Undercanonized African Records

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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also something for surf, Matthew Lavoie from most excellent Wallahi Le Zein blog (i'll post more stuff from his blog later) posted these super rare recordings of Dimi bint Abba's dad - Sidaty ould Abba from the 1960s. Sidaty ould Abba is generally regarded as half man/half national treasure in Mauritatnia. there's steel guitar recording and moorish guitar recordings in Matthew's blog post. it's an interesting listen to say the very least.

Sidaty ould Abba, 1924-2019

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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now, most of the stuff i was going to post here is more or less one music genre. for the last 9 months or so i am totally consumed by Hausa praise singing (we're talking Nigeria's Muslim north and Niger's south) as it consumes the largest chunk of my music playtime. i am using Youtube as a music research tool as it is 2008 and i've systematically downloaded pretty much everything i could find there from these old school Hausa praise singers (1950-1990) and arranged my own collections so i am aware that i'm kind of undermining here the idea of underrated African records with what i am about to post here. there are regular also releases but that's a minority. the fact of matter is that with these Hausa YT uploads you often don't know whether its from a regular release, a private recording/bootleg or ethnomusicological document.

in broad sociological strokes, this epic storytelling stuff or anything that falls under Griot tradition is actually a cultural mode that's super-familiar for anyone from the Balkans area as we also have a chunk of folk music production that does the same. and as contemporary Serbian gusle players mostly eulogize Yugoslav war criminals Hausa praise singers sing praise for highly dubious Hausa-Fulani Northerners - generals, tycoons, corrupt politicians and religious leaders. there is no way of sugarcoating this: in modern times Hausa praise singing mostly serves to entrench the existent socio-politcal order & affirm and reproduce societal hierarchy. furthermore it acts like a permanent radio broadcast of who's who in Hausa society and tells you what are right positions to adopt (not that i speak Hausa but i googled so many Hausa strongmen and dignitaries that it makes my head spin). and historically, praise singers were attached to various emir's courts and were an extension of emir's diplomacy among the general population but in the last 50-60 years the profession has first emancipated and then lost substantial ground in the 1990s and 2000s due to modernization.

huge disclaimer: most of this stuff is musical in a very limited sense. i don't know yet what is the appeal of this music to me. normally, i am really into plinky-plonky tape experimentalist stuff, old school industrial and especially ritual industrial music and somehow this types of music seem to be a good prerequisite to appreciate all this musically austere if not downright skeletal stuff that you can find in the Sahel belt. my educated guess (no aesthetican here) is that there's something about the regime that this music engenders (it's a music of strict protocols and i love strict protocols) which oscillates back and forth between (vernacular) trance music and some sort of tribal jamboree. often it goes into dark metaphysics but can also be super humorous at tunes. there are some formally interesting stuff that goes on here like kalangu (the talking drums which can tuned mid-play to change pitch), myriad of different call and response variants (of which West Africans are undisputed masters of) and there is sometimes some unexpected added value in the amateurishness/total lack of production standards. but there are different sorts of Hausa praise singing and not all involve talking drums and call and response.

so before i plunge deep into the hard and heavy depths of Hausa praise singing repertoire here's a phenomenological intro. so it all started 9 months ago when i stumbled upon this Likembe blog post - THE VOICE OF AREWA - about Alhaji Mamman Shata, the universally acclaimed master of Hausa praise singing. there are two tapes posted in the Likembe blog post but my absolute fave is Emir of Hadeija tape. this tape is like a sneak preview of what Hausa praise singing sounds like because in Hausa praise singing reality the songs usually last for 6-8 minutes at the very least and here, in the Emir of Hadeja tape, they roll out much faster, almost as if Mamman Shata skips through most of them in a live, one take recording with plenty of nice medleys. not only its an equivalent to a highlight reel (shout out to my IHM Sport homies) but its also on the more approachable end of Hausa praise singing stuff. A side praises religious and business leaders and B side praises historical personas :D. the other tape, Bakandamiyar tape with the eponymous song is actually Shata's signature track and seems to be a Shata's go to track for all actual Hausas because in it Shata sings about himself and his own exploits and at the time this came out it was not common for praise singers to sing about themselves. so for Hausa people it has this veneer of being emancipatory and kind of outside of the box thinking (but its not so musically interesting to me as i can't really appreciate it fully without knowing the language, except in a roundabout, secondhand way). the recordings on both cassettes are most likely from vinyl releases of the 1975-1985 period whereas this YT live which Likembe also posted - which is good, but not that good - is from the mid-1990s. this is how i started with Hausa praise singing and this is how y'all start.



