Abdel Karim Al Kabli

North Sudan

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Abdel Karim Al Kabli's bio

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Abdel Karim Al Kabli, the encyclopedia of Sudanese music

Originally from Sudan, Abdel Karim Al Kabli was born in 1933 in Port Sudan, on the banks of the Red Sea. At the age of sixteen, he packed his bags and went to Khartoum, where he studied at a business school.

By then he became interested in music and learned by himself to play the penny whistle (vertical flute with six holes used in the British Isles music). He was also introduced to the lute and shetern.

He wanted to study Sudanese folk music and Arabic poetry at the University of Khartoum, but got oriented to Sudanese justice system inspection. Despite this choice, he was still fascinated by music.

Al Kabli begins to gain popularity when he wrote Sukkar, Sukkar (Sugar, Sugar) in 1962, a song inspired by the Twist, which he discovered during a trip to England. The artist believed that a mix of both styles, Twist and Zar is quite possible.

Shortly after this success, Al Kabli established to Saudi Arabia where he lived for several years until about 1970. Even if he found some form of financial security, he began loosing his creativity. That's why he returned to his homeland hoping to retrieve inspiration.

Al Kabli played a key role in the promotion of Sudanese folklore. He is regularly invited to give lectures in academies but also in international cultural events. Most of the Sudanese like his style for his songs evoke mainly the themes of love, society and humanity.

At 60, the poet, composer and folklorist, is considered as a living encyclopedia of the musical heritage of Sudan. The achievement of Al Kabli was to have gathered a huge amount of information about modern, classic and popular music styles.

With an extremely fine musical ear, he can learn a song after listening to it only once or twice. He composed a repertoire counting hundreds of Sudanese traditional songs performing regularly around the world.

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