A Song in Foreign Tongue – Muhammad Wardi (Sudan)
Mohammed Osman Hassan Salih Wardi (Arabic: محمد عثمان حسن ورد. Born 19 July 1932 – 18 February 2012 ) was a Nubian Sudanese singer and songwriter.
He was born in a small village called Swarda close to Halfa valley in Northern Sudan. His mother, Batool Badri, died when he was an infant. His father, Osman Hassan Wardi, died when he was nine years old. He was brought up in a diverse and culturally rich background and developed an interest in poetry, literature, music and singing. Wardi traveled to Shendi to complete his education, and returned to Wadi Halfa as a secondary school teacher.
In 1953, Wardi went to Khartoum for the first time to attend a convention as a teaching representative for his area. He moved to Khartoum and started his career as a musical performer. In 1957, chose him to record and sing on national broadcast in an arena with legendary singers such as Abdelaziz Mohamed Dauod, Hassan Atia, Ahmed Almustafa, Osman Hussaein and Ibrahim Awad. Wardi recorded 17 songs in his first year. A committee formed by Omdurman Radio’s president that included top singers and songwriters such as AlKashif, Osman Hussaein and Ahmed Almustafa promoted Wardi to highest level as a professional singer. He had a bilateral with a famous poet, Ismail Hassan, resulting in more than 23 songs. Wardi performs using a variety of instruments including the Nubian Tanbur and sings in both Arabic and Nubian languages. He has been described as “Africa’s top singer”, with fans mainly in the Horn of Africa. His songs address topics such as romance, passion, Nubian folklore and heritage, revolution and patriotism with some of his political songs resulting in him being jailed. After the introduction of Evil Sharia rules in 1989 into Sudan’s laws, he left Sudan to voluntary exile in Cairo. He returned in 2003.
Wardi was granted honorary doctorate from the University of Khartoum in 2005 in recognition of his career for more than 60 years and his performance more than 300 song and legend as a Sudanese music.
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