This research will highlight the best Musicians during and before war struggle against the Sudanese regime and how their music inspired the entire population to excel from the total debilitation to emancipation. The effort taken by them inspired and paved ways for South Sudanese. However, some of them were threatened, killed by Sudanese government whilst some seek asylum in foreign countries due to domestic masses they engaged in music about the suffering of southern Sudanese (now South Sudan).
The contribution they had exhausted gave south Sudanese soldiers momentum to perpetually fight for their freedom.Most of them sang in their mother tongues though it was hard for other tribes to understand the language and the message. It takes a lot for an artist to truly register in the popular imagination and earn a reputation for being famous, becomes veteran and etc,… (Though that designation is applied far more casually in the art world itself). The truth is, to be renowned as an artist (veteran) means that your work has stood the test of time, boldly and rationally without fear in most times needed, and that’s true for the figures mentioned here.
Here is the list below
1. Nyankol Mathiang
Commonly known as Theresa Nyankol Mathiang Dut. She is South Sudanese from Abyei who started her music in the late 60s. Nyankol started recording four songs in Dinka in the 1960s and that was her first appearance in the Music Industry with her friend Anok who was later killed in bloodshed the by the Sudanese government. “She was a freedom fighter using her musical talent to educate people of South Sudan politically and culturally as early as the 1960s. She first recorded her first song in Radio Juba and Omdurman in Khartoum. Her songs became popular revolutionary’s songs in SPLA frontlines in southern Sudan. She learned both Arabic and English before being taken to Canada by Late Dr. John Garang. She has a beautiful voice with the song title” why Abyei Left out?”
She died on 24 Sept 2012 in Juba.
2. Emanuel Kembe
Emanuel Kembe is outstanding South Sudanese from Wau who sings in both English and Arabic languages. His music is very popular countrywide and he is known for being one of the best musicians of all times with his 2011 song titled” Let’s us Celebrates”. Nevertheless, Kembe music will go down in History as inspiration to the youth and dedications to all the heroes and heroines whose blood has cemented our national foundation.
3. John Kudusay
Known on stage as John Kudsay, Ngong Longar Mou from former Northern Bhar El Ghazal started his music career in the 1980s when he was an SPLA soldier at that time. John Kudsay is an undisputed artist whose voice attracted every audience and revolutionaries artist who’s his songs in the early 2000s predicted what just happened currently in South Sudan. Among his songs was the song title” if we don’t work we shall be moving with money on hands and nowhere to buy food” and the song also in Dinka Language was” if the leadership is given to weak leader then the nation would fall into ocean” however, I’m thinking what does he really mean in his second song in regard to current situation.
4. Emanuel Jal
Born in a Nuer family in the village of Tony Warrap state in the Bahr el Ghazal region of Sudan (now South Sudan), Jal was a young child when the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out. Jal spent several years fighting with the SPLA in Ethiopia, until war broke out there too and the child soldiers were forced back into Sudan by the fighting and joined the SPLA’s efforts to fight the government in the town of Juba. “Many kids there were so bitter, they wanted to know what happened to them. And we all wanted revenge. Through his music, Jal counts on the unity of the citizens to overcome ethnic and religious division and motivate the youth in Sudan. After escaping to Kenya, he fell in love with hip-hop in the way that it identified issues being faced by the neighborhood, which he was able to identify in a unique manner. Although he lacked any music background or knowledge of its history, he felt that hip-hop could provide the easiest and most effective vehicle to express his story and lobby for political change.
5. Akut Kuei
Bol Deng and his friend combine in what was so called Akuei which means “ Group of Eagles.” These two guys sing oral songs in Dinka Language and they sang some of the courageous, dedicating songs of all times in the history of Sudan. Their Motivation support to SPLA/M kept their momentum and struggle to continue fighting against Sudanese government boldly. They advised many South Sudanese in Khartoum to turn out in large numbers to support their brothers and sisters in the front rather than sitting with an enemy in Khartoum. Many people would question how Akut Kuei made it into top five but the reality is that their contribution made a great impact on South Sudan liberation struggle musically.
6. Gordon Kong
This is the guy who shocks everybody with his natural gift talent despite being disabled with no eyesight.However, he is able to sing in English and Arabic but to my surprise is how he learned these two international languages with his disability. He is a Naath (Nuer) born from unity state. His music inspired many people and he will be remembered for his double gift talent.
“Yala ya wathan” this song goes crazy during the war of Panthou, a town in Ruweng State between Sudan and South Sudan in 2011. The song is about the border disputes. This Put Franco among the top best veteran musicians of all time.
Nyanchan is Shilluk born lady from Malakal and she began her music some decade back and she was one of the best singers of good quality music with her sweet voice attraction. Nyanchan portrayed and lectured many south Sudanese not to forget their wherever they go as it is the sign of human roots.
9. Johnson Jok Lal
Johnson Jok is a Dinka Padang from Upper Nile who started his music early 1993 in his town Kourflous. Jok Lal was inspired by his grandfather and uncles who sings traditional cattle songs in his child time. Jok Lual’s interest in Music started in his 20s and he has been outstanding since then. He won the best artist last year in 2017 in Uganda.
9. Andro Bol Deng
“Nyandit Rot wany Karem” – meaning girls who bleach. This undisputed musician of 1980s was known for his critical song which criticized many south Sudanese who abandoned their culture and adopt new culture of bleaching, ignoring their natural skin colour and marketed concept of black colour being a ‘bad colour’. This guy played significant roles during those days in Khartoum and hence yields great impact to south Sudanese culture.
10. Larson Angok Garang.
The Aweilian born talent singer who has boldly stood on his feet to tell leaders who promoted corruption and remained unchanged always. Larson Started his music Careers in 1989. His stunning voice with meaningful songs has held support from masses and this prompted him to be one of the best veteran artists of all time.
In conclusion, Some might negate, criticize the research how I come up with this finding without categorically understand the different between “Best and Veteran” however this made list is investigated for a very long time without tribal cognitive attached nor favoritism in the place. I took time to study them simply because they are our references whose talent and dedication will go down in history.
The researcher is a South Sudanese Student pursuing Bachelor of Science honors degree in statistics and operations research at Great Zimbabwe University.