Sudanese culture in the museum

This video is called Brides of the Nile dancing the Sudanese Bridal Dance.

Today, there was music and dancing from Sudan in the museum.

First, by the Cultural Nubian Club in the Netherlands.

Then, by Faiza ‘Issa’s wedding singers from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

An introduction in the beginning said that most people know Sudan only because of war in Darfur. While it is a country with a long history and rich culture.

The Cultural Nubian Club in the Netherlands is an organisation in The Hague of migrants from Sudan. They did songs and dancing from traditional weddings in Nubian villages in Sudan.

Nubia, the border region in southern Egypt and northern Sudan, has a long history. Sometimes, it was conquered by ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Somertimes, it conquered Egypt, and its kings became pharaohs of Egypt as well.

Its culture had some similarities with ancient Egypt: pyramids were built; gods worshiped in Egypt were worshiped in Nubia as well. However, we still cannot read ancient Nubian inscriptions.

In late antiquity, Christianity came to Nubia. A few centuries later, Islam. However, some more ancient traditions still survive today in wedding ceremonies. The river Nile and its water play a big role in those ceremonies. Also, according to an article by Shawgie Elhay, distributed in the museum, newlyweds have to pass burning incense seven times from the east to the west. As, according to Nubian tradition, eternal life, the hereafter, is in the west. As was the case in ancient Egypt, where the pyramids and royal tombs were built in the desert to the west of the Nile.

That the performance today was in the entrance hall of the museum, before the Taffeh temple, was interesting, as the Taffeh temple is originally from Egyptian Nubia.

Today, the male Nubian dancers, singers, and musicians (on two tambourines) were in white. Their female counterparts wore black, with bright pink headscarves; except for the woman playing the bridegroom’s mother, who wore a black headscarf and golden jewelry.

After the Nubian group there came two sets by Faiza ‘Issa’s wedding singers from Khartoum. Faiza ‘Issa herself did lead vocals and daluka drum. She wore a long dress and long hair, with no headscarf. Her two backup singers both wore headscarves, one of them with a long dress, the other one with jeans. While a young woman danced to the music, sometimes reaching for a cowboy hat, sometimes for castanets from the dance floor.

From the site of the organizers of today’s performance:

In Sudan it is tradition to honour young brides with a special ceremony only for women. The new bride is required to dance a couple of wedding dances in various, often rather provocative, outfits. A professional wedding singer is usually hired for the occasion. Faiza ‘Issa is one of the most popular wedding singers in Khartoum today. She teaches young brides the special marriage dances and accompanies them during their performance with songs and percussion (daluka). Faiza and her colleagues are also widely known for their tantalising aghani al-banat: ‘girl songs’ sung from a female perspective about such subjects as sexuality and male-female relationships. Utilising various musical styles and influences, the wedding singers’ performances are both traditional, ceremonial and popular in character.

A general strike in Khartoum, Sudan, paralyzed the country and resulted in a military coup against the government of US ally Gaafar an-Nimeiry on April 6, 1985: here.

1 thought on “Sudanese culture in the museum

  1. Government frees 57 Darfur rebels

    Sudan: The government released 57 Darfur rebels on Wednesday, including 50 who had been sentenced to death, under a new truce agreement between the government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

    The JEM promised that it would release government soldiers that it has been holding.

    Khartoum and the JEM signed a truce agreement in Doha on Tuesday after a year of negotiations meant to end seven years of devastating conflict that have killed 300,000 civilians and displaced up to two million, according to UN estimates.


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