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Topics - Abdalla

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General Board / Paradigm Shift in the Historiography of the Hausa
« on: November 09, 2009, 07:41:32 PM »
Jama', Sallama

I am not sure if those resident in Nigeria noticed it, but on Saturday 31st October 2009, there was a major paradigm shift in the historiography of the Hausa. This shift was brought about by a new Royal Charter from the kingdom of Daura, in northern Nigeria.
On that historic day, His Highness, the Emir of Daura Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk appointed the first ever Walin Hausa, Alhaji Umar Faruk Abdullahi. In the process of the appointment, His Highness issued a new Royal Charter in which he re-designated the historic references to the Hausa people in history. The traditional reference clusters of Hausa Bakwai and Banza Bakwai have been abolished. It is now Hausa Bakwai and 'Yan Uwa Bakwai. The Hausa Bakwai (claimed to be the "original" Hausa States) are Daura, Katsina, Kano, Rano, Gobir, Zaria and Garun Gabas (near present day Auyo in Jigawa State). The 'Yan Uwa Bakwai (formerly Banza Bakwai, or "fake-Hausa States") are Zamfara, Kebbi, Yawuri, Ilorin, Nupe, Gwari and KWararrafa. His Highness emphasized that he made the appointment of Walin Hausa in full consultation with the rulers of the 14 Hausa states - further reaffirming the "'yan uwaness" of all the 14.
There are of course historians who never accepted even with a pinch of salt the "Banza Bakwai" as being vassal states of the Hausa. The Hausaness of Banza Bakwai was really more by association, than genetic or linguistic factors. And even then, one would have found it difficult to claim that Zamfarawa are not really Hausa (and they are not!).
The new Royal Charter would mean that history books would have to be re-written to reflect a new Hausa history that has become not only politically correct, but also increasingly aware of a more multicultural configuration of contemporary Hausa social realities. Thus while still accepting a non-Hausa is non-Hausa, nevertheless he is a "brother" -- someone to cherish. I like it. My only modification of His Highness' charter would have been to include Garun Gabas in the 'Yan Uwa Bakwai to make them 'Yan Uwa Takwas (and Hausa Shida), for Garun Gabas does not historiographically belong to Hausa Bakwai. It was added by the authors of the Girgam (the Hausa Chronicle).
The full details are in Aminiya and Hausa Leadership of 6th November 2009. Get them. They are historical masterpieces -- and it is not everyday that one gets to see history written. I have scanned the Aminiya portion of the story and have a attached it to this post.
Long Live the King! Long Live 'Yan Uwa Bakwai! Long Live Hausa Bakwai!


General Board / Preserving Traditional Hausa Musical Heritage
« on: October 12, 2009, 07:12:10 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

It's been quite a while since I appeared on the board -- and as regulars would note, my musings are mainly about the muse in Hausa popular arts. I am afraid all the other "big" topics are way beyond my ken, so I prefer something less cerebral!

I have just returned from Abu Dhabi, UAE, where I participated in an expert's  meeting on Why Preserve our Musical Heritage for the Future? The  meeting was at the instance of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage,  ADACH, and mediated by Maison des Cultures du Monde of Paris. It is the first  of a series of start-up activities that will eventually lead to the establishment of the Ai Ain Center for the Study of Music in the World of Islam. The Center will serve as an international repository of musics from different parts of the Islamic world.

Perhaps I should point out that an earlier meeting to establish the Center in Assilah, Morocco in 2006, and of which I was also a participant, established  right away that the focus of the Center will not be on the theological debates  about the position of music in Islam. Suffice to say that Muslims perform  musics, even if unintentionally, e.g. when doing the call to the prayer, or  reciting the Qur'an in a melodious manner. What is the timber, quality, pitch  of these "performances", how does the idea of Muslim identity shape these  unintended performances? Further, the Center is not intended to be a place to  study only Islamic musical performances -- e.g. Sufi bandir (frame drum)  performances. So long as you are a Muslim and engage in music or performance within the  social space of your culture, your activity becomes a focus of the  Center.  With a proviso -- it must be heritage music; i.e. traditional. So hip-hop,  Nanaye (Hausa Technopop), disco etc, even if performed by Muslims, is out of  the purview of the center.  

As a result of the Morocco meeting, in July 2008 a group of seven experts were  convened at Al Ain, a beautiful city about 150 km away from Abu Dhabi to brainstorm and come up with a master plan for the Center. It was held in Abu  Dhabi because the emirate has agreed to establish the center as part of its  long-range plans of engagement in cultural discourse, which was signaled by  the establishment of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).  I was one of the seven, and we had a thoroughly engaging time and came up with  a blueprint after two days. The recent meeting at Abu Dhabi on 3rd and 4th October  2009 is the first in a series of start-up activities to actualize the center,  which will open in Abu Dhabi in 2011. It is therefore critical that the first  item on its agenda is to question its own existence -- why preserve our  musical heritage?

A total of 19 papers were presented from various parts of a large swathe of the Muslim world. Mine was the only from Africa. The core of my presentation revolves around the fact that traditional musics  all over the world are in danger -- and more so in Hausa societies where the  encroachment of transnational musics -- rap, disco, reggae, Black  electrotechno, etc -- sees the acquisition of Yamaha series of soft- synthesizers by Hausa "musicians" who doodle out tunes to the voices of boys  and girls patterned around Hindi film soundtrack singers. Most of the old  classical traditional Hausa musicians are dead -- Jankidi, Narambada, Dan  Anace, Shata etc. Most of the living -- e.g. Gambu, Wayam, Dan Indo, Ahmadu  Doka, etc -- don't want their children to succeed them, or they have  "repented" (Gambu and Doka) from music altogether because they consider it  bad. The new transnational Hausa sound, "Nanaye" or Hausa Technopop with its  girl-choir and Indian superstructure is fine and good. It is simply another one  of the evolving genres of music in developing countries. I state this in case  someone would consider me a boring old fogey interested only in kalangu, and therfore “not modern”. I  have extremely eclectic musical tastes -- and have a 180 GB collection of  musics from all over the world and in all genres (I particularly love rap!).  

However, it is this eclecticism that drove me into the traditional musical  heritage lane. Our music is dying and is being replaced by non-music; for no  matter how hard you try to justify it, Nanaye is not music, but just doodling;  it is not based on any specified musical theory or direction. But since they  are set on it and see it as "modernity", fine, it can be continued, for I care  less about it -- and not because it is a threat to the traditional musics, but  simply because it is horribly composed and for the most part, tuneless. Again regulars to this board will remember how the British Council enabled me to experiment with fusion music – often combining Hausa rap lyrics with traditional ensemble. We did that with Amada Ra (Barmani Choge), Kukuma Rap (Arewa) and Pulaar Rap (Naziru Hausawa). The purpose was to show that modern and traditional can co-exist.

My argument for the preservation of Hausa traditional musics therefore  revolved around the strategy of transforming the genre. By "transforming" I  mean dislocating it from its standard perception of "roko" praise-singing, and  elevating it to a start of artistic expression. Doing this requires  a  revolutionary approach that needs a whole range of skills. I created a  blueprint for this. But I went one step further by actually forming a  traditional band, and RECORDING their music. The band is called "Gari Ya Waye"  (start of new day), while the first album, which we recorded last year, is  called "Alfijir" (dawn) -- both the names were written in Ajami and English on  the cover of the CD. Sorry, but for some bizarre reason, I can't post the CD covers with this post. In fact the whole posting kept jiggling up and down and it is tough enough to get a word in edgeways. Sigh.

