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Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr Phoebe Abe - "Oprah" & "Naomi Campbell" (Acholi Songs & Dances)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases two songs by Dr Phoebe Abe. Both of these songs refer to two Acholi (Luo) females, one who is named after a Black female celebrity from the United States and one who is named after a Black female from the United Kingdom.

This post provides some information about Dr. Phoebe Abe's foundation and also includes selected comments from these YouTube videos' discussion thread.

The content of this post are presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

I'm particularly interested in the dances that are shown in these videos, and especially in the females dancing while balancing a number of clay pots on their head.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Dr. Phoebe Abe for singing these songs. Thanks also to all those who are featured in these videos, those who are quoted in this post, the video producers, and the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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INFORMATION ABOUT DR. ABE'S FOUNDATION
From http://www.drabefoundation.com/
"The primary aim of The DR ABE FOUNDATION is to support young people, especially single mothers and widows, by investing in their education and empowering them.

Acholi Heart Beat [AHB] is a dancing, singing, acting and performing charity organization founded by Dr. Phoebe Arach Abe Okwonga, (a medical practitioner in Great Britain) in July 2003.The members consist of students who are mostly orphans, teachers and villagers (people living in internally displaced peoples camps)."...

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FEATURED VIDEOS
Dr Phoebe Abe (Oprah)



DirePRwotAwich, Uploaded on Aug 22, 2010

Oprah has chosen to marry Akem
-snip-
Selected comments from this video's viewer comment thread. These comments are presented in chronological order based on the year that they were posted to this discussion thread with the oldest comments posted first.

WARNING: A comment on this discussion thread includes profanity.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtySH2CHImw

Mary W Goler, 2012
"This is one of my favorites. I love the way Luo tribe people dance and this song guaranteed to leave you smile. Simple things make happy. Please, comment if you like it"
-snip-
Note: The Acholis are also called "Luos".

**
ric ricland, 2012
"Could someone provide some background infomation? Who are these people? What country, etc?"

**
in reply to ric ricland
jauze2, 2012
"they look like the acholi tribe of south sudan but originally from northern uganda judging by the colors of their feathers(ugandan country colors). its a nice song."

**
in reply to ric ricland

CELEBRATING AFRICA, 2012
"@ricland these are acholis from northeren uganda "

**
Micah Kenyi, 2013
"This is very traditional, enticing and reflects more of the cultures of the people of South Sudan. Brings into memory the richness of the traditional culture that is embedded in the people's culture in South Sudan. Also reminds me in particular of the bye gone days of my venture and journey into Uganda attracted by................. Oh, yes those beautiful moments"

**
OpioChris, 2013
in reply to delagrazia
"I know this area very well; the clothing is traditional, but the tune is synthetic. The local instruments do not sound like these ones. The women are performing in a traditional way."

**
Susan Go-Deos, 2013
"I love everything about this video but it's not a fair play. More focus on Akem's happiness and how Oprah should do all to make Akem happy- Where do you put Oprah's happiness??? There is a missing link with the current situation where culture is dynamic. - A woman deserves happiness as well. I know there many women who will agree with me in this part of the world. Great dance though.&

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Example #2: Dr Abe tribute to Naomi Campbell



Wilson Okwonga, Published on Apr 9, 2012

Acholi from Northern Uganda
Acholi Heartbeat dancers
Performing:Carrying Traditional clay pots of Acholi people
Larakaraka dance (youth dance)
Naomi is wearing Ceno traditional outfit
-snip-
Here are two comments Selected comments from this video's viewer comment thread.
MUSE93, 2012
"Nice. It's incredible how the girls can carry those clay pots. Great video"

**
Wilson Okwonga, 2013
in reply to annalarosa
"Thank you very much Much appreciated by those children in the Northern Uganda they lived all their lives in the camps They will be happy to know that you appreciate their efforts."

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five Nyankol Mathiang Videos (South Sudanese vocalist)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases five videos of South Sudanese vocalist Nyankol Mathiang. This post also includes an excerpt of a tribute to commemorate the life and music of Nyankol Mathiang. This long excerpt is quoted as a way of celebrating some of Nyankol Mathiang's music for those who already know this artist. That excerpt is also presented as a way of introducing other people -including me- to this vocalist who I've learned (even from the little bit of information in English that I've found online) was beloved in South Sudan and elsewhere.

A rendition of a Nyankol Mathiang song performed by other vocalists is presented in the Addendum to this post.

