Alsarah & the Nubatones have never shied away from putting Sudanese heritage and cultural identity front-and-centre. Their latest track, ‘Men Ana’ is as explicit and rich an example of this, in that it examines and highlights the Sudanese revolutionary movement and its effect on youth, art, and culture.
The single is perhaps best described as an experience that provides a multi-faceted, complex and bold perspective on how Sudanese youth have confronted the aftermath of the Sudanese revolution in 2019. The band draws on various real-life experiences, with the Khartoum-born lead singer, Alsarah, having been exposed to a personal tumultuous history of displacement at the hands of Omar El Bechir’s 1989 coup d’état, the Yemeni civil war of 1994, subsequently living in the United States as a refugee.
First written in the midst of the 2019 Sudanese revolution, ‘Men Ana’ captures the strife and confusion that came with the socio-political happenings that moved the band. It’s impossible to imagine that Al Sarah & the Nubatones would deliver anything less than a piece of work conspicuously highlighting the interweaving themes of youth, resistance and an eventual touch of disappointment.
Dancing along a prominent baseline of tonal, ethnic drums, motifs of love-lost and the subsequent loss of identity compliment the track’s incorporates lyrics like, “Who am I if I didn’t cry out in your sake, my foot pounding the road to your destiny, who am I, it has come to a dead end, and there was a moment of stillness before the sandstorms and I was standing awaiting you saying, who am I.”
Alsarah’s dismay at the ruin of a romantic relationship alludes to the defeat that came with the outcome of a tampered revolution the band felt so heavily moved by and the daze that ensued.