Abd El Gadir Salim

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Abdel Gadir Salim (Arabic: عبد القادر سالم‎) is a folk singer and bandleader from Sudan. He is one of the most well-known Sudanese singers in the West, having performed around the world and recorded in many nations including England.


Salim was born in the village of Dilling, Kordofan province, amidst the Nuba Mountains in the west of Sudan approximately in the 1950s. Salim trained in both European and Arabic music at the Institute of Music in Khartoum, beginning with Oud at the behest of a friend. By 1971, he changed from composing urban-styled music to country tunes. Seeking out traditional and colloquial songs to perform, he began in his native Kordofan and Darfur. Rarely writing his own lyrics, the songs he finds range from politically aware, educational arguments to love ballads. Salim is noted for maintaining a neutral repertoire that keeps him from irritating the Islamic government of Sudan.


Many of Salim's rhythms come from traditional, such as wedding, dances, often in strident 6/8 beats. Some of the beats, from desert areas, are modeled after the gait of camels. His sonorous voice, influenced by Egyptian styles, comes often in a long, steady croon. Often his music is called 'Egyptian Pop.'

Salim's lyrics, and the English interpretations thereof, give valuable insight to Sudanese culture. One song, called Al-Lemoni, compares a beautiful woman to a lemon. The record jacket explains that the Sudanese refer to their skin color as green as opposed to black or brown. Therefore to compare a woman to a lemon is poetic flattery. Jeenaki, or "The Return of Geese," describes how the sight of geese is a welcome indication of rain in the desert of river-scarce Sudan, where flocks of geese alight to drink from pools.


Salim performs solo at times, though most often with his group, the All-Stars. Hamid Osman Abdalla, the saxophonist, comes from Dilling as well.


Salim shared duties in his careers as international performer and as headmaster of a school in Chad between at least the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s. According to a statement on the back of his album Nujum Al-Lail (Stars in the Night) (1989, Globe Style, UK), the two careers harmonize without strain. In 2005 he recorded a collaborational album called Ceasefire with Sudanese rapper, former child soldier and Christian convert Emmanuel Jal.

Salim represented Sudan at the qualification round of the first ABU Radio Song Festival 2012, but failed to qualify for the final which is scheduled to take place at the KBS Concert Hall in Seoul, South Korea on 14 October 2012.[1][2]



  1. ^ "ABU TV Song Festival 2012 Participants". ESCKAZ.com. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "ABU TV Song Festival 2012". Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Sudan in the ABU Radio Song Festival
with "Bessama"
Succeeded by
[to be determined]