The content of this post are presented for cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Nyankol Mathiang for her musical legacy. Thanks also to Regina Akok and all others those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the video producers and publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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EXCERPT FROM TRIBUTE TO NYANKOL MATHIANG
http://paanluelwel.com/2012/09/24/tribute-to-nyankol-mathiang/
Tribute To Nyankol Mathiang By Regina Akok
Posted: September 24, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan
"...the veteran artist, the woman, the embodiment of resilience, gallantry, wisdom, and love, Mrs. Teresa Nyankol Mathiang Dut has gone so soon.

I grew up listening to her songs, admiring her voice, loving her lyrics, words of inspiration and hope. Her voice and music stood out to me as a candid and straightforward form of art. Good art supposed to uplift us and that is exactly how I feel every time I play the CD and listen to Kadaan cook luel oak Anok, Kadan cook luel oak mathdi... I can only say about the song – no matter how I translate the words from Thongjieng to English or Arabic and even how competent I might be in all these languages, I will never give the song its fullest justice, it will remain a subjective interpretation –it is a magnificent poem about friendship. ... good art does not emerge from vagueness because it supposed to inspire us and that is exactly what Mrs Nyankol, the woman, did when she sang this phrase: Abeyien don Athong ka Abeyienda. It is an ultimate expression of our long yearning to connect as South Sudanese friends, communities and diverse tribes...Abyei is used allegorically which also literally an Abyei tree to connect all of us in its refuge. A shadow of a tree has served different purposes in our lives, both private and political...

Yes, good art does not tear us apart, and cause us pain but empowers us and gives us hope especially when we feel rusty and can’t do it anymore. It keeps us going despite the difficulties and helps us believe in ourselves and that’s exactly what Riel Puou Raan Col gave me when I first heard it. It is another powerful song about our resilience as black people of South Sudan and other black nations who endured sufferings like us. I see that as an indirect reference to historical experiences of oppression, slavery and colonization. The artist wants us to draw on those moments in our history. When things seemed totally out of control and totally gloomy, we were able to find the resistant spirit in us and rose quickly and recreated hope instead of despair. Again good art supposed to punch us and reprimand us when we forget our alphabets and I hear that in the powerful song of Dong Abyei wei Kada, she wonders as an artist how did we miss Abyei in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement? How did that happen? As an artist, she courageously engages everybody in unfinished conversations about peace, recovery and reconciliation. It is an honest dialogue with our leadership. The few songs I selected here were taken from a long list of several inspiring and refreshing songs. ...

I am experiencing mixed feelings right now. My heart is so heavy with vague and gloom, and so sadden but, yet I can still count on your true voice. It was a pleasure to have known you Mrs Nyankol as an artist and that was just a little part of your short journey and what a life worth living! I’m glad you lived to see our independence as a nation. I promise we will not forget your insights for a better South Sudan. I know for sure that the world is a better place because you left your footprints on its soil. It is a great story to tell our children and generations to come. I’m definitely proud to spell my name a WOMAN of South Sudan because you were not afraid to give your best. Nothing could stop you – being a wife did not stop you; motherhood did not stop you; being a grandmother did not stop you. In fact, all these roles had shaped your music and the fighter and strong woman you were. You were clear and quick to spread the message of love. Nyankol the woman, your legacy is alive for generations to come! I love you and rest in peace Austaza Nyankol Mathiang Dut, a daughter of Abyei region but a true daughter of South Sudan, the queen of words."

****
FEATURED VIDEOS
These videos are presented in chronological order with the oldest dated video given first.
If you have any information about these songs including an English translation of their titles, please share that information in the video's YouTube comment section and/or in the comment section of this post. Thanks!

Example 1: Nyankol Mathiang



Aweil1985, Uploaded on Feb 21, 2011

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Example #2: Nyankol Mathiang Dut Singing during the Abiem election office in Calgary (Australia)



William Akuei, Uploaded on Feb 12, 2012

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Example #3: South Sudan Mama Nyankol Mathiang Dut Ting Ee Dhieth xen YouTube



Junub Jamil, Published on Sep 30, 2012

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Example #4: Nyankol Mathiang---Doot Ku Bai (Promo Music Video)



Deng Alith, Published on May 30, 2013

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Example #5: Nyankol Mathiang----Abyuok Reil Piou (PROMO Music Video)



Deng Alith, Published on May 30, 2013

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ADDENDUM
Nyankol Mathiang Song-[Track: Anuk] by Alnour Achoung Deng



FRANCIS N, Published on Feb 22, 2013

In memory of South Sudan Music Legend Mama Nyankol Mathiang.
-snip-
Here's a comment from this video's discussion thread:
Samuel Atem, 2014
"Where is the original video of this song? This song was everywhere in the 1980s in Sudan? I search it everywhere on the internet today but I couldn’t find it. Please if someone has it; then let them post it online; I missed Nyankol and this song very much."

