Characteristics of Refugee Music

Refugee music differs in sound across the globe. Since we focused on the Lost Boys of Sudan in class, I will center in on their particular music style. In Sudan refugee music often includes a form of drum to keep the beat, a single stringed instrument made from scraps, and a group of voices. Any combination of these things can be used to create song. If there is no drum to keep tempo, refugees often clap, or keep beat with their bodies. The music has a strong pulse and is sung or “chanted” by a large group of people. The lyrics are usually passed down from generation to generation like an old folktale. Each generation may change the piece a little, but the general feel stays the same.


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