Alfijir, the CD, is a the first in an anticipated series  of improvisations in Hausa Traditional Music. Volume Two will feature the  solos of the instruments used in Volume One (Alfijir).  

Alfijir is made up of four tracks. These are: Alfijir (15.11), Karen Mota  (14.33), Arziki (14.39) and Shauki (3.00). Three soloists were combined  together in a single performance. These are Suleiman (flute), Auwalu (duman  girke bongo drums) and Aliyu (gurmi, long-necked lute). I hope to upload a  small sampler of the CD (containing the first five minutes each of the main  tracks) to YouTube (check under my alias, zoborodo, and see what else I have  uploaded!). But this will be, insha Allah, next month (November) when I hope  to be in Cologne, Germany, and where the bandwidth is faster. When I do the  upload, I will post in this forum. Sorry, but I can't upload the Emirate or  Shantu CDs (see below) because they are copyrighted. But as I said, you can purchase them  online, and at Amazon you can actually purchase selected MP3 tracks only.  

The performances on this CD are revolutionary for three reasons: first,  instruments not used to being in concert with others (except perhaps the duman  girke) are combined together. I was a bit nervous initially because I insisted  that each instrument should be recorded ALONE. It was only later that we mixed  the three recordings together into the finished tracks (with of course makes  it possible to produce a second CD containing the original solo performances).  We deliberately did not want the musicians to be affected by the performances  of one another -- thus they were recorded individually. They were a bit  unsettled themselves because they are used to hearing each other -- so alone,  with only a headphone and being asked to play for as long as they can was new  to them. Thanks to Naziru Hausawa of Golden Goose Studios, Kano, Nigeria, for  this revolutionary strategy!

Secondly, the tracks are long - the main tracks lasting more than 14 minutes.  We stopped at 15 minutes simply because the recording studio was HOT! There  was no AC or fan! Otherwise my intention was to record each track for 35  minutes. This differs from the three to four minute track length of  traditional Hausa musics (with of course few exceptions either Bakandamiya or  some of Shata's longer expositions of on one person -- e.g. Habu Na Habu).  

Thirdly, there are no vocals at all on any of the tracks - unusual feat in  Hausa music which is vocal-focused; in fact Hausa music does not really exist  as such, it is more of Hausa poetry or vocal performance. Can anyone recall  the music or its significance in any of Shata's composition? Few, probably.  But everyone remembers the SONGS because of their poetic quality and  excellence. Well in Gari Ya Waye -- indicating a new direction for Hausa music  -- our focus is on showcasing the playing instruments and their harmony,  rather than the singing of anyone or what they will say in the songs.  

I presented this CD at the end of my presentation as an example of a proactive  strategy to preserve and SUSTAIN Hausa music -- I also played exercepts. I  went with 10 copies thinking maybe three or four people might be interested. I  was literally mobbed for all the 10, with more people asking for their copies!  Most of the audience have never heard music from Africa in this format! I also advocated another strategy of sustenance of Hausa traditional musics,  this is reproduction. Often you hear critics of Hausa traditional musics  saying that "it is dead" because the practitioners are dead. So are Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler, Bach, Stravinsky, Chopin and whole host of other classical composers. Yet their CDs are being produced every day -- CDs of the same symphonies, concertos, sonatas, etc. We could do the same with Jankidi's music -- reproducing it with young traditional musicians (who exist -- just attend the Wedding Fatiha of any "big man" in Kano, and you will see them). That way, we keep Jankidi forever in people's memory, just like Beethoven's Fifth Symphony remains everlasting in Europe.  

In order to be provide an institutional backing for all these proactive  measures, I also formed an NGO, Foundation for Hausa Performance Arts, which  hopefully will serve as an Africa nucleus of the Center for the Study of Music in the World Islam. I avoided government because I know I would be wasting my time. The NGO is composed of many local ethnomusicologists and researchers with a practical focus to solving community problems.  In additional to Alfijir CD, there are other exciting recordings that showcase the preservation of Hausa traditional musics. The first is a CD titled Nigéria. musique haoussa, traditions de l’Emirate de Kano, which was recorded in France after a festival, and features Nasiru Garba Supa, Dankaka Rogo, and women shantu musicians. It is available at Amazon for less than eight dollars.

The CD was a joint venture between Maison des Cultures du Monde and the Alliance Francaise, Kano. Ironic -- despite our resources, we had to rely on outsiders to preserve our heritage.  

The second CD is even more experimental than Alfijir. It is a FUSION music CD  -- the first in traditional music history. Some of you might remember a Music  Festival held December 2007, at Alliance Francaise, Kano, Nigeria. Well one of  the bands that performed that night was Mezcal Jazz Unit. This is a group of  four French jazz musicians who came for the festival, and later recorded a CD  with Shantu musicians. Shantu music is a female music performance using an  aerophone (shantu) made from a gourds. It is dying performance -- but thanks  to the Kano State History and Culture Bureau, it is kept alive in  international performances (alas, not national due to the various problems  that relate to public performances of music, especially by women). Here is the  description of the CD:

“Following their first meeting during the Nigerian Festival of Kano, the Kamfest 2008, French jazz group Mezcal Jazz Unit and traditional hausa group  Shantu met again in Kano for a joint project of musical creation. This creation  must be seen as a real bridge between the two cultures via both authentic and  peaceful exchanges, through music. Two cultures, two countries, one music! Mezcal Jazz Unit, whose identity is maintained by regular confrontation with  musical groups from all horizons, is one of the rare groups capable of  engaging in artistic collaborations so smooth and fluid that they appear  spontaneous. Their quartet is based on the clearly established principle of  openness, allowing for a continuous invitation of "jazz" and "non jazz"  artists. Shantu draw his inspiration from everyday life, aware of the  important role music plays in hausa society, where they often bring popular  aspirations before an enlarged audience. Consequently, they celebrate, turn by  turn, the big and the small events. To give rhythm to their words, they sit  right on the ground close to one another in a crescent, tapping long and  strange hollowed out and decorated calabashes called "shantus". In their songs,  the tone of the voice, in accordance with the themes and the target, conserves  its natural accent. Yet the two groups drink from the same spring of melodies, sometimes simple sometimes sophisticated, fragrance of past songs, melodies of  yesterday. “

Thus Shantu (the CD) provides a gender balance by addressing music performance  of women, and for women (men allowed, though!) -- a rare feat in traditional  society, especially considering that only Barmani Choge is still chugging it  out. It is available all over the place, but mainly at CDUniverse at about  $17, but at Amazon it is about $19. . You can actually watch some of the festival fusion 12 minute performance at Mezcal Jazz Unit invites SHANTU , or

These same Shantu musicians were actually invited to play at the Emirates  Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi on 1st October 2009 in preparation to the conference on  preservation of musical heritage. I was with them backstage and did some video  recordings as well as extensive interviews with them -- and Nasiru Garba Supa,  who also performed. I am planning to produce a short documentary on  preservation of traditional musical heritage through my production company,  Visually Ethnographic Productions. So watch this space!


General Board / Rapacious Rap
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:30:01 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

Yup, I am still on with my music thing! Things are quite now because of the change in focus of our sponsors. You may recall that I regularly organize music concerts at the British Council. Alas, they have a new focus now, and music and concerts are definitely off the menu. With no one interested in doing what the BC was doing, we are back to the dark period of not showcasing young and not so young musical talents. I am trying to see if I can somewhow put together a video and audio CD of the various concerts we have had -- but there is too much work to be done, and I am extremely busy with my almajirci. Sigh. But I am mulling over the process and hopefully when things get a little less hectic, I might do something in that direction; but don't hold your breaths.

