Sudan is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world. It has nearly 200 ethnic groups speaking over 900 languages and dialects, though some of Sudan's smaller ethnic and linguistic groups have disappeared, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Migration of various groups played a part, as migrants often forget their native tongue when they move to an area dominated by another language. Some linguistic groups were absorbed by accommodation, others by conflict. In all of this, however, due to the strong Arabic cultural influence in the country, particularly in the northern part of the country, the Sudanese dialect of Arabic is the lingua franca spoken amongst Sudanese peoples, though the English language may be spoken among the Sudanese elite and portions of the Sudanese populace. Many Sudanese are multilingual.
Sudan has a rich and unique musical culture that has been through chronic instability and repression during the modern history of Sudan. Beginning with the imposition of strict sharia law in 1989, many of the country's most prominent poets, like Mahjoub Sharif, were imprisoned while others, like Mohammed el Amin (returned to Sudan in mid of 1990s) and Mohammed Wardi (returned to Sudan 2003), fled to Cairo. Traditional music suffered too, with traditional Zār ceremonies being interrupted and drums confiscated. At the same time, however, the European militaries contributed to the development of Sudanese music by introducing new instruments and styles; military bands, especially the Scottish bagpipes, were renowned, and set traditional music to military march music.
Modern tribal music: The Nuba, have retained a vibrant folk tradition. The musical harvest festival Kambala is still a major part of Nuba culture. Members include the guitarist and singer Ismael Koinyi, as well as Jelle, Jamus and Tahir Jezar
The most popular sports in Sudan are athletics, (track and field), and football. Though not as successful as football, handball, basketball, and volleyball are also popular in Sudan.
Sudanese football has a long history. Sudan was one of the four African nations - the others being Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa - which formed African football. Sudan hosted the first African Cup of Nations in 1956, and has won the African Cup Of Nations once, in 1970. Two years later, the Sudan National Football Team participated in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The nation's capital is home to the Khartoum League, which is considered to be the oldest football league in Africa.
Sudanese football teams such as Al-Hilal and El-Merreikh are among the nation's strongest teams. Other teams like Khartoum, El-Neel, and Hay-Al Arab, are also starting to grow in popularity.
melds the behaviors, practices, and beliefs of about 578 tribes, communicating in 145 different languages, in a region microcosmic of Africa, with geographic extremes varying from sandy desert to tropical forest.