Sudan Mourns Artist Ali Ibrahim Allahaw

Sudan  Mourns Artist Ali Ibrahim Allahaw

By: Rogia al-Shafee


KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Sudanese were saddened by the demise of popular singer Ali Ibrahim (Allahaw) who has died recently in a Cairo hospital.

Hoards of Mourners rushed to join his funeral to the Burri Cemetery in Khartoum after his body was flown from the Egyptian Capital for burial in his home country.

Allahaw had built a wide fan base; marveling in the performance of hamasa (literally enthusiasm and courage) lyric that glorifies bravery and knighthood.

Researcher, University Professor of Arabic Abdallah Hamadnallah says that the hamasa verse in Sudan dates back to the 17th-18th centuries. It is possible that the Abdallab, Jumooiyya and Kawahla ethnic groups had initiated this type of poetry to depict the life history and heroic and noble deeds of their knights and chieftains.

According to Prof. Hamadnallah the Hamasa verses had played a role in achieving victories in battles where women would sing them to encourage the warriors to stand up in the face of the enemy and keep fighting.

Sudan’s hamasa verse history chronicles the names of such famous poetesses as Banoana Bint Almalik Nimir, Um Kalthooom Bit Alfaki, Mehaira Bit Abboud, The Musa sisters, Bit Haj Taha of the Mahas tribe and others.

Allahaw’s fans were particularly captivated by his warm and powerful voice and his gentle strolls as he paced the stage forward and backward while presenting his art.

He had composed the melodies of many of the country’s lyric writers. The list includes poets Alsadiq Alyas, Eshaq Alhanangi, Gasim Alhaj and others. Contrary to the situation with other singers, Allahaw always preferred to compose the melody of his songs by himself.

Allahaw’s most outstanding songs include ‘Altoab’ in which he glorified the local head-to-toe covering sari worn by the majority of Sudanese women. He was always keen to perform “Altoab” because he, used to say, this dress is a trademark of the women of the Sudan and a symbol of their decency, dignity and originality.

Another of his most popular songs was the Altair Alkhudary that translates: ‘the Green Bird’. Visitors to Bangui, Capital City of the Central Africa Republic, had noted that there is restaurant there with the name ‘ Restaurant oiseau vert’, which was launched by adherents of a tribal group there. The restaurant owners were so moved by the song during a visit by Allahaw to that City to sing in a gala organized during the crowning of former Emperor Bokassa that they chose to write ‘Restaurant oiseau vert’  in French and ‘Altair Alkhudari’ in Arabic on the restaurant entrance. 

Allahaw was also artful in performing patriotic songs and also did not forget to add a selection of romantic poems to his albums.

Socially, Allahaw was known for his high sense of humor and his media interviews were significantly entertaining.

The late Allahaw was born in the village of Mowaise in today’s Nile State (North of Khartoum) in 1942 and, as a child, was infatuated with patriotic lyric, especially the song Azza, written by poet Khalil Farah.

His love of hamasa verse and patriotic singing had inspired him to join the army when he was just a kid of 13 years.

His first debut on the National Radio of the Sudan was in 1962 after which he presented tens of hamasa, patriotic and love songs.

At the beginning of his singing career Allahaw was influenced by romantic singers Ahmed Almustafa, Abdelaziz Mohammad Da’ood and Hassan Atiyya.

Allahaw had started his singing career by giving renditions of the songs of Artist Mohammad Ahmad Saroar and the other singers of the 1930s-1940s in what has come to be known Haqeebat Alfun (Arts Suitcase). One of Saroars songs, performed by Allahaw was Ya Sayg Alfiat (Oh! Fiat Driver), composed in glorification of the drivers of the then trendy FIAT limousines and the Sudanese cities and villages through which the car passes.

By the death of Allahaw, the Sudanese artistic scene had lost a singing icon, an encyclopedia in the history of Sudanese melody. He had always believed that art is the mirror of nations. That was why he always picked poems that express morality and virtue. His songs had mostly preached manhood and generosity and depicted the varied civilizations of the Sudan past and present.

His songs had always captivated the common man. Names of some of his songs had used to be inscribed on vehicles of sorts, commercial lorries in particular.

Allhaw was also famed for singing what is called manaha (eulogy) verse that glorifies the dead heroic individuals of the country.

News reports incoming from Cairo said scores of his lovers had rushed to the hospital to stand by his side and wish him well. Images published during his illness in Cairo showed him surrounded with his family and friends, the usual broad smile on his face.

The Sudan Ambassador to Cairo Abdelmahmood Abdelhalemm had reportedly taken utmost care of him, and assigned a group of Egyptian medical consultants to take care of him.




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