The only other avenue for public exposure of musical undercurrents in Kano (where I am based) is via underground circulation of what I call Bluetooth Hits. These are songs released not via radio play or on CDs, but through bluetooth facility of cellphones. There had been about three of such releases in the last six months that I am prompted to write an ethnomusicological analysis of their subject matter: poetic invective, or zambo. Since that is a long time coming, I decided to share a few of the thoughts with you (as well as the samples -- more later!).

Traditional Hausa musicians of course are masters at this invective -- Ali Makaho and Haruna Uji war of words, for instance. Even the religious singers -- Masu Yabon Manzo -- were not left out; for instance, Rabi'u Usman Baba's blistering attack ('Yar Wasan Hausa) on the Hausa film industry for their adaptation of Rufa'i Ayagi's religious poem (Ya Muhammadu) to a Hausa video film soundtrack, Ya Matana (by Sani Garba S.K. in Dabi'a).

Now it is Nanaye and Rappers. Nanaye is a new term for synthesizer Hausa lyrics that have mixed gender singing -- the typical fare of Hausa video film soundtracks (and advertising jingles on Radio Freedom!). It has a male voice, and stringent female call-and-resonse chorus ('yan amshi). Even religious subjects are treated this way (e.g. Bashir Dandago's Fatsumatu which was a massive hit about two years ago). Some Nanaye singers often cross-over to Rap. An example is Billy-O, whose Billy Tibani is really a Nanaye song, but rapped over. But perhaps the first Nanaye singer to introduce zambo in his song is Shaba, in his Fati Bappa (a song disowned by the lady herself in an interview with an issue of Fim magazine) in which he sarcastically rendered:

Shaba mai golden voice          Shaba, with golden voice
Na daramma mai muryar kare,      I am superior to he who barks like a dog
Wani mai wakar hanci           He who sings with nasal tone
Sai ka ce ana gudar biki,          As if in a ceremonial ululation
Kai idan yana waka                       See, when he is singing
Kamar an kunna injin markade,     He sounds like a milling engine
So na ke ka fito fili           I want you come out in the open
Ka nuna yau da ni za kai biki,       And challenge me if you dare
In ma rokon Allah                       And I will pray to Allah
Sai ka zamma dan banzan gari..    To turn you into a guttersnipe

The overwhelming view-- not denied by Shaba himself -- in Kano was that he was referring to a well-known imitation singer (whose speciality is imitating the voice of a popular Hausa video film comedian) and with whom they had an altercation sometime before the song.

When the Kano State Censorship under Mal. Rabo became some kind of Taliban for the popular culture industry in Kano, musicians (or more accurately, lyricists) quickly banded themselves and released an underground song, Ki Yi Shiru Maryam Baba (which was instantly renamed Rabon Wahala)

Mai karfi da karfin mulki        You who use abuse your position
Ba ka fi fa karfin Allah ba          Your power is less than that of Allah

Mai karfi da karfin iko               And you use you use your legality
Ba ka fi fa ikon Allah ba            Allah is more legal than you

Mai karfi da karfin khakhi          He who uses the power of his uniform
Bai wuce tasrifin Allah ba         His transformative powers are less than those of Allah

Mai karfi da karfin jama'a         He who uses the power of the masses
Bai wuce rundunar Allah ba      Has nothing on the army of Allah

Allah Kai mukewa kuka            Allah we beseech thee
Zalunci ba zai dore ba            Tyranny will never sustain itself

Wanda duk ya ke zalunci         Whoever terrorises the people
Karshensa ba zai kyawu ba      Will surely come to a sticky end!

The fact the Mal. Rabo was a former Commander of Hisbah Corps (moral police) and was indeed fond of his Hisbah uniform is not lost on those who listened -- and love the song. From my inside sources, Mal. Rabo heard the song and was apparently unhappy with the radio play it was receiving from Radio Freedom. He seemed to have complained, and they suddenly stopped airing it. However, my fieldwork indicates he did not do such thing. If anything, he actually loved the song and had it mobile phone! He says it is a good song that urges leaders to be careful and merciful in what they do -- and there is nothing wrong with that.

But the most fiery invective was from Adam Zango -- a session musician turned into an actor, and later Nanaye singer when the acting seemed to have slipped him. He released a Macossa themed video album last year (2007) titled Bahaushiya -- and he was clamped in jail for almost three months for showing an exposed midrif (of a female) during one of the songs. After his release from prison (after he apologized to the Emir of Kano, the Governor, the People of Kano etc), he recorded a song, A Zango Oyoyo. It was a blistering attack on Kano State and, particularly the Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.

To Bisimillah Allah                                            I start with the name of Allah
Zan wake mugun bawan nan                                 To sing about that horrible servant (of Allah)
Jaki mai harbin nan ya fake da cin addinin nan          The kicking donkey, who hides behind the facade of Islam
To Barau ka kama ni,                                            Well, Barau you have arrested me
Kuma ka je ka kulle ni                                           And you have clamped me in a cell
Karshe ma ka daure ni                                          And game me jail term
Ni na ji dadin daurin nan                                        Oh, I am so happy with this jail term

Shi ba daurin Allah ba                                           It is not ordainable by Allah
Ba daurin Manzon Allah ba                                     Nor it is ordainable by His Prophet
Ba kuma daurin Musulunci ba                                  Not even Islamic

Wata motar mota ce                                            Some cars are real cars
Wata motar sai an tura ta                                     Some are just lemons

Wani daktan dakta ne                                          Some doctors are real doctors
Ai wani daktan na abortion ne                               Others are abortion butchers
Wani tailan taila ne                                             Some tailors are real dressmakers
Wani tailan fid da tsiraici ne                                  Some just make clothes that make you nude
Wani malam malam ne                                          Some Malams (Islamic scholars) are real Mallams
Wani malam bokan iska ne                                    Others are just useless marabouts
Wani gemun gemun taure ne...
                         And some beards are just like that of billy goats

The icons used in the song of course allude to Shekarau -- who intensified the Shari'ah in Kano (although it did not start with his Governorship) and of course sports a clipped beard typical of Muslim mallams. Other portions of the song allude to Shekaru's dark complexion.

From my fieldwork, I learnt that Zango insisted the song should be deleted from the computers of the studio where he recorded it -- after transferring it to his cellphone. When he migrated back to Kaduna (allegedly after threats to his life from the few who learnt about the song, although did not hear it), he kept playing the song to his friends -- and eventually someone copied it, who bluetoothed it to someone, to someone etc. It eventually came back to Kano. According to Fim magazine (November 2008), many who heard Zango's song promised to "deal with him" whenever he comes into Kano. In typical Nigerian parlance, it means he will either be beaten, harassed, or worse.

