words himself) address any number of themes ranging from traditional love ballads to educational polemics, although he is always careful to avoid antagonizing the Islamic government. Abdel Gadir sometimes likes to sing alone, but more often than not he keeps the company of his seven-piece backing band, the All-Stars, who count the virtuoso saxophonist Hamid Osman Abdalla among their ranks. A successful musician who has appeared on radio and television, recorded in England, and toured widely, Abdel Gadir still manages to divide his time creatively between music and heading a Sudanese school in Chad. He is perfectly showcased on The Merdoum Kings Play Songs of Love. Leon Jackson