First of all, I apologize in advance for my English-writing mistakes; I feel like I have to write this post in English, though. Then, I would recommend you the following soundtrack while reading this post.
A few days ago I went to Alsarah & the Nubatones‘ concert in Yaam, which is one of my favourite spots in Berlin, between Jannowitzbrücke and Ostbahnhof U-Bahn stations. I didn’t know the band, but I must say that I was really excited about it. Nevertheless, as if it’s quite typical of me getting excited pretty easily when it comes to something new, I just took it easy, knowing that it might have disappointed me somehow.
But it didn’t. It really didn’t.
Alsarah is a Sudanese-American singer, songwriter and ethnomusicologist, born in 1982 in Sudan from two human right activists. This is how Wikipedia summarizes her life:
***When she was eight, her family fled the country during the 1989 coup by future president Omar al-Bashir to avoid being killed as dissidents. They then lived in Yemen before fleeing again due to the country’s 1994 civil war. They subsequently arrived in the United States claiming political asylum and settled in Boston. During this turbulent period, she often found solace in music.***
There have been a few moments during the concert in which I got the feeling that her words about languages, ethnicity and borders were just sort of her stream of consciousness, probably due to the uncertainties -euphemistic way of calling them- of her past, and I guess it was exactly what made me feel that hypnotized by her and by their music. In particular, when she claimed that speaking a language as mother tongue doesn’t necessarily mean that you belong to the people by whom that language is mostly spoken -she picked up Arabic as an example- and, above all, when she claimed, kind of amused, that: “Borders are not really… real.”
I just wonder: can something so ephemeral, changeful and relative be truly true?
She said that just before performing Nuba Noutou, a traditional Nuba song. ***Nuba, for those ones -like myself- who didn’t know, is a collective term used for the various indigenous people who inhabit the Nuba Mountains of Kordofan State, in Sudan. Nuba peoples are made up of more than one million individuals speaking over one hundred languages -although many of them also speak Sudanese Arabic, the official language of Sudan, which is, as far as I could understand, the language in which Al-Sarah & The Nubatones sing. ***
During the whole concert, and still, I really wished I could understand Arabic. For now, I will just keep on feeling happy by listening to their wonderful music, and by sharing it with you.