One group that took exception to the song was the K-Boyz -- a duo (stripped from four) of hard core Hausa rappers. After listening to Zango's song, they went to the studio and recorded a blistering counter-attack which they call Bingo. Bingo is a common name for a dog, and from my discussions with them (Hassan and Ibrahim as they are now), they said they use the word Bingo to refer to Adam Zango as a dog, or as they said in one of the more palatable lines of the song:

Kin haifo jaki                        You have given birth an an ass
Mawallafin asara                   Author of misfortune
Da haihuwarsa, tsinanne         Rather than giving birth to the cursed one
Gwamma rashin da ne             It is better to be childless

Bakin kare                             Black dog
Ka ce an daure ka don asara    You complained of being arrested, misfortuned one
Ka ki bin dokoki                      You refused to obey the law
Dole ka sha dauri                    You must therefore be jailed
Da kai da masu binka               So you and your followers
duk babbar........(censored!)     (er.. can go to blazes -- listen to the song, and you will understand!)
Tsinannu jakai,                       Cursed, assess
Mawallafin asara                     Author of misfortune

Ka ce wai Gwamnan mu            You said our  Governor
Na ta ci da gemu                     Is making waves with his beard (promoting Islam)
Ka dakata ka ji mu                   Listen to us
Ai ya fi dai ubanka                   He is better than your father
Mawallafin asara                      Author of misfortune
Mai takama da muni                 You who is preens in his ugliness
Da haihuwarka, tsinanne           Your mother shouldn't given birth to you
Gwamma zama ba bu                Your non-birth is better than your existence

They used the same format he used in starting the song and ending it. It was simply too strong. They started first by abusing Zango's mother, before moving on to Zango himself and his followers, revealing layer by layer, Zango's previous life. I can't bring myself to reproduce it (there are young people, such as Muhsin ;D ;D ;D ;D, reading this board), but it made quite a few allusions to an anatomical portion of Zango's father. Recorded with a hard core beat, it is the classical Parental Advisory candidate that you see on some rap CDs. Due to its abusive contents, the song was not played on any radio station in Kano, but became a hit -- gaining popularity through being transferred via bluetooth. Incidently Adam Zango was played the song, and he was reported (in Fim magazine November 2008) as saying that he doesn't mind, and that it is because he is worth it, that is why they are abusing him. That may be the case; but many would find it odd to be glorified with abuses, rather than praises.

And so it continues. Media technology has provided Hausa youth with the musical power to sustain some of the poetic invectives used by the traditional Hausa musicians and which often could be vicious (e.g. the line in Shata's Bakandamiya which lambasted kukuma music, and which Ahmadu Doka did not like, and became a basis for his own Bakandamiya -- and after which he stopped singing (alledgeby because of being "cursed" by Shata for daring to reply to Shata).

Poetic literary invective is nothing new in literature -- having been around since earliest times when writers and poets started putting their thoughts to paper. It is not likely to end either, because someone somewhere will always take an exception to what another artist does. It becomes worrying, however, when it becomes a standard conversational fare, thus taking people's attention from the creative genius of the poet, singer, or writer.

I have uploaded A. Zango Oyoyo and Bingo to our servers. Salisu will soon send a link to where you can hear or download them.


General Board / Back to the Future - KanoOnline Next Steps
« on: November 14, 2008, 07:56:01 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

I decided to open a separate thread on this to provide members opportunity to contribute to the next levels. It was Muhsin who first drew my attention to the thread and on reading it I feel very excited about the various prospects being discussed. I will outline one or two of my thoughts about this, and then we can decide what the next levels would be.

Let me start with a small preface on Online communities. One of the beauties of being an online community is our collective flexibility and ability to contribute without being hampered by restriction of space and time. This fluidity makes it possible to often suggest schemes and activities that would otherwise be impossible in landbased community. I operate quite a few online communities and over the years we explored a series of projects to strengthen our collective resolve to make things better for our people. Unfortunately none worked; not because of the lack of will, or even the funding, but simple TIME! It is quite easy to debate a particular issue from the comfort of either laptop or a cafe; but to ask someone to attend a  meeting, often in a different city, or mobilize resources is quite dicey! I remember that in the Finafinan Hausa forum, and quite before all this Hiyana hiatus, we decided to rise to the occassion by producing a film ourselves -- a film we believe would be better than the standard fare produced by Kannywood, of which many of us were unfavorably critical. Among the members of the forum we had directors, producers, writers, and even backers; but in the end it didn't work because we are all spatially dispersed and getting people to come together to do one activity was getting too bothersome. So we gave up.

The same thing with arranging an award for writers on Marubuta forum -- again we gave frameworks, suggestions and specific budgets; all to zilch, because of the difficulties in getting us to "come on down" in physical space and organize something.

The point I am trying to make is that organizing an online forum into a landline concern is not as straightforward as it looks. There are many challenges, but of course none are too unsurmountable.

Now let's look at transforming KanonOnline to an NGO. Jibo and Waziri came to Kano over two years ago to discuss this proposal with me and Salisu. We had a lunch meeting and agreed that it is a good concept and welcome idea. We even provided guidelines on how an NGO can be registered in Nigeria, and the sort of requirements needed. With Salisu working at the CAC, we didn't anticipate As far as I could tell, that was where the whole ended, although Jibo can correct me on this. The process of creating the NGO needs to be followed through a series of activities requiring money, and TIME -- that commodity that is more expensive than money! Once the NGO has been formed, it must be SUSTAINED -- again requiring time and money. I used to be part of an NGO -- Center for Hausa Cultural Studies -- which we established in 2003. But after the first flurry of activtiies (funded single handedly by one of our Board of Trustees), we simply lost steam, and could not to move on. Yet every year we had to struggle to pay rent for our offices -- which we rarely use. Lack of time and possibly committment, made it difficult for us to come up with a series of activities that would generate funds to ensure our sustainability. In the end I got fed up with shouldering most of the NGO's financial and logistic responsibilities and quit as the Chairman -- and I vowed NEVER again would I be snared into such situations again. I am a follower, not a leader -- let someone lead, and I quite happy to follow them; at least I can sneak away if the going gets too rough!

So, yes, we welcome the idea of KanoOnline being an NGO. To do that effectively, we need to focus on precisely what we hope to achieve by doing that (goals, vision, mission, strategic planning, long-term planning, deliverables, do-ables, etc). We need to also decide on SUSTAINABILITY -- what would we need to do in order to sustain our existence? We need to also address the issue of startup funding -- funding for office (offices?), payment for the maintainance of the office (running costs), payment for registration (any lawyer in the house?), and funds for ACTIVITIES (which are yet to be determined, and therefore operate on a fluid budget). Once we have clear perspectives on these issues, then we are on the go.

Let me now turn to the Public Lecture issue. I am quite flattered that I am the first choice (among others) for possible candidates! However, as one of the administrators of the Forum, we have always preferred to remain in the background -- happy enough in providing a space for people to let their hair down. Therefore right from the beginning we decided amongst ourselves that we should not be the ones to lead or speak at any function organized by the Forum -- besides words of welcome and goodwill messages.

I think some of the alternatives being nominated are quite good enough. If I recall, they are Dr. Bala Muhammad (A Daidaita Sahu), Dr. Bashir Galadanci (Special Adviser to Kano State Governor on ICT and Education), and Muhammad Rabo AbdulKarim (The Director General, Kano State Censorship Board). One thing to bear in mind, though, is that each one of them is a politician, and would therefore promote a particular political view. This may not be palatable to many on this Forum -- and we have always prided ourselves on our non-participant stand (well one of us, Ibrahim Ado Kurawa has also become a politician by the virtue of being Director General, Directorate for Research and Publications, Government House Kano; but we don't allow that to get in the way!). Whoever we eventually settle on as the speaker for the event, there are logistic issues to be sorted out -- payment for the venue, refreshments, paper duplication, mini-secretariat, transport costs to secretarial staff, etc. We need to determine how these funds would be sourced, for the activity is too heavy for just one or two people to shoulder.