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Rainbows - "Mary Lee" (sound file, lyrics, & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents two sound files of & lyrics for the 1955 Doo-Wop song "Mary Lee" by the Rainbows. Information about Doo-Wop (Do-wop) music and information about The Rainbows are also included in this post along with selected comments from those YouTube sound files' comment threads.

The content of this post is provided for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer/s of this song and thanks to The Rainbows for recording this song. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of this sound file on YouTube.

****
INFORMATION ABOUT DOO-WOP MUSIC
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doo-wop
"Doo-wop (sometimes doo-wopp)[1] is a style of vocal-based rhythm and blues music developed in African American communities in the 1940s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. It emerged from New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and areas of greater Los Angeles, including El Monte and Compton. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time… The term "doo-wop" is credited to have first appeared in print in 1961 in the Chicago Defender, when fans of the music coined the term during the height of a vocal harmony resurgence.[3] The phrase was attributed to radio disc jockey Gus Gossert but Gossert suggested "doo-wop(p) was already in use [before me] to categorize the music in California."[4]

...There is general acknowledgement the first hit record to use the syllables "doo-wop" in the refrain was the 1955 hit, "When You Dance" by The Turbans (Herald Records H-458).[5] Previously, the scat backing vocal "doo-wop" is heard in The Clovers' 1953 release "Good Lovin'" (Atlantic Records 1000) and in the chorus of Carlyle Dundee & The Dundees' 1954 song "Never" (Space Records 201). Other early uses include the 1955 song "Mary Lee" by The Rainbows on Red Robin Records (also a Washington, DC regional hit on Pilgrim 703), which contains the background "do wop de wadda"; and the 1956 smash "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins, which features a plaintive "doo-wop, doo-wah" refrain in the bridge. After some time, the term "doo-wop" finally caught on as both a description and category for R&B vocal group harmony. The definition expanded backward to include rhythm and blues groups from the mid-1950s, then cascaded even further back to include groups from the 1940s"...

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE RAINBOWS
From http://www.uncamarvy.com/Rainbows/rainbows.html "The Rainbows" By Marvin Podd and Marv Goldberg
"The Rainbows were a fixture of the Washington, D.C. music scene for many years. In their heyday (which lasted only a little more than a year), they managed to turn out several collector favorites.

Let's start our story by going back to 1951 and the Serenaders, a quintet from the Lincoln Heights area of Northeast Washington D.C. The group consisted of Henry "Lamont" Mont (lead), Henry "Shorty" Womble (first tenor), Robert Neil (second tenor and lead), Leroy Henderson (baritone), and Frank "Jake" Hardy (bass). All of them were in the 15-16 age range...

[When that group broke up, some members of that group recorded songs which were released under the Rainbows.]*

In 1954, the Rainbows decided to try their luck in New York. Venturing up to Harlem, they found Bobby's Record Shop at 125th Street and 8th Avenue, just down the block from the Apollo Theater. Its owner, Bobby Robinson, also owned Red Robin Records. (Since Leroy Henderson's Topps were recording for Red Robin at the time, it's a bet that Henderson was the one who recommended that the Rainbows audition for Robinson.) Robinson politely listened to the Rainbows and then turned them down flat!

But the Rainbows didn't give up. They returned to D.C. to practice, and about a year later, they went back to Robinson. When they sang their own arrangement of "Honey Hush" and an original composition called "Evening," Bobby Robinson's opinion changed and he offered to record them.

While preparations for the recording were taking place, the group fooled around with another original composition, entitled "Mary Lee," a song composed, as a joke, about Marion Lee, someone's girlfriend and the only female permitted to come to rehearsals. Robinson was so impressed that he had them record that, and "Honey Hush" was never released.

... "Mary Lee" features interchanging lead singers. Ronald Miles starts the vocalizing with that now famous "Mary Lee" refrain and he does all subsequent refrains while John Berry sings the main lyric. Henry Womble gets in the last word as he puts the falsetto lid on the song. Amazingly, it was done in one take. The flip, "Evening," is led by John Berry. The tunes were issued on Red Robin in June 1955.

Ronald recalled that "Mary Lee" was very popular when it was released, making the top 10 in the New York and Washington, D.C. markets."...
-snip-
The words given in brackets are my summarization of a longer section of this article.

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LYRICS: MARY LEE
(recorded by The Rainbows, composer/s ?)

