Sudanese band forced to flee conflict spreads musical message

In the arid expanse of Port Sudan in the Red Sea, General Kidi and Ganja Farmer take to the stage, delivering their tracks and rap with handheld microphones as the audience responds with enthusiastic applause, dance, and ululations.

The creators of the “Nuba Mountain Sound” band originate from South Kordofan, a southern state that has historically been in rebellion against the government. They relocated to the capital, Khartoum, following the overthrow of dictator Omar al-Bashir during a popular uprising in 2019.

Four years later, these musicians, representing a cultural movement that emerged following Bashir’s removal, were once again compelled to relocate when conflict erupted in Khartoum, pitting the army against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

They are among the over 5 million individuals displaced by the conflict, which has resulted in a significant humanitarian crisis. Paradoxically, this upheaval has provided them with new audiences for their music.

“This war introduced us to many people, those who don’t belong to my tribe. I got to know many people in Sudan,” said 37-year-old Ganja Farmer.

The band, established in 2014 with the aim of celebrating the unique culture of the Nuba Mountains, is actively engaged in hosting workshops that instruct traditional music and dance.

Their songs, delivered in Arabic, English, and local Nubian languages, frequently address social matters, particularly advocating for the rights of children to a brighter future.

General Kidi, aged 29, expressed the aspiration that one day they aim to tour the entire country to disseminate their message.

“We want to deliver the voice of the people of the Nuba Mountains to the rest of the people in Sudan, through music,” he said.

“We show the world that this is Sudan, Sudan is not just war, Sudan has diverse traditions and music. But without peace, these things won’t happen.”

Scroll to Top