Renowned Sudanese music legend Sharhabil Ahmed, known by his stage name Ryte, has left an indelible mark on the music scene, earning the title of Sudan’s King of Jazz for his unparalleled style and innovation. Beyond his musical prowess, Ryte is celebrated for his contributions to the art world, particularly through his beloved cartoon illustrations in the cherished children’s magazine Al-Sibyan. Breaking barriers, he formed Sudan’s first jazz band, notable for including his wife Zakia as its pioneering female guitarist.

Visit for more information

Born in Omdurman in 1935 into a devout Sufi family, Ryte’s musical journey began with the diverse sounds emanating from his father’s phonograph, exposing him to Sudanese haqiba and foreign military parade bands. His fascination with music only deepened when his family relocated to El-Obeid in Kurdufan, where he found inspiration in the eclectic array of musical instruments and styles showcased in foreign films at the Arus al-Rimal Cinema.

Ryte’s musical career took flight when he won a contest organized by Sudan Radio with his performance of “Layali Kurdufan,” a poignant homage to his beloved hometown. Encouraged by his friend, Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, Ryte pursued further artistic endeavors, graduating as a graphic designer from the College of Fine and Applied Arts in Khartoum. His talent as an illustrator flourished during his tenure at the Ministry of Education, where he crafted iconic characters such as Uncle Tangu for Al-Sibyan magazine.


Mastering a plethora of instruments over the years, Ryte’s musical evolution mirrored his boundless creativity. From his early days playing the oud to his tenure with Sudan Radio’s orchestra and later ventures into guitar and vocals, Ryte’s experimental spirit knew no bounds. He defied convention with his fusion of rock’n’roll, funk, surf, and traditional Sudanese melodies, earning acclaim as a trailblazer of Sudanese pop music.

Ryte’s musical odyssey was not without challenges, as he navigated societal perceptions and institutional barriers. Yet, alongside his wife Zakia, he forged ahead, carving out a unique space for Sudanese music on the global stage. Today, Ryte’s influence extends beyond borders, as evidenced by his recent collaboration with international artists such as Mahmoud Ahmed of Ethiopia and Asma El Hamzaoui of Morocco.

With his recent signing to Rotana Music, Ryte’s legacy continues to resonate, reaffirming his status as a pioneering force in Sudanese music. As he enters his eighth decade, Ryte remains committed to pushing boundaries and exploring new musical frontiers, ensuring that his enduring impact on the world of music endures for generations to come.