A voice rising from the ashes of war

Ebo Krdum is a Sudanese-Swedish self-taught singer, guitarist, artist, actor and activist. He creates contemporary political afro-blues & afrobeat music rooted in several musical traditions around the sub-Saharan area (in his current projects). Ebo sings in many different languages and his lyrics mostly contain topics such as justice, peace, freedom, equality, diversity, revolution and liberty.

When Ebo was only six years old he discovered that he could sing and drum with his bare hands and he started entertaining people in his village, where he’d sometimes got paid with a small penny or sweets. At the age of thirteen he built his own guitar and learned how to play through his father’s radio and the only black-white TV in the village, where he got to hear artists such as Ali Farka Touré and Boubacar Traoré. Later in life Ebo also learned how to play other instruments such as Gojo, Ngoni, Oud, Tamboor, drums, keyboard and wood-flute.

When the war started in Darfur in 2003 Ebo became an important voice for the peaceful revolution against the corrupt and violent regime. Beside his musical participation in the situation, he was also active in a huge activism for the opposition that aimed to overthrow the dictatorship in Sudan, which was also the reason why he was forced to flee the country. Ebo is now based in Stockholm, Sweden, where he has established himself as one of the most prominent world music acts on the music-scene. Here in Sweden he has also started his own band at the end of 2017, combined of 7-seven musicians.

Today, Ebo and his band have 11-eleven songs released in both EP and singles forms. They were all from Ebo’s project (Memory of War).

In September 2021 Ebo released his first solo album "Diversity" on Sweden’s most interesting label "Supertraditional". The album Diversity is from Ebo’s project named The Sub-Saharan Jigs.

Followed by two Solo-albums (Love & Struggle and Revolt For Change) in 2022 and one more (Soga Jamailé) in 2023, all three albums were released with the record label Epidemic Sound. Including the single (Warfree World) in 2023 as part of the UN SDGs. Ebo's last release is the single Umbélé in 2024, a new and first of it's kind collaboration in the electronic music world.

The Beginning

Musical Journey

Ebo has started his musical journey since he was a kid in Ngala/Nyala town in South Darfur, where Ebo joined the primary school. The beginning was singing in the classroom or school events, he then joined an organized group for kids in his age that presenting children’s talents and helping them to develop their talents in theatre, dance and music. Although it wasn’t as easy as Ebo thought it would be to get the opportunity to be discovered and developed, as he was NOT from the so called “the rich class in society” as most of the children in that group were, Ebo wasn’t as “clean and good looking” kid as the rest, as in that time he used to work after the school, selling hats, cakes and snacks that his mother used to make to help the family but he insisted and kept going to their rehearsals every day for more than half a year, until he got the chance to prove what he can do, and he kept it on ever since.

Quoting Ebo:
“Back in the days when I was a little kid in primary school, for the love of music I’d run home after school so that I can rush back out and sell something of what my mother made at home in order to get the permission to go to the group rehearsal at evening and trying to make it in time to the rehearsal, it was so very tight and impossible to get the time to get cleaned up or change etc. so I’d just be happy getting the permission to go there and looking good wasn’t my concern at all, it’s a shame that it was obviously important to the leaders in order to see us as clean and well-dressed kids and that I couldn’t figure that out, because according to me is what we have and can do is what matters most, but no complaint it went good in the end anyway”.

As social worker & human rights activist:

In 2004 and after the war breakout in Darfur, Ebo has joined the humanitarian field as a volunteer with WHO first but then he moved on and on with international-NGOs and UN organizations/agencies that invaded Darfur during the war between the revolutionaries and the government of Sudan, up to the year of 2009 he was lucky to have got many chances to take part of different courses in human rights, GBV (gender based violence), child rights, peace-building, psychosocial support through art & creative activities and many theatrical workshops. He has worked with several projects that involve UN agencies in collaboration with local and national NGOs mostly in the IDPs (internally displaced people) camps in different locations in Darfur, both in stable communities/cities & villages and war-zones. He never left music despite all work and struggle of dealing with the new situation and escalations of a terrible humanitarian situation in Darfur though, according to him music was the only living dynamo that was making his soul thriving and keeping him going on with providing hope and generating energy for his strength and creativity in working on lots of missions on the field. The new experience he started gaining from working in such political & humanitarian crises in his motherland has given him lots of ideas to write about, in both theatre and music-lyrics. Most of his lyrics and plays are considered to be message-based, as they’re reflecting tragedies, hard truths, always discussing sensitive issues such as: society classifications, calling for justice, freedom, peace, civil-rights, harmful traditional habits such as (early marriage & FGM/Female Genital Mutilation), gender based-violence, equality, prejudice & stereotypes and hardly criticizing corrupted politicians. Because of this Ebo was classified as a radical artist according to his old peers from his generation and still now.