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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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further in our quixotic quest to musically map an oral poetry genre of a language we don't speak we encounter Alhaji Musa Dankwairo from Bakura (Zamfara state). put in comic book terms, Musa Dankwairo is Shata's archnemesis, the only person that could possibly contest Shata's preeminence as the best Hausa praise singer. however, from where i'm standing (anglophone Hausa internet) it seems that Shata is definitely the most popular.

Musa Dankwairo (1910) is a bit older than Mamman Shata (1924) and a part of his high esteem stems from the fact he is one of the last praise singers that were attached to a court (Shata was a freelance singer). Dankwairo was the court musician of Sultan of Sokoto and has famously channeled popular sentiment in North with his lamentation of the crown-prince (Sardauna) Ahmadu Bello, the assassinated prime-minister of Northern Nigeria. (there is also the bit about how they supported opposing political parties in pre-independence Nigeria and the First Republic, but i'll drop so that i don't over-stretch myself even further)

so for instance Ten thousand victorious Sardauna is the song that propelled him to stardom, but as i said before although there are more canonical songs my criteria is purely aesthetic (meaning accidental) so my absolute favourite go to Dankwairo track is his tribute to a Northern politician who is actually not that central character in Nigerian politics (i mean in federal level).

the person praised here is a military general by the name of Adbulmumuni Aminu, the one time governor of the Kanuri dominated Borno state (the home of Boko Haram, if they have a state). Abdulmumini Aminu was the right-hand man of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) in coup of 1985 that overthrew the first military presidency of the current president Buhari (now in his second, civilian term) and installed IBB (himself a conspirator in many coups - 5/6 coups from 1966 to 1985 to be precise). AA was later the president of Nigerian Football Federation during Nigeria's NT most successful WC run (you can tell in how knee deep in shit is African football when the Wikipedia page of AA says that he paid 8.000 $ bonuses to Nigerian players for their performance on the WC). so a character that's certainly not marginal, but surely not central either.


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Dankwairo has like 10 different songs about the late Sardauna - one of the most praised individuals in praise poetry - but for instance i like this song the most:

(EDIT i know the audio is horrible in the first minute but it gets better)



also, another song that i like is about Hassan Katsina, yet another prominent Nigeran general, coup plotter and politician who served as Chief of Staff during the Biafra seccession war.

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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the funny thing is that since Dankwairo was an older guy, in many videos you can find of him on Youtube he just appears as a central, physical presence while his deputies do the actual singing (and because he's so old and esteemed, he can sort of get away with that). this is the case in this video too - he just sits there and occasionally gets involved but he's mainly present in his overseeing capacity. so in a way he's got this Künstler als Techniker thing going on - he just set ups all the relevant parameters and outsources the actual performing (a bit like Kraftwerk really)


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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today's wakoki (or praise singer) - Ibrahim Narambada is actually super-fun post for me, because he's both an obligatory mention (it seems there's no way past him for chroniclers of Hausa praise singing, especially those with a background in literature) and in the same time one of the most scarcely documented characters in praise singing in terms of available audio materials (so obscure ! much underground ! :geek: )

to me, Narambada has this semi-magical aura because he is sort of a persona between two worlds - he flourished in the time when recording technology in Nigeria was not so prevalent and the few existent recordings of him are from the time when he was way past his prime - in his 70s. so Narambada is with one leg in the realm of Hausa folklore with apocryphal praise singers we can only read about and with the other he's a part of our world (Walter Benjamin's world of mechanical reproduction in this case), he has some tangibility to us - although these are mostly glimpses.