Lead - Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead -Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead -Well, my Mary Lee
Group - Do wop de wadda
Oh, I love you so
Group- Do wop de wadda
My Mary Lee
Group- Do wop de wadda
I want you to know
Group- Do wop de wadda, oh
My dear
Group- Do wop de wadda
That I love you so
Group- Do wop de wadda
Please come back to me
Group- Do wop de wadda
I want you, my love
Group- Do wop de wadda, oh
Wish you were here
Group- Do wop de wadda
I need you so much
Group- Do wop de wadda
My dear
Group - Do wop de wadda
My Mary Lee
Group - Do wop de wadda, oh
Lead -Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Mary Lee
Group- Mary Lee
Lead- Oh, my Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead -Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead and Group -Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
[Lead continues singing this vocalization while the group sings]
Do wop de wadda
Do wop de wadda
Do wop de wadda
Do wop de wadda, oh

Do wop de wadda
Do wop de wadda
Do wop de wadda
Do wop de wadda, oh

Lead - Oh my Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Oh, my Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead -Mary Lee
Group- Mary Lee
Lead - Oh my Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Mary Lee
Group- Mary Lee
Lead- Oh, my Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Lead - Mary Lee
Group - Mary Lee
Please come back to me
Group [vocalizes “ah” after every line the lead sings]
Lead -I want you so much
Wish you were here
I need you so much
My dear
[Group sings the “do wah she wah dee wah dee” vocalization pattern after each line]
Oh darling
I wish you were near me

Oh, please come back to me
I want you so much
Wish you were here
I need you so much
Group –Mary Lee
Lead – Mary Lee.
-snip-
Transcribed by Azizi Powell. Additions and corrections are welcome. I'm not sure about the words that are given in italics.

I originally wrote the vocalization as "Do wah she wah dee wah dee" [3x] and then "Do wah she wah dee wah dee, oh". However, I changed it to conform with the way that vocalization is written in the Wikipedia article.

Note: http://www.songlyrics.com/rainbows/mary-lee-lyrics/ provides lyrics to a song that is identified as "Mary Lee" by the Rainbows. However, that song is actually an old English ballad [?] that begins with the words
“Twas on a cold winter’s night
When the wind blew across the wild moor
That Mary came wand’ring along with her child
Till she came to her own father’s door"

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SHOWCASE EXAMPLES
[Both of these sound files are of the same record.]

Example #1: the rainbows mary lee



genevincent1967, Uploaded on Dec 27, 2010
-snip-
Selected comment from Marie Springs, 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4bA5SInk1o
"I went to school with this group N E Washington D C John Berry the leader of the Rainbows was dating my girlfrien Mary Lee Nelson. I also was in the same music class with the late Bully Stewart and also the Clovers from Washington, D C and the Spaniels. I am now 73 ys young
-snip-
Bully Stewart" is a typo for [R&B recording artist & R&B/Gospel pianist] Billy Stewart

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Example #2: Rainbows - Mary Lee ]1955]



dowopper51, Uploaded on Aug 20, 2008

AHH, I married this record 46 years ago!
-snip-
What “I married this record” means: People want to marry the person they fall in love with. So a person writing this means that he or she loves this record a lot.
-snip-
Selected comments from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G_r0leVIZc
dowopper51, 2008 [written in response to a commenter writing that this is a fun song]
"It is fun and was fun! I clearly remember running to the Record Store, buying a record for 69 cents coming home & just play the same record over & over until I learned all the words. Then, I'd stand in front of the mirror, a pencil was my MIC and I would sing away. I always thought I was better than the record until one day I recorded myself then I suddenly toned it down so know one would hear me. Great music, they are fun my friend! BTW, thank you for your comment!"

**
57Will4, 2008
"Marvin Gaye was indeed a member of this group, but I don't know if he was singing on this session. Billy Stewart & Don Covay also came out of this group, from my understanding."

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Alex Batey, 2009o
in reply to 57Will
"@57Will Gaye,Covay and Stewart were not on this record. The Rainbows didn't make a lot of records but did a lot of club dates and as far as I know are still active."

**
Michael D, 2011
"The Rainbows were formed by a group in high school in Washington, D.C. They sang at local talent shows, parties and "cabarets". Some people who came out of the group were Jessie Belvin, Billy Stewart and Marvin Gaye. This was the first up tempo Doo Wop Rythum and Blues. They would pack auditoriums and I was there."
-snip-
“cabarets” –dance events that were larger and more formal than parties.

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Eight Videos Of Aweil, South Sudanese Traditional Dances

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases eight videos of South Sudanese (northeastern Africa) traditional dancing in Aweil, South Sudan or videos of people from Aweil, South Sudan who now live elsewhere.

Information about Aweil, South Sudan is also included in this post.

