Author Topic: Hausa Poets and Poetry  (Read 22019 times)

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Offline Abdalla

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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!

Abdalla

Offline sdanyaro

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2002, 03:21:27 PM »
Assalamu alaikum;

Even with my limited exposure, my choice is also DR. ALIYU NAMANGI, - IMFIRIJI which can be listen to here.. IMFIRIJI

Offline Dan-Sokoto

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2002, 05:15:19 PM »
Assalaam Aaikum!

Without fear of contradiction, to me the greatest hausa poet was and is Abdullahi Mai Bara Birnin-Kebbi. He has to his credit many songs of brilliant composition. Among bhis best was MAI WA AMO TAKKAI. "Meaning those who castigate Amo" (Amo is short form for Amina in Sakwkwato). "Mai" in Sakwkwatanci means "those" and "Takkai" means "tasku" i:e castigation or mockery of negative nature. His was a pathetic issue. First he was a blind man and had a blind wife called Amina. Now in those days, i am not sure of now, women folk around Sokoto area suna dakan turmi, either for Fura (Hura) or some kind of food. Women, about 3 or 4 in number will be doing daka in one turmi one after the other, and in the process will be singing a choir. It was this condition, that in Birnin-Kebbi around early 60's as we were told, that a song of negative mockery about Abdullahi's blind wife Amina (Amo) was being chorused by women all over the town.

Abdullahi was therefore forced to compose his famous classic in response and in defence of his wife. It was shear brilliance of poetry. As the legend goes, the first time he sang that song, instanly, the mockery song against his wife seized. To date, you will not find any soul who will utter you the mockery song in Birnin-Kebbi. I tried to get my mothers to please let me just hear how the song against Abdullahi's wife sounded to warrant such a master piece response and nobody obliged me.

The theme of his peotry was an addua'a calling on ALL Mighty God to bring all kinds of aillments (he listed 99) on anybody who either sang the song against his wife, listen to it, or any person who listens to his own prayers without saying Ameen!

Abdallah, i am made to understand, you have a Sokoto professor in BUK by name Dr Jega. Kindly talk to him as i am sure, he knows and may even have the songs by my most famous poet of all times Abdullahi Maibara/Makaho Birnin-Kebbi. From your possible discussion with Dr Jega about my famous poet, i hope we then carry our discussion further on this issue.

But let me confess that, i can't remember listening to Infiraji. However, i am going to do so immediately.

One other poet of repute is the late wazirin Gwandu, alhaji Umaru nassarawa.

We shall go further into these issues.

Dan-Sokoto

Offline Abdalla

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2002, 07:02:12 PM »
Dan Sakkwato

You have really whetted my apetite about Abdullahi Mai Bara Birnin-Kebbi. I have NEVER heard of him until now. I will definitely check him out with Dr. Sa'idu Ahmad Gusau, our residence expert on Makada da Mawakan Hausa (which is also the title of his book on Hausa poets and musicians).

What you said, however, set me thinking. Was he a blind beggar, much in the same way as Muhammadu Dahiru Daura? If so, then it is tragic the way our poets are being treated.

Do you know whether there is a tape of his Bakandamiya? I would certainly love to lay my hands on it. I have recently converted about six of the nine poems of Namangi into MP3 files and burnt the lot to a CD. So it is not sparkling stereo, but it IS on CD and works fine. I would love to have more of such MP3 of Hausa poets.

Abdalla

Offline Dan-Sokoto

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2002, 02:02:09 AM »
Assalaam Alaikum Abdallah!

Honestly, i must thank you immensely for just arousing my feelings about our society's neglect to many unsung heroes and talents that existed and still do in our midst.

In and around Birnin-Kebbi and the whole of Gwandu Emirate Abdullahi is known by all and sundry. He was just a genius. Let me tell you a story about my last meeting with him about seven years ago. One day while i was in Lagos, i promised myself that any time i was home in Birnin-Kebbi, i must take time off to see Abdullahi Makaho. Truly, when i was home, i sent my brothers to go and look for him and bring him along. He did come and i engaged him in a discussion and requested him to sing that his famous prayer song on the taunters of his wife, Amo. Meanwhile, i was in the midst of many many friends who came to hear my session with him and most importantly, i had a tape recorder to burn many many songs he was going to sing that day. But on his famous song he vehemently declined to sing the song despite all my appeals. His reason? That he was an old man and above all, that song was a serious prayer to God and since God has answered his prayer and gave his wife the peace and tranquility of mind, he has no need to sing it again. However, he sang many many unbelievable ones to our consternation.

