A woman painting in Sudan a coffee can, ofen used in Sudan and Ethiopia. Sudanese culture melds the behaviors , practices,and beliefs of about 578 tribes, communicating about 400 languages and cultures. In the 1980s and 1990s some of Sudan's smaller ethnic and linguistic groups disappeared. Migration played a part, as migrants often forget their native tongue when theymove to an area dominated by another language. Some linguistic groups were absorbed by accomodation, others by conflict. Arabic was the lingua franca despite the use of English by many of the elite. many Sudanese are multi-lingual.
Sudan has a rich and unique musical culturethat has been through chronic instability and repression during the modern history of Sudan.Beginning with the imposition of strict Shria law in 1989, many of the country's most prominant poets, like mahjoub Sharif, were imprisoned while others , like Mohammad el Amin and Mohammed Wardi, fled to Cairo. Traditional music suffered too. The Nuba, on the front lines between the north and the south of Sudan, have retained a vibrant folk tradition.