Narambada is the earliest praise singer i got the opportunity to hear since he was most likely born in 1890 in village Tubali (*Sokoto state) and died in 1960 (we are pretty much always talking about likely birth years). like Musa Dankwairo, he was a royal praise singer - on the court of Sultan of Gobir and he used this position to gain prominence in the North and perform for other dignitaries and officials across Hausaland. *i'd say that approximately 80-90% of Hausa praise singers are from these three states: Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina (most of them from Sokoto state - traditional epicentre of Islam in Nigeria).

musically, Narambada is interesting because his drumming troupe doesn't employ kalangu drums but instead uses kotso, a single membrane hourglass drum (unlike kalangu which is playable from both sides) that is associated with royalty and Fulanis (the associative proximity of 'Fulanis' and 'royalty' not being accidental in Hausa worldview).

so as said before, most of his repertoire is preserved in written form and some of his most famous performances are unrecorded (like the 1927 show he put on for Sultan of Gobir) due to the scarcity of the recording technology at the time. the quality of the surviving recordings that circulate online is quite bad except for these Radio Kaduna recordings from 1960 (the first two videos are from that Radio Kaduna session and they are generally OK but for the third YT clip there are some playback instructions, unfortunately (most of the audio materials online are like that).

for instance, i am absolutely in love with the dark metaphysical Gaskiya Tayi Halinta. to me, this track represents the timeless transcendental essence of all 1980s ritual industrial stuff i was into since ages ago (fast forward to 5:14 as it's impossible to timestamp YT in an embedded mode here)



another awesome track is the song for Sarkin Zazzau Muhammadu Aminu, (the newly crowned Emir of Zazzau, traditional state in Nigeria)



i am crazy ambivalent about his signature track Dan Filinge, a song about the supernatural abilities of the race horse of his master, the Sultan of Gobir. its a good track, i love the (human-)machine drumming but there's something about the very idea to praise a horse that is a unnerving mix of bizarre, cringey and unsettling (headphones only, you can barely hear the drums without subwoofers). however, i don't understand Hausa so that's partly a hypothetical problem


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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Sani Aliyu Dandawo is my favourite Hausa praise singer. he's probably the most musical (in a very specific sense) and one of the guys whose style is so distinct that you can unmistakably pick his tracks out of a whole lot. as stated before, Hausa praise singing being a oral poetry genre, there is all this thing about poetics and the actual meaning of words but at this point we can only remind ourselves of this fact as well as that in any case we can understand a tiny fraction of what's going on and continue plowing away with confidence.

Sani Aliyu Dandawo (1938-2016) was born in Kebbi state into a family of praise singers. his father Aliyu Fodio Dandawo was a well known praise singer from the 1950s and 1960s who got the nickname Dandawo by selling dawo (or forage) on the streets. as for whether Sani Aliyu Dandawo was a royal (court) praise singer or not, that's kind of murky because while he seems to have been not attached to any particular court at the same time praise songs for traditional rulers were his subspecialty, he almost didn't perform any other repertoire besides this. whether or not he was a court praise singer is for me an actually super-interesting question to think about in regard to aesthetics of Sani Aliyu Dandawo's praise songs because when your hear most of Alhaji Musa Dankwairo's or Ibrahim Narambada opus - the two epitomes of a Hausa royal praise singing in the 20th century - hardly any of their songs sound so dry and formal as Dandawo's opus does (Musa Dankwairo even he has kids singing in the choir on some tracks).

when i said in my introductory post that Hausa praise singing is the regime that this music engenders and strict protocols i am kinda wondering is that true or not because this general conclusion might be significantly skewed by my affection to Sani Aliyu Dandawo as he is the one i had in mind saying that. Sani Aliyu Dandawo takes it down to the bare basics, it's all about the superimposition of the form, to the extent that you almost wonder at times is this African or East Asian court music. in terms of instrumentation, he uses the Fulani kotso ceremonial drums instead of the standard kalangu talking drums that most praise singers use, along with a accompanying choir; although kotso is less rich musically and there is less stuff that you can do with kotso drums than with kalangu, it is also how he uses it and what he makes of it that makes him stand out. and when you see it performed live in all of its pomp and decorum one conclude that it is a intentional drive on his part to push praise singing to a fine art.

so if Mamman Shata is one of the most outside of the box praise singer who was loved because he was a larger than life character (with his public feuds, controversial attitudes and confrontation with religious authorities), Sani Aliyu Dandawo is perhaps the opposite - the most old school, by the book praise singers of his time. the kind of praise singers your conservative Hausa grandad would like. Dandawo is anti-Shata.