We experimented with the idea of setting up a subscription fee at the other online communities I operate -- and it worked, up to a point. It worked to the level were we usually meet twice a year during the Sallah period to greet each other, and pay a token subscription of minimum of 1,000 naira (but you can pay more if you so desire). Not many were willing to pay -- because we do not meet again until the following year; and people kept asking what happened to their money. So we decided to stop that practice.  It was with the little we got that we provide logistics for the meetings, and in the early stages, even contribute to holding an award ceremony (for the Hausa film industry). As I said, people started grumbling, so we stopped.

So the main issues are: how do we generate enough funds to a) metamorphose into an NGO?; b) hold a Public Lecture somehwere -- either in Kano, Abuja, or even Dubai?!?

I hope this is food enough for thought to enable us to move to the next level.

Happy deliberations.


General Board / Bots and Porn
« on: November 14, 2008, 12:25:16 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

It's been a long time since I popped in. But as an almajiri, I am always on the move seeking barar ilimi in so many places. I am glad the forum is alive and kicking. Allah Ya sakawa kowa da alhairi.

You might have noticed some unwholesome postings leading to porn sites. We are very upset about this and on investigation discovered that the posting are not necessarily done by human beings, but by script robots who exploit the registry of the website and send their filth. We are now closing this registry. No new members will be allowed to register directly to the Board. Registration from now will be through a third party email address where a person will first apply to become a member and then give their details, upon which we will decide to admit or not to admit. Alternatively, members can act as guarantors to new members -- by introducing them to the admin in a private email.

We apologize for the filth that has been saturating the Board within the last few days, and can assure you that the scholastic integrity you have come to associate KanoOnline with is still intact. Salisu is doing all he can to clean up the Board by the weekend.

So enjoy the weekend. I will come up with a posting called Rapacious Rap soon enough!


General Board / Rappo Pulaar -- BC, KN, 2008-15-03
« on: February 28, 2008, 11:32:09 PM »
Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah

I am back! (if I recall, that was James Brown, right?, on "Git Off That Thang"). I am happy to announce another genre forming concert -- Rap Pulaar! Yep, folks, I am going back to my roots -- at the foothills of the Futa Jallon highlands, and digging up Fulani Festival at the British Council on Saturday 15th March 2007, ISA.

One question that my sponsor asked is, how different are Hausa from Fulani? Well basically they are both wonderful human beings, kind, generous, fantastic, beautiful, elegant, etc! :D :D. However, she was more imbued by the term Hausa-Fulani. This term Hausa-Fulani was actually popularized during the military interregnum of Nigeria by southern Nigerian newspapers -- to refer to the leadership of the country by either Hausa, or Fulani military rulers. Since they know the Fulani military leaders speak Hausa, and since they don't know the difference, they decided to lump the leaders Hausa-Fulani. Fulani by ethnicity, Hausa by language. What a kwado!

Fact is, there is no SINGLE anthropological reference to the term "Hausa-Fulani" in any literature by the main founding researchers of Hausa or Fulani Cultural Anthropology. Simply because there is NOTHING like Hausa-Fulani -- you are either Hausa or Fulani. All references (and the earliest was in an article on agriculture in 1937) were to space domains of Hausa and Fulani. There are Hausa as a distinct ethnic cateogry (not just language speakers) and they defined their own ethnicity in The Daura Girgam. They did not even refer to the Fulani because the Fulani had not arrived when the Daura Girgram was written.

There are Fulani as a distinct ethnic identity who ARRIVED from the same Futa Jallon Highlands in the mid 15th century. We are still here! We kinda like it! Commercial, social and administrative divides made many lose their language (pulaar), and adopted the predominant language of the Hausa (not Habe, which is a derogatory term for non-Fulani, not just Hausa). If you are happy calling yourself Hausa-Fulani, fine and dandy; but be aware it is a construct, not a marker of identity. If your identity is Fulani, but are comfortable with Hausa language and cultural systems, great. May you be more tolerant, live long and prosper. Remember, the divisions are social contructs. What matters is your identity and relation to other people -- which should not be based on ethnic markers, but on WHO they are. If you are Hausa, "ciki da bai" -- we thank you for hosting the various ethnic groups in the territory and lending them a language (and for many, an identity). May you live and prosper!

I give all this background to emphasize that there are separate Hausa, and separate Fulani mindsets and social matrices. All the concerts we have been doing at the British Council in collaboration with the Center for Hausa Cultural Studies (hehehe, not Fulani!) in Kano had focused on mainstream Hausa musical performances. We decided, this time at least, to focus on the other, silent majority -- the Fulani. We are doing this on the platform on FULDAN (Fulbe Development Association of Nigeria) -- some who live in Kano might be aware of our activities which include our own Radio programs on Radio Freedom, as well as Fulfulde classes at Gidan Makama Primary School for adults and children who wish to lean, or re-learn Pulaar. We have plans to create multimedia packages on learning Pulaar, and shops to sell Fulani items. I have plans to be in Ethiopia  in April -- where most of the Fulani costumes are found -- and may bring along quite a few stuff! Watch this space (maybe we should demand a separate Board on KanoOnline -- hehehe, BUT all the founding members are fullblooded Fulas; Oga Admin even has the "bille"!).

So what would a Fulani Festival look like? Well for many  years we have only been barely aware of the Fulani musical forms -- strong focus on dance styles -- without actually experiencing it. We now have an opportunity to exprience at least three main performances. I will come up with the full program later, but this is to serve as an invitation. Full details to follow, though they may be late. The reason is I am traveling to London on Sunday for about a week, and my activity there may prevent me from developing the programs and the invitations -- BUT as usual KanoOnliners have priority! AND this time, we will have a meeting of ALL KanoOnliners who attend -- and will hopefully produce a CD of the concert which will be given ONLY to those who PHYSICALLY attend (hehehe -- so those in the Pacific, start thinking of buying your tickets!).

The Fulani festival is the only place where old men and women get up on stage and bop down! So the Pulaku is not in social realms, but in attitudinal mindset that enables negotiations of inter-personal relations. I make this quick excuse, so that you can't say, "haba ji wancan tsohon na rawa!" All Fulani elders are expected to "get down on it" (Kool and the Gang, if I recall) when the Shantu (not the tiny instrument that Hausa women use -- but a BIG trumphet that MEN blow) is playing. Here is a picture of my little Munzir attempting to play one:

And here are the adults in full swing

And of course, I can't resist my all-time favorite genre of music -- Rap! As you see, I always try to filter rap into any musical performance I organize. One of these days I will explain the methods in my madness. But for this concert we have an opening act that will perform 30 minute rappo segment in Pulaar. Will it jell? Dunno, but we are giving it a shot! This will be followed by the main traditional musical performances. So don't allow yourself to just hear about it -- ya just gotta be there, dude (how young people speak to eath other, if I recall ;D.


General Board / The Dueling Banjos - Gurmi vs Kukuma Concertos!!!!
« on: October 01, 2007, 08:19:51 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

Well it is me back again with more musical snippets! Before I tell you what it is, go to this link: It should take you to the Dueling Banjos scene from the film, Deliverance (1972) starring Burt Reynolds. The scene plays out a "duel" between a banjo and an acoustic guitar (the banjo player, by the way, is exactly my age -- and I am not telling!).

Now in a series I call Improvizations in Hausa Art Music, the British Council Kano, in collaborative creative partnership with Center for Hausa Cultural Studies (where I am the Chair) and with generous financial support of Standard Chartered Bank are hosting the first Hausa Art Music World Premiere which we call The Dueling Banjos on Saturday 13th October 2007 as our Barkanmu da Sallah!