The content of this post are presented for folkloric, cultural, educational, and aesthetic purposes.

In addition to the dancing, I'm also interested in the music, the musical instruments, the singing & ululation, the dancers' attire including head gear & jewelry (if any), the objects that the dancers' carry, and the dancers' hairstyles.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those featured in these videos. Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the video producers and publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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INFORMATION ABOUT AWEIL, SOUTH SUDAN
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aweil,_South_Sudan
"Aweil is a city in South Sudan in Bahr el ghazal Region. Aweil is located in Aweil Central County, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, in northwestern South Sudan, near the International border with the Republic of Sudan and the Abyei Region...

Aweil is the capital city of the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. It is also the county seat of Aweil Central County. The city's infrastructure is relatively developed… and includes a functioning railway station, a functioning hotel, a functioning airport, a soccer stadium and a functioning public hospital. The city functions as a team site for the United Nations Mission in Sudan. Several NGOs providing aid in South Sudan are based here.”...
-snip-
From http://everyvillage.org/villages-aweil
"Aweil is the capital city of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, located at the intersection of Nile tributaries--the Lol and the Pongo. “Aweil” is derived from the Dinka name Mading Ayuel.

The Dinka tribe makes up the population’s majority, but members of the Luo tribe live in the area as well. The Dinka rely on cattle herding at riverside camps in the dry season and growing grains in the rainy season...

Language: Dinka Rek"

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From http://www.sudansunrise.org/project/st-mary-girls-school
St. Mary Girls School; Aweil, South Sudan
“Sudan Sunrise partners with Abraham Nhial to build the St. Mary Girls Secondary School in Aweil, Northern Bhar el Ghazal state.

Aweil State: Home to Diverse Groups

Abraham Nhial immigrated to the U.S. as a "Lost Boy of Sudan" and is working to found the first secondary school for girls in Aweil, a city with a population of one million. Geographically and politically, Northern Bhar el Ghazal State-(Aweil) is the largest state in South Sudan and is inhabited by diverse ethnic communities including returning refugees, Darfurians, and Messirya from the North. Strategically, this project targets girls from these different communities in order to provide them with access to higher education so they will be able to avoid poverty, resolve conflict, and, ultimately, promote peaceful living among their communities....

War Reduced Education Opportunities
During the civili war in Sudan, Aweil State was a war zone because of its close proximity to the border. Until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, many young children, mostly young girls, were forced into slavery as wives or houseworkers. The boys of Aweil typically fled to neighboring countries as refugees, or to the U.S. as "Lost Boys."

Culture Does Not Always Support Girls’ Education

...
The St. Mary Girls Secondary School in Aweil is needed as there are no other secondary schools for girls in the region"...

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FEATURED VIDEOS
These videos are presented in chronological order with the oldest dated video given first.
If you have any information about these dances, please share that information in the video's YouTube comment section and/or in the comment section of this post. Thanks!

Example 1: Children entertainment in Aweil (PartI)



GarangKuot Uploaded on Oct 25, 2007

Aweil children entertaining SPLM Secretary for Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal State, Molana Ajou Garang.
-snip-
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rjNFLxYCLA for Part II of this video series.

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Example #2: Children entertainment in Aweil (PartIII)



GarangKuot Uploaded on Oct 25, 2007

Aweil children entertaining SPLM Secretary for Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal State, Molana Ajou Garang.

-snip-
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fDQVYgw1uA for Part IV of this video series.

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Example #3: South Sudan Dinka dancing from Northern Bar al Gazal (Aweil)



William Akuei Uploaded on Feb 21, 2011

Jieng youths ignited to teach a culture to young kids in Cairo seven years ago

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Example #4: Independence Day - South Sudan - Aweil West



Naomi Sorkin, Uploaded on Aug 30, 2011

Traditional Birth Attendants and community health workers celebrating Independence in Nyamlel, South Sudan. July 9, 2011

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Example #5: Mading Aweil Federation in Aus.



Deng Duang, Published on Jul 27, 2012

These are the best Aweil traditional groups united in the dance-floor. 2012

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Example #6: Aweil Team in Aweil Town.



William Akuei, Published on Nov 26, 2012

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Example #7: Mading-Aweil Cultural Dance.



Anei Yuot, Published on Jul 14, 2013

The 9th of July 2013. second aniversary of South Sudan. ("the ROSS")
Dallas, Texas....

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Example #8: Dinka tradditional dance- Malualkon, Aweil east Oct, 2013


James Majuong, Published on Mar 11, 2014

A featival celebration by Dinka Malual of Aweil east Oct, 2013
Video take by: James Majuong.

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