Tuesday, October 25, 2011

South Sudanese music...brrraaaappp

*****Please note, what started as a meaningful post has just been replaced with self-indulgence******

Seriously World, its not what you think.......

So first, the World's initial exposure to South Sudan is through a Hollywood movie about a white priest who hunts rebels and saves kids, now, the World's first exposure to South Sudanese music is through this guy.......Bangs.

Seemingly a member of the South Sudanese diaspora in Australia, Bangs has recently become yet another internet sensation........ironically. Luckily though, a lot of his videos are made pre-independence and so all the maps of Sudan he refers to on the video is simply, Sudan.......not South-specific (I say this because the North don't need their music industry defending.....it is booming on its own).

And YES, I know you have heard of Emmanuel Jal, but thats because your an aid worker and pride yourself on being down with the exoticness.....thats why you probably have K'naan in your music collection and tell people that you've been listening to him since before the World Cup. Also, Bangs has about 500,000 more hits than Emmanuel Jal.......never underestimate the power of internet trolls.

But Bangs is not the only SS diaspora musician. A quick google search leads you to an array of rather embarrassing amateur videos. Although not all of them are terrible. This is my favourite, though they are in Kenya, so they get a bit more street cred:

 "We love you, Juba we love you...."(I can't make out the rest of the lyrics of the chorus, but it still brings joy to my heart)

And heres one from the US...... I think.

OK, ok, just one more. If you guys used to read the old version of Sudan Tribune that still had the comments section open, you will appreciate this. Ever wonder what happened to Dinka Boy? Well he is now D-Boy:

"I am the Sudanese man, I like the way I am. All I need is freedom, cause Im the Sudanese man"
Instant banger!

I would just like to take this moment to appeal to the World, to not simply write off South Sudanese music based on this one artist. For a country that is still recovering (probably closer to starting from scratch) from the civil war, South Sudan has surprisingly done pretty damn well in establishing its music industry. But those are simply words aren't they? Well, if you have the time to spare, here is a select few South Sudanese (locally produced) tracks that I feel better represents the country. Please note that a lot of the really good tracks are impossible to find on Youtube as they are only available at in Juba.

First, we got a classic tune. This was on loop on South Sudan TV in the lead to the referendum (and NO, not because SSTV didn't really have much material to air at the time!). Emmanuel Kembe:

Not feeling that one? A little bit too slow for your? Try this classic dance tune:

This one goes out to my peacebuilders out there:

Since I have just obviously gone off on a self-indulgent ride of sweet audible Juba memories, here is an brilliant track with a great video from the Sudan Votes album (this whole album is a good introduction to Sudanese pop music). This track is a collaboration with artists from all over the country:

And finally, what better way to say goodbye than to say good bye to the Arabs, "Bye Bye Jalaba"

I actually have a lot more to share. Let me know in the comments section if you are interested.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stuff that could only happen to a new country.....

From Sudan Tribune:

South Sudanese students in India have been unable to renew their passports since the country became independent leaving many stranded, students say.

South Sudanese students, received scholarships from the then government of southern Sudan during the CPA’s interim period (July 2005 – July 2011) to India, used the Sudanese passport. Following South Sudan’s declaration of independence, the students claim that Sudanese embassy is declining to renew expired passports.
“South Sudan[ese] students are frustrated in India...., now stranded and deeply confused,” the students’ letter says.

The students urge South Sudanese authorities to speed up the establishment of the diplomatic mission in Delhi in order to help in this situation adding “something has to be done. We can’t just be like this.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wait (guest post)

Remixed from: Inside Art New Orleans 

The Wait

Prologue: In this (completely fictional) scene from a Juba noir in the making, a private
detective who just survived a scuffle arrives to question South Sudan’s Minister of Finance on
the recent murder of the Minister of Wildlife and Animal Resources.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. There’s a Macy’s Day parade of pain marching through my head
and I’m barely floating.

The office manager’s pals stroll in, more tea is called for, hands are shook, the old, fat Dinka
ministry made men play with their ill-gotten iPhones, laugh and congratulate each other in
Arabic not on a job well done, but on jobs not done at all. Development purgatory.

The cold metal of the flask in my jacket bumps against my chest like an old friend and
I am relieved that for once they did not frisk me before letting me in—there are some
benefits to arriving to see the minster during tea time. Not that anyone has anything
against drink during work hours—it’s just that ever since the assassination there’s been an
acute aversion to unexpected concealed objects, particularly those with which I am most
intimately acquainted.

My thumb unscrews the lid and the whiskey washes over my mouth like Picasso coloring a
canvas. I might as well be wearing a leisure suit.

I know the minister is a busy man and I’m not like advisors who bustle in here expecting
him to rearrange his schedule like Moses parting the Red Sea. I never understood that
really—how this whole damn industry can profess to be there to support, to build, to
strengthen, but at the same time can’t stomach when counterparts don’t play nice, or don’t
play at all. We are here to empower you, as long as you remember your place.

Back in the golden age, the boss man was boss and what he said was the word. I’ve always
been convinced every development professional who takes his work seriously is at heart a
colonialist, or at least romanticizes the notion. After all consultants can only have so much
expertise, so much seniority, before it’s impossible for them to start marching into places
and expecting everyone to do what they say.

Blame it on the system, man. Aid to perpetuate a strategy, a strategy all about the
beneficiary except when it comes to what matters. Donor gets money. Donor spends
money. Consultant gets his danger pay. Counterpart scratches head, yawns. Tale as old as

Seeing a donor designing an aid program is a bit like watching a mad scientist at work,
except without the science. The curtains are drawn, consultants live in a world of
whispers about what’s cooking, and the counterparts go about their business oblivious
and unengaged. Then five years later a small forest has been converted into reports, but
overall everyone is surprised how little is accomplished. But the best people to do the
jobs are not those with new ideas, but the ones who have already done it before with
outstanding mediocrity, so the donors put their heads together, the consultants insinuate
their own plans and personnel into the mix, and the result is another couple millions worth
of incestuous, bastardized programs reshuffling old work the counterpart does not give a
damn about.

Same circus, different clowns, but they don’t realize the joke’s on them. Because while no
one can touch the plan, the scarce resource isn’t dollars, it’s places to put them. Donors
spending and consultants earning, both to advance their careers. And the counterpart
is the prettiest girl at the ball, except instead of a tight, low cut dress what really gets
mouths watering is complete and utter lack of capacity. Counterpart willingness to address
problems is beside the point—you might as well be voting for prom queen based on
personality. The development pie gets baked and split up, and everyone eats except those
who are hungry. Where’s a cigarette when you need one?

Just as my headache’s getting to be too much the minister’s door swings open like the
pearly gates in all their heavenly glamour, and a consultant shakes hands goodbye
unctuously, homage paid by another castrated colonialist.

The minister is the Big Man, the Earth Mother, the end and the beginning. I take one more
long, hard draw, and force myself into a toothy smile.