Women in Northern Sudan are the keepers of the popular aghani al-banat, or girl's music, which plays as an interactive soundtrack to the many festive events in Sudan. Amongst the diverse music genres in Sudan, aghani al-banat with its tongu-in-cheek playful style has managed to flourish in midst of a repressive regime continuously evolving and adding to its unparalleled popularity. Though aghani al-banat is native to Central Sudan, it has taken on a uniquely cosmopolitan influence, as it has become a mainstay in Khartoum, the largest city and cultural center of Sudan.
Traditionally, aghani al-banat is performed during the Henna night and the Subhia, two parts to the wedding festivities by an Alghenaia, an accomplished female singer with a strong voice; she accompanies herself on a daluka--a clay-bodied drum covered in goat skin. An Alghenaia also teaches brides-to-be formal dances the brides will perform during festivities prior to their wedding night. Because aghani al-banat is composed of a simple beat and vocals, it has been easily passed down from one generation to the next through oral traditions whilst surviving economic and social hardships.
As part of my music, I hope to bring you some highlights from this repertoire in a new arrangement. With the Oud and percussion in hand, I will try to present a new perspective on the past originality of aghani al-banat along with new material celebrating women in that genre.