What would "Hausa Art Music" sound like? Simply an acoustic and issues-based musical performance. Standard traditional Hausa music is basically about the voice and the praise-singing. With the Hausa Art music genre, we are hoping to make the audience LISTEN to the beauty of the musical instrument and the creative genius of the player. I believe this is a good opportunity for our traditional musicians to display how good they are with the various instruments they play. There will be vocals -- but they lyrics will focus on specific issues, rather than praising wane-da-wane.

In this particular concert we have four segments. The gurmi concerto where a gurmi player will be accompanied by sarewa and duman girke. Then the kuntigi concerto -- a kuntigi player accompanied by shantu (female equity instrument to balance out the genders!) and kalangu. In the third segment the kuntigi and the gurmi will lock horns -- the Dueling Banjos   -- starting as two solo instruments, then joined gradually by the other instruments for midsection performance. The instruments then drop off one by one until only the gurmi and the kuntigi are left on stage.

For the finale, we came up with something unique -- THE GURMI RAP! And this one is dedicated to Dan Kauye! In the Gurmi Rap are pairing the gurmi musician with Kano Riders, a very excellent hip hop group based in Kano (their hits include Rayuwa Cikin Kunci). Their recent demo releases are really good, and we hope to overlay their rap lyrics on the gurmi soundscape. I still don't know how it is going to turn out, but we have our fingers crossed! We start rehearsals on Monday 8th October for about three days and break for Sallah before continuing on the Saturday of the concert. If you are in the Kano central region within the period, drop by to see how yours truly act as Musical Director :D

The concert itself will be on Saturday 13th October at 19:00 hours at British Council Kano. For those who may wish to attend, I will leave some few blank invitations at the Security Office of the British Council from 8th October. Just ID yourself as KanoOnliner!


Jama'a, Sallamun Alaykum

I am starting this thread because it is sparkling new -- and in full stereo too! Also I want it to be a basis for providing feedback to subsequent activities that will follow.

I am sorry I have been rather absent, as Muhsin noted, but being an Almajiri, I am always on the road here and there. Further, most of the other discussions on this board are too heavy duty for me as I am completely ignorant of the issues being discussed. So unless it is musical, literary, dance, or filmic, you may not hear much of me -- which throws a challenge then, eh -- try to keep bringing them on!

I did not forget the Mecca II Medina concert which I promised at the Karamar Sallah Kukuma Rap. Scheduling conflicts made it impossible for us to hold the concert at the Babbar Sallah as initially promised. Remember, we are running the concerts in partnership with the British Council Kano, so things have to be streamlined to work out neatly for everyone.

But now I am very happy indeed to inform you all that the concert details have been finalized. Mecca II Medina are coming back, by popular demand, to perform three dates in Jos (Saturdy 10th February at Crest Hotel), Kaduna (Monday 12th February at Gamji Gate Theater) and a massive finale on Saturday 17th February at Kano British Council.

As with their concerts in 2005, they will also this time be accompanied by Nasiru Garba Supa's Arewa -- the band of traditional Hausa musicians who play with kuluma, duman garke, kalangu, sarewa and a female on shantu. Mecca II Medina, being nasheed rappers, will overlay their lyrics on the kukuma ensemble music. It was truly magical the last time they did it, and I hope for a repeat performance.

To further spice up the evening at each venue, we have also employed the services of young local rappers as the opening acts of each evening. In Jos we have a combination of three local rap bands that call themselves Living Scroll. In Kaduna we have a dude who goes by the stage name of Buzun Kaduna (and dressing up in Tuareg gear to match, too, even though he is from Edo State!).

In Kano, we have Billy-O (remember "Rainy Season") and Shaba ("Naga Matata) as the support act. Many who attended the Kukuma Concert during Karamar Sallah might remember Billy-O as the leader of the pack of rappers that opened that concert. This gig will be less crowded, as only Billy-O and Shaba will be on the frontside of the stage. Any additional dancers and back up singers will have to be way out of the way!

As usual the evening will start with the support act (Billy-O and Shaba in Kano, and others as listed in other towns), followed by Arewa solo spot, then Mecca II Medina solo spot, an intermission for the usual Q&A, and then a finale jam session featuring Arewa and Mecca II Medina; and who knows, maybe Billy O.

We are holding a (rather closed :-[) interactive session between Mecca II Medina and a group of about 10 local rappers/what they call R&B, nasheed and Shai'rai) from Kano on Thursday 15th February, which will include a jam session at 3.00 p.m. Those who happen to be in the BC around the day (and time) may drop in to see things for themselves. The musicians assembled from the Kano region cut across all the genres, including, interestingly enough a pair of musicians who call themselves PEACE -- using the synthesizer to build up Islamiyya type of songs in English, Hausa and Enghausa. Quite exciting, really. I have three of their demos and I am quite impressed with what I hear. They are Nazir Hausawa and Umar Gombe (who used to be a Hausa videofilm star, but now has migrated to music). I will see about uploading their samples at the download section of the site.

More significantly, however, we are holding an open  :D dialogue on Saturday 17th February where Mecca II Medina will address members of the audience about their music, their hopes and their aspirations in using music as a bridge to understanding in multicultural societies. You are welcome to drop by at 10 to 12 on Saturday 17th February.

We are hoping for two things to come out of this concert (beside people enjoying themselves!). First, would be a contract to be signed between Arewa and Mecca II Medina concerning recording deals. This is very exciting because it would mean that Kukuma Rap CD would be a reality in Virgin, HMV, Our Price, Tower and other stores across the world from New York to Hong Kong.  Second, we hope that more collaborations could be possible between Mecca II Medina and other local musicians; at the same time, we hope for a horizontal collaboration among the local musicians themselves. So all told, things are looking kinda peachy, as we used to say back in the college days!

Now to the REAL news! I have reserved 10 invitations to the 17th February concert for Kano Onliners at the Security Post of the BC in Kano (Emir's Palace Road, opposite Kano Printing Press) for anyone on this forum who may wish to attend. I am afraid due to other committments I may not follow the tour group to Jos and Kaduna, so I am not sure about those who wish to attend in these cities. If you do live in Jos or Kaduna, and wish to attend, let me know within THIS week so that I can arrange for where you can get your invitation.

Would love to send the invites to Hong Kong, but I am sure SHE would not be able to come (mysterious, wot is he talkin' abaht? ???). However, HER kids can of course come. These invitations can be picked up from about Wednesday 14th February. If there are difficulties, please let me know BEFORE the concert day. And if you are coming (with your family -- mum, dad, sis (if you can stand her!), bro (if you can stand him!) make sure you are there at 7.00 p.m. to avoid the hordes who may try to come in without invites. If you are stuck at the gates, holla, and I will try to come and rescue you!

So let the discussions begin -- what would you want to be covered at the concert, what would you want us to avoid?


General Board / Hausa Traditional RAP Musicians (Really!)
« on: November 11, 2006, 01:10:50 AM »
Husnaa notes

it is up to us the rest of the public to positively encourage, even if this scene is not part of Hausa culture per se and u will eventually find some bigots who will tell u that this is anti Islamic

For some reason, there is no such fear with regards to Hausa music. The Hausa film industry and the Hausa literary circles faced a lot of flak from the culturalist establishment when the industries started. The writers, who arrived first, were accused of encouraging immoral thoughts in the minds of young and impressionable teenagers with their pre-occupation with romantic themes in their novels. They were indeed labeled, Littattafan Soyayya. The Kano State Government actually set up a censorship committee in 1996 to regulate the writers, but they could not do much.

