Mohammed Wardi

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Before turning to music, Mohamed Wardi was a school teacher; it is a profession he has never truly left behind as he seeks to inform and educate through his powerfully political lyrics. Typically enough,…
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Before turning to music, Mohamed Wardi was a school teacher; it is a profession he has never truly left behind as he seeks to inform and educate through his powerfully political lyrics. Typically enough, his first musical success came with a single deploring CIA complicity in the assassination of Congolese politician Patrice Lumumba in 1960, and he has continued -- through more than 300 songs -- to sing strongly of the state of this embattled nation.

Following the lead of the Sudanese poet, Mahjoub Sharif, Wardi often adopts the extended metaphor of nation-as-woman, with its rich array of connotative meanings and capacity to bear multiple meanings, something that musicians often feel called upon to practice in the wake of extensive state repression and censorship. Veiled meanings could not help Wardi's nephew, however, who was one of several army officers executed in 1990 on charges of treason. Feeling increasingly pressured, and terrorized by his nephew's death, Wardi fled, in 1990, to Egypt where he has continued to record and perform. He also took time to tour Britain in 1992. Wardi's recent recordings definitely betray a more Egyptian sound, but it is as a political hero of the Sudan that he will always be remembered.