I promise to get you as many of his songs as i can lay my hands on. We owe it a duty to the many many generations of hausawas yet unborn, to, during our life-time record worthy achievements of our times for them to be aware of. Abdallah, i have nothing to say than, to pray that, the Almight bless this your undertaking and crown it with success while on my part, i promise whatever assistance possible.

I will also want to inform you of another great poet from Gwandu emirate. He is retired army Captain Umar D. Suru. Presently he is a Chairman of a Local Government in Kebbi State. His works were a piece of genius and we shall get them in sha allah.

Equally, Aminu Kyuri has also to his credit great poetry songs. For him. when i am home we can have him any where of our choosing to record his songs. I am trying to get in touch with my very very good childhood friend and brother Dr Bello SY Alhassan (whom you may know) of the Department of African Languages (Hausa) A.B.U. Zaria who is himself a poet (has songs to his credit) in order to assist in this endevour. Dr Bello
is an alumni of BUK and in one of his projects had cause to reseach into the life and songs of NARAMBADA. There are many interesting things he told me about this research that we need to explore. I just can't wait to get back, but meanwhile, i will try from my base here in US to see what we can do in order to get going.

Thanks a million Abdalla, it has been most informative for me this last few days.

Dan-Sokoto

Offline Abdalla

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2002, 01:14:00 PM »
Dan Sakkwato,

Aw shucks! You don't have to thank me for doing my job! Interestingly, I am a scientist, but deep into what I call Scientific Hausa Cultural Studies - where the analytical methodology of science are brought to bear on study of cultures. In the process of this theorizing, I came across a lot of cultural re-awakenings. Your posts  have been most enriching for me too, and we are thinking of downloading the posts and using them as a basis for tutorial in one of our doctorate classes here in the university (although I don't belong to the Arts faculty! Go figure!)

So I look forward to those goodies you promise when you return home. Allah Ya dawo da kai lafiya.

In the meantime, I was thinking about musicians (lyricists) and poets. What distinguishes one from the other? A young colleague I am helping on with his doctoral thesis on Hausa Music suggests that words to music are sung, while poetry is WRITTEN first, and then sung later, if at all sung.

I was fascinated by this division, as I thought it is the lyrical meter and structure that determines which is which, rather than expressive form. Although not written, there are many musical lyrics that are just sheer poetry. In particular, Dankwairos's songs. My favorite is this exerpt from GARNAKAKI

"Dan bajumi bujumi ne
dan giwa giwa ne
Tabbata kuzu..
..kuzu zai haifawa
Ko jiya na dan burgu da farin bindi nai..."

Masterpiece, especially when you remember how they sung it in perfect lyrical form. Sigh.

So back to the discussion. Two things to ponder about:

1. What distinguishes musical lyrics from poetry?
2. What musician-poets whose poetic lyrics inspire you? Let us read them!!!

Abdalla

BTW, I will be away from my computer for the next 3 to 4 days, and in a place where I will have NO access to the net (although I will try). So if you did not hear from me, don't worry, I will respond to all posts when I log back on!