The filmmakers who started in 1990 soon enough faced similar flak from the culturalists, leading to a temporary  ban on the industry in 2001 and the setting up of a censorship board to protect "the morals of our children", particularly from the skimpy dresses the Hausa-speaking girls (lNONE of the the female dancers and singers in Hausa films are Hausa) wear on stage, deliberately chosen to titilate young male audience.

Music, on the other hand, is well protected. How? By the virtue of the fact that religious groups -- Tijjaniya, Qadriyya -- rely heavily on music for their performances, using the frame drum (bandiri) as the main instrument. Now most of them have migrated to using the synthesizer (or what they all call the piano!). If any culturalist attempts to ban music, or if quote religious injunctions against Shaba's music, then they would firing a broadside on the entire spectrum of musical performances and production INCLUDING the Sufi music rituals. And somehow that will not happen.  What they can argue against, though, is the contents of the LYRICS in the performances of modern Hausa musicians -- and so far they have been fairly clean -- intent on getting acceptance by communicating youth awareness and empowerment messages, or just being plain humoruous. There are one or two slips though. If you listen to Abdullahi Mighty's Sanya Zobe, especially the second vocal section (where the girl sings) the first line is direct porn; but it would take a very careful listen to suss it out. The film musicians, on the other hand, are out-and-out porn purveyors in some of their lyrics -- accounting for the counter-culture movement lead by Billy-O to produce lyrics that are clean and with a specific message.

One distinct fear, of course is the possible disappearance of traditional music. But we are working towards ensuring that musicans incorporate traditional instruments as well as their synthesizers together -- as done in Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey; or adopt a variation of the style as done in Mali (listen to Oumou Sangare, Neba Solo and Ali Farka Toure).

But that is not really what I want to talk about (Blimey, he has been going for ages, and he has not even started?!?! :roll: ). I want to draw attention to the fact of Hausa Traditional rap.

Rap is not foreign to Hausa music repertoire. It has been there all along. It did not take off simply because Hausa Traditional Rap artistes do not follow the pattern of other Hausa musicians in being "maroka" -- they were genuine performance artists who subscribe to the inherent beauty and quality of their craft. Since they are not client-focused, unlike mainstream Hausa traditional musicians, they received little support, and eventually the genre among the traditional musicians died.

Let me illustrate with the foremost rap exponent, Bagobiri Sullutu. In a recorded performance at the local university (Bayero, in Kano), sometimes in the 1980s he introduced his craft in the following way:

Bakandamiyar Bagobiri (Excerpt)

Ni ne Yahaya Ladan Bafarawa, Kauye
Mai Wa?azin addinin Musulunci
Shinkafi ta Diso, Kasar Sakkwato
Lakabi Bagobiri Sullutu dan uwan Galaba
Mai baki kamar gadar Gabaci
Wanda hanci nai ya karye, ido suka lotse
Mijin Amina bawan Allah, Amina baiwar Allah
Na san Allah, Ba a gwada min Allah, sai dai a fi ni karatu
Don kuwa Almalikku ya jarraba ni, Anyatul malau surutu!
(Amina) Akalluna!
(Bagobiri) Akalluna?
(Bagobiri) Akalluna mautu
To ?yan makaranta Kwaleji kun ji wannan kalma
Ita ce Bakandamiyar Bagobiri Sullutu
Wanda Amina ta ce Akallu indal mautu, da guda-guda lahira duk za mu
(Amina) Akalluna mautu
Da sunkuya mu yi dagawa gabas da yama dama da hauni
Kudu da Arewa duk mutuwa ce!
(Amina) Da guda-guda
Duk tana binmu, Amina ?yar kan mato
Komai za mu yi mu kama ibada
Mu san zuwa makaranta, tambayar Malamai,
Farilla da sunna da mustahabi, mu ji gyara mu ji barna
In mun jiya mu mu kiyaye
(Amina) Mautu indal Mautu!
(Bagobiri) Mautu indal mautu, kowazzaka duniyarga sai ya barta
Kyaun rayuwa tana tahe da mutuwa, rayuwar da bata mutuwa rayuwar banza ce!

The delivery was rapid-fire rap in perfect rhythm -- although there was no musical accompaniment. Strikingly and innovatively, during his performances he was always accompanied by his wife, Amina, who provides a sort of kick-starter for him; she will mention a word or a phrase and he will elaborate on that. Unusual in that only one other Hausa traditional performing artiste incoproated the opposite sex as part of the performance. This was Uwaliya Mai Amada (Ahayye Yaro). One of her calabash musicians -- the only MALE in an all female orchestra -- was her HUSBAND!

Bagobiri consistently maintained his rap performances throughout northern Nigeria, but as I said the fact that he was not client-focused, but issue-based, tended to mean less patronage. One of his classics was the lyrics he performed for living in a village, titled, Kauye. Here is an excerpt:

Kauye Rap (Excerpt)

(Amina) Sullutu dan uwan galaba
Mai baki kamar gadar Gabaci
Hanci ya karye, ido sun lotse
Garin mu Bafarawa kauye,
Haihuwa at-tilas, ba zama na can ba!
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Keya!
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Yunwa!
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Radda!
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Rangwamen Addini!
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Ba mu da kudi a sha fura ba nono tsamiya aka dama!
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Ba kunu mai zaki
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Ba ruwa mai sanyi irin ruwanga na firinji
(Amina) Kauye!
(Bagobiri) Sannan babu lataro babu waya babu kokakola dan zuman zamani!

Of course Bafarawa, the butt of his derision, has significantly improved now, considering that the current Govenor of Sakkwato is from Bafarawa!

I am going to upload a portion of Bagobiri Sullutu's performance to the server, and Salisu will send the links eventually. This is for everyone, but dedicate to Dan Kauye who yearns for traditionalism!

Nor was Bagobiri the only Hausa traditional rap artiste. Making rounds around markets in various cities in northern Nigeria was a man who pioneered a unique category of Hausa performance art which I call MABARATA. They sing, rap-like, no instruments, and non-client focused. They are also issue-focused, but mainly operatic. The biggest exponent of this genre of Hausa traditional performance is Muhammad Dahiru Daura, a blind ministrel. His most famous performance is IDI WANZAMI, for which here are excerpts from the composition:

Nine fa Muhammadu Dahiru Daura
Nine na Binta baban Audu
Da bara aka sanmu
Ga kuma Audu da Audu

Maganar Idi Wanzami
Na tashar Gagawa
Askinsa ya fi fida ciwo!

Idi Wanzami,
Kaji yana yin askin
Kamar ana fidar dan taure!

Idi Wanzami,
Aska da tausayi, shi babu!

Wai wanzaman kirki,
Suna yawo da badira
Idi Wanzami,
Sai ya zubo su a sanho

Askansa guda hudu
Ko wacce aska ga sunanta:
Daya ?kura kya ci da gashi?,
Daya ?ladanki na jikin ki?,
Akwai wata ?wa aka samu??
Sannan ga ?kare dangi?
Amma ita ?kare dangi?,
Idan ta fito daga sanho
Rannan mutum dubu sa kare!

Wanzaman kirki,
Kowa yana mawashin aska
Idi Wanzami,
Da dutsin nika yake askawa!
Na tashar gagawa,
Ko kuwa ya sami bulo na sumunti!

