Aljawal (The Traveller) is a modern, haunting take on Sudanese music heard through the sonic lens of French artist & producer, Débruit and the poetic, ethereal lyrics and melodies of Sudanese-born singer Alsarah.
Written specifically as a response to the upcoming novel “Home is Not a Country”, by Safia Elhillo, this song is a celebration of nostalgia and diaspora. In the novel the lead character, Nima, has a special love for old Egyptian movies which connect her to a past she doesn’t know or understand fully. I imagined this song to be coming out of a scene in old Cairo at a cabaret, performed by a Nubian singer who is the first in her family to be born in the big city after the high dam was built. She is displaced and experiences a feeling of diaspora within her country. She is torn between the past world of her family and their stories of home and her new home in the cosmopolitan center that is Cairo. She feels the longing yet doesn’t know what it is she exactly longs for because all she knows are bits of stories. I wanted to create a song that reflected that sentiment. So I went to Cairo and produced this song there with some of my favorite musicians out there in order to fully capture the atmosphere I was seeking.