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2002, 01:53:31 AM »
Assalam,
First I must commend the efforts of Abdallah for coming up with this very important forums both the music and the poetry, mai kwadayi ya ga ana yanka nama yace 'ai ni naga wajen zama' but unfortunately time is not on my side as you may know I am engaged with lots of other 'cyberetics'. This not withstanding I found this two forums irresistable  and insha Allah I will be poping in and offering my contribution as time permits, I just hope my wife doesn't get to know about this forum or else she adds Prof. Abdallah's name to her black book where she keeps an entry of people  she hold responsible for my spending half the night online  ;)
Now to business, I also agree with the majority that Aliyu Namangi's IMFIRAJI is the best, is a masterpiece and simply beyond comments. But there were also other good poets like Aliyu Dansidi( sarkin Zazzau), Muazu Hadeja, Aliyu Akilu, Mudi Sipikin, Na'ibi Wali, Lawan Maiturare, Gambo Hawaja, Hamisu Yadudu Funtuwa and Abubakar Ladan. There are also many people with lots of talents and wits whose work is not well know or not published may be with time we can bring out these obsecure work from our private collections and analyse them here for the benefit of all. Lastly I want to issue this warning: I am not an expert in this field Iam rather an over zealeous almajiri with an unsatiable appetite for the critical mode of enquiry of the subject matter. Many Salaams.

Offline Abdalla

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2002, 07:15:29 PM »
Magaji

Thanks for your kind comments and contributions. My kind regards to the Madam for tolerating your online behavior! I know the feeling, from the glowering looks I used to get when I get back home late! Allah Ya ba mu zaman lafiya, Amin.

I think the reason most people go for the "classical" Hausa poets is because they were exposed to them at a more formal stage of their lives. For instance, IMFIRAJI was the set reading required for my WASC exam in 1973. It therefore had a lasting impression on me. Abubakar Ladan's poems were often always broadcast on the radio in the late 1970s, a similar impression was also created.

And as you rightly pointed out there are many other poets whom we have never heard of, or who do not have exposure. I created this forum so that we can bring them out and thus begin to appreciate their works. One of such, now late, was Ahmadu Danmatawalle Hadeja and his menagerie poems (Wakar Tsuntsaye, Wakar Dabbobi). Colonially trained, he created a fascinating metaphorical world of lyrical excellence in his paradory of the Hadeja emirate court process.

I did ask whether there is too fine a point between a Hausa musician and a Hausa poet. From what I was told, poets actually write their songs down, while musicians don't bother, they just sing to the occassion.

And don't worry about being a non-expert in the discipline! None of us is. My training is in science! However, we all have one thing in common: we love our culture and are willing to spread it to the world. Since noone will do it for us, it is left to us to do it.

So I am looking forward to those contributions of poets you like, dislike, and those you think don't get enough mention and thus need more exposure. I am based in Kano, Nigeria, and therefore have access to most of their recordings, which I can then encode as MP3 files and upload to our other cultural website, www.dandali.com.

Abdalla

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2003, 02:29:19 AM »
Assalam Alaikum

What is wrong to this forum?  For along time I have been logging in to see if there is any contribution on the discussions but find nothing .  I would like to suggest that the forum be open to all kinds of discussions on Hausa poetry like posting interesting Hausa poetry and full discussions on the meanings and wisdom in the poems.  I could remember when Hausa ecircles was functioning we were discussing Hausa poems and the discussion was one of the most visited there.

Ina ganin idan moderator zai ba da dama za mu farfado da wannan zauren ta hanyar kawo wakokin Hausa da bayanin manufarsu da fito da hikimar mmawakanmu na Hausa da sauransu.

Isma'eel Na'iya

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Re: Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2003, 07:26:24 PM »
Dear Abdallah,
Assalamu alaikum!  It will really surprise you to get a Kanuri's direction on the above subject, may be for the first time.  I do listen to Hausa music/songs or poetry with kin interest.  But let me confess that, I came across this forum today 21/07/03 and became highly impressed.
Mallam Abdallah, Iam also of the view that, Namangi's imfiraji is the most wonderful.  If you say why?  I will tell you what you all know: Namangi was born blind and remained blind all his life! He even talked of when his parents took him to a local Malam and the complain they made to the Malam of his predicament(blindness).  That time the malam told his parents that Namangi is not blind in his heart, so he assured them that he will make it Insha Allah and he made it.  Apart from imfiraji his poetry of "wakar keke" is also very rich. Mind you Iam just commenting as someone interested in the continuous development of Hausa language and culture.
Abdallah I wish you Allah's guidance in all your endeavours.  Thank you and God bless.








































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Anonymous

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Hausa Poets and Poetry
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2005, 10:02:39 PM »
sdanyaro I think just like you.

 


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