Sannan wanzaman kirki
Suna yawo da kaho,
Idi Wanzami,
Bakin garwa aka fafe
Makyangama ita ce ?yar tsagu!

Idi Wanzami,
Ga shegen karfi a gurin sa
In ya yi kahonsa ya kare
Idan ya je zuka,
Sai ya fito da autar hanta!

Definitely hilarious, especially if you hear him perform it live (and we have a copy of his particular performance at Dandali, seek, and ye shall find!). As I said, he does not use any instrument, but a chorus group -- made up of two males, who are similarly blind, who distort the chorus such that their vocals sound like a vocoder. Despite his brillance and skill with words, Muhammad Dahiru is still a begger -- and still in Kano. We have been trying to link up with the Office of the Special Adviser on Disabled in Kano to see if we could get them to accept a proposal to harness his skill (and those similarly gifted), but so far we have drawn blank. Sigh.

The political era -- what they call "First Republic" in Nigeria -- also threw up a few rap artistes in the traditional sector, although the only one who survived was Abdu Gula, aka Hececi from Tsibiri, near Maradun in Sakkwato. His dialogue was more like a story, but in a rap prose form, rather than metrical verses.

Thus the close connection between verse, meter and narrative discourse of rap artistes has always been part of the repertoire of performances of Hausa traditional music genre. What Shaba and Billy-O are doing is taking it to the next level. Even in the US, the antecedent rap format owes alot to the poetic powers of Gil-Scott Heron (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised). Compare, for instance, the planes at which Heron's lyrics and those I quoted for Hausa musicians operate. Here is an excerpt from Heron:

The revolution will no be televised
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

Thus the biggest challenge for Hausa ethnomusicologists is to trace, record and document traditional Hausa rap music for comparision with its modern variant. I will post more on this when I visit my recordist tomorrow, insha Allah!


General Board / Kukuma Rap Concert
« on: October 19, 2006, 01:08:35 AM »
Jama'a, Sallama

I have received a few requests for tickets to the above concert which we scheduled to take place at the British Council Amphitheater on Saturday 28th October 2006 at 7.00 p.m.

I have made arrangement for blank invitation cards to be given to all Kano Onliners who might be interested in attending. Just report to the Security post at British Council during working hours. Identify yourself as Kano Online, and you will be given an invitation. If you face any problems call Shehu on 08034536024, or myself on 08033208384.

I created a new thread to bring attention to the ticket offers. Discussions on Hausa rap (and what you think of the samples posted) should continue under the original mother thread, please. Your opinions are very important to these young budding musicians and they need all the encouragement they can get (if you are into rap, that is!; of course if you are not into rap you can talk about Highland Pipes with Davy, the Scot, and what lies beneath the kilt, hehehehe!).

Further, this thread can be maintained for the CONCERT -- your feedback, opinions, impressions, etc.

Hasta la vista


General Board / Hausa Rap and Hip Hop Music
« on: October 16, 2006, 01:10:46 AM »
Husna was griping about being bored. Well here's something exciting (at leat to me, as an ethnographer (wot?).

The Hausa music scene has been undergoing rapid transformation since the intrusion of global media sounds in Nigerian spaces, thanks to MTV and Channel O, and the intrusion of southern Nigerian musicians into the Hausa language sphere. When Eedris Abdulkarim (Yoruba born in Kano, based in Lagos) released Jaga-Jaga in 2005 he had a catchy tune in it, SEGARIN KANO (sic, Sai Garin Kano) which provided a technopop sound to a Hausa song. This was not the first time (Funmi Adams, anyone?, and Buari in Ghana, Saadou in Niger). This provided an encouragement for young MCs in Kano already immersed in producing music for the Hausa video film soundtrack to "wake" up to the fact that their language is being domesticated by Other.

In Niger Republic, Lakal Kaney released a tape, La voix du T?n?r? in 2000, but its availability on CD in 2004 propelled Hausa rap to a new international height -- they received offers to tour U.S. If you can get it, listen to ZAKARA YA KOKA (The Cock Crows). Fantastic!

Now in Kano, young "niggaz" started taking notice, and before you know it, we now have a whole army of Hausa rappers -- Abdullahi Mighty, Shaba, 2Pack, Kano Raiders (with their hilarious BAN CIN KWANTAN TSIRE), Khalid Kaccia, Billy O (check out BA NI TIBANI). The beat is based on the same equipment "real rappers" in the U.S. use -- Cakewalk Pro, FruityLoops, CuBase and of course the Yamaha Synthesizer (with PSR 3000 leading right now in Kano). Suddenly music studios also sprang up all over the place -- more than 15 at the last count.

This is all an example of media flows and eddies impacting on traditional society -- because the old traditional Hausa musicians have gone with the wind. In fact some of the young traditional musos have gone electric, particularly Abdu Boda Katsina, the asharalle musician.

So what do we thing of this? If there are responses, I might even report on the first HAUSA speaking FEMALE rap artist....


General Board / Ta'aziya -- Salisu Danyaro Has Lost His Father
« on: July 23, 2004, 01:36:12 PM »
Assalamu Alaykum

It is with heavy heart that I announce to all Kano Onliners the death of Alhaji Usman Danyaro, the father of Salisu Danyaro, the Webmaster of Kano Online, and "Oga Administrator". He died on Friday 23rd July, 2004 in Kano, Nigeria, after a brief illness.

Allah Ya jikansa. Allah Ya gafarta masa, Amin.


Salaam all

This thread was started by Ali Hamza in the general forum. It generated so much heat that we decided to create a whole forum for it. Anything goes there, but NO FLAMES, please. We want rational discussions on the future directions of Hausa Music.

Let us please respond to the issues and concepts, and NOT to resort to judging people and their tastes.

Let me start by information visitors about the release of IBRO SHATA last week in Kano. This contained an Ibro parody of some of Shata's songs. The one I liked best was the parody of ASHA RUWA BA LAIFI BA NE. In the re-worked Ibro fashion, the refrain was SHI RUWA SHA NAI BABU FAIDA, and he continued telling a tale about how terrible alcohol tasted. I think this is wonderful. We well explore possibilities of sending short MP3 clips of some of the songs we will be discussing.

So c'mon y'all, get rolling.


Hausa Music and Poetry (Kade-Kade da Wake-Wake) / Hausa Poets and Poetry
« on: October 09, 2002, 02:36:39 PM »
Salaamu Alaykum

This is a branch, as it were, of the main theme of this forum. I would wish to start a discussion on Hausa poetry and poets, as I don't want these to be lost within the mainstream Hausa music.

I am aware, of course, that this is a restricted niche in the sense that most people are probably not exposed to this genre. This could be an opportunity to bring out both classical, modern, known and obscure Hausa poets to world's attention.

Let's start off. Who do you consider the greatest Hausa poet of all time? I begin with my own answer (cheating, I know; the disadvantage of being a moderator!!!). To me DR. ALIYU NAMANGI, of IMFIRIJI is the greatest of them all! So there!!

The arena is now open!

Happy deliberations!


Hausa Music and Poetry (Kade-Kade da Wake-Wake) / Musical Samples!
« on: October 20, 2002, 04:10:04 PM »
Salaam to all

I have started this topic as an experiment in uploading samples of Hausa music, from classical to contemporary. Obviously due to upload and server limitations, these samples will have to be very small, but they are used to illustrate one or two points, and hopefully provide more cellphone and answering machine tones for the Hausa diaspora!


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