Quoting Ebo:
“I can NOT understand when people/artists think I’m boring and radical when it comes to me bringing up a “sensitive issue” in a form of song, because the way I see it it’s like me happy-laughing while the whole nation is crying, or the opposite. What I’m trying to say is simple: when a part of my body is infected/affected, the rest of me will definitely feel that, so the same thing applies on me and my relation to a nation and the entire world, and I can’t turn myself into feelingless, blind and deaf while I’m privileged with these senses and especially when I dare to call myself an artist”. He considers all what he has been through in this period of his life during the war to be a very important part of his musical formation with all its pain.”

Political Background:

He started with reading books after he joined the secondary school, what was available to him to read was the books about socialism in Europe, he then expanded his reading’s interest to Pan-Africanism and the pan-African movement, which led him further to search and read about the black panther-party’s movement in USA. Where he got to know about such great writers and revolutionaries as Thomas Sankara, Kwame N’krumah, Patrice Lumumba, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Marcus Garvey, DR. John Henrik Clarke, Elijah Muhammad, louis Farrakhan, Angela Davis, Julius Nyerere, Dr. John Garang, Haile Selassie, Elaine Brown, Eldridge Cleaver, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Youssif Kouwa, Huey P Newton, Bobby Seale, Amadou Hampâté Bâ and many others from and outside the continent of the Africa.

He then begun to understand that in many parts in this world there’re issues of: colonialism, racism, civil rights, quality, discrimination, oppression, corruption, marginalization and revolution. The thing that made him more aware and opened his brain wider for better understanding to what was really going on and the conflict in the country of Sudan and revolution of SPLM against north-Sudan’s government which he considers to be a very important part of his musical and personality-formation then and now.

Quoting Ebo:
“An artist with a commitment needs to be aware of all what’s happening in her/his presence and past history, as artists we are not separated from the history of our nations and we’re part of this world, and every artist need to be backed-up and inspired by their history with it’s pain & sweet. No matter.”

Spirituality & Sufism background:

He started this part of which he also considers to be an important part of his musical-formation as well. Reading about Shikho Omar Alfoty, Muntagha Alfoty, Amadou Hampate Ba, Ibrahim BinYas, and Shikho Musa Eltigani. And learning more by listening when he had to join his father Khalil who was a Tigani himself was a big plus especially with learning and gaining new vocal-technique from their Azkar/prayers.

Quoting Ebo: “ As many of my peers and in our generation back then I was always curious about Gods, religions, believers, nonbelievers and the differences in grouping among one religion. In order to find out you have to join them, listen, read and watch closely & carefully to find answers for what you are questioning. So I did that with all multi-religious groups in the environment where I grew up. It wasn’t easy though. But what I was really focusing on mostly was the melodic and harmonic vocal-sounds while the prayers/Azkar. There you got to listen to totally different tone-combinations than listening to musical instrument or when practicing singing etc.”

Influential & inspiring artists:

Ebo was influenced and inspired by lots of artists of which he got to hear and listen to, most of them have left an impression and inspired Ebo the kid and artist today.

Quoting Ebo:
“Back then I’d listen to whatever comes on my way, and some of the artists just got me stuck and the more I listen to their music repeatedly the more I like them and feel inspired by them, their stories and contribution with their music to nations”

Putting in consideration where he comes from , Ali farka Touré, Amadou & Mariam, Bara Sambaru, Maryom Ammou, Adam Abu Taweela, Alpha Blondy, Peter Tosh, Tracy Chapman, Hawa Ramadan, Mississippi John hurt, Fela Kuti and many others from inside & outside the continent of the Africa.

Musical Ideology

Ebo’s musical ideology is: Always stand with poor’s side, keep creating awareness on issues that needs to be lifted up, never underestimate the power of words and music in creating change, always support the oppressed, vulnerable and marginalized people and populations and always choose the nonviolence as a solution for conflicts and problems.

Quoting Ebo:
“As an artist i have my commitments towards populations/nations, just like any other savior, warner or decision maker in any community, so I’m committed to speak the truth, to represent those who need me to put out their words and to cry out their suffering and pain, because I’m responsible of taking action and fighting with my lyrics, voice and hands against whatever evil I see, hear or feel around the smaller communities and up to the whole world. Because one day, after I die I will at least have an answer for history when history asks me : what did I do with what I’ve got under the period of the life I’ve been given?”

Inspirational Words

Real revolutionaries don’t sleep, don’t quit and never give up until they achieve what they started, if not in their time and generation may it be a seed for new and upcoming generations. Where they will be mentioned and remembered as history will not forget and will never forgive. May justice, change, peace & love cover the whole world one day!

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