Shehu Kangiwa is Sani Aliyu Dandawo's most famous song, here presented in its alternative, less popular rendition. the person being praised is Shehu Kangiwa, the one onetime governor of Sokoto state - a classic Northern bigwig, super corrupt guy, lots of scandals, escalated the Shia conflict in Sokoto state but nonetheless beloved in popular memory and because of the tragic way he died... he died in the early 1980s by falling of a horse during a polo game. anyway this 1980s TV Kaduna video rocks my socks all day long. there are some odd skips (possibly due to VHS deterioration) in the video, but this studio choreography and lighting, the way Sani Dandawo is seated on the diwan lightly tilted on the pillows, everything is like visual anthropology porn.





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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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my absolute favourite Sani Aliyu Dandawo song is Alhaji Mohamed Mai from the Sarkin Sudan Kontagora digital release (don't know whether it is also a regular release as i haven't seen any commercial recordings of his music), a tribute to some obscure local governor or village chief from Kebbi state of the same name. to say that the song is rudimentary is an understatement, it's more like a stylistic exercise, as if he uses kotso drums as a metronome. i know i already used one Kratwerk reference on this topic, but the drumming is pretty much like when Trio (the German pop band, Kraftwerk clone) play drums.

this song is also my standardized 6 minute test. if one can listen Sani Aliyu Dandawo how he meditates "Mamman Mai Mai yona agegi" with the most skimpy instrumental backing in Nigerian music then this is a certain someone who should consider giving Hausa praise singing a serious chance.



this is a song i don't know anything about. but lets try to pull together some elements with the help of Google Translate: "bukin bude" should be the "opening ceremony" and Kofar Gamji refers to the or Gamji gate, a popular park in Kaduna. any connection of the Kaduna park opening to crown prince (Sardauna) Ahmadu Bello that's being evoked in the song refrain eludes me. especially considering the the harrowing atmosphere the song has. but this track is just (flat) magic in audio form and all the hiss and cracking on the recording don't take away anything, they just add. it's just a spellbinding listening.


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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argh, i had an irresistible urge to post some more Sani Aliyu Dandawo stuff before i proceed further.

late Garba A.D. Kano was Nigeria's Jeff Bezos, an oil tycoon turned all-around business magnate in Nigeria and Africa. given the client-oriented nature of traditional Hausa praise singing, Garba A.D. is - along with Sardauna - perhaps one of the most praised individuals in Hausa praise poetry. one could make an LP compilation of Garba A.D. praise songs just based on the material available on YT and this Sani Aliyu Dandawo tribute could easily stand out on such a release. the song's pompous, swaying rhythm should spell out Garba A.D.'s swag and power to the unsuspecting listeners but actually its much more complicated than that because - as said in the previous post - Dandawo company's drumming style is sooo notoriously dry and clinical that it (at least to my ears) places the song into a different register. in the song Sani Aliyu Dandawo goes on mentioning different countries where, i guess, Garba A.D. has various enterprises Ingila (England), Djarmani (Germany) and Indiya. Sani Aliyu Dandawo also paves way for dynastic continuation by inserting Garba A.D.'s son Awwal into the mythology so that in a few years time when his own son happens to be singing about Garba A.D.'s son - the listeners would be well prepared (i'm speculating, but it's entirely feasible). the choir sings Garba A.D. Kano, zaki, uban Awwal (Garba A.D. of Kano, lion, father of Awwal)



besides the death march for the above-mentioned Shehu Kangiwa, probably the second most popular song of Sani Aliyu Dandawo is a tribute to Ahmed Aruwa, the late senator from Kaduna state and owner of the Nigerian top flight team Kaduna Ranchers Bees. Dandawo doesn't have a lot of upbeat, jamboree-ish songs on his repertoire, so it's no wonder that this was picked up by the people although it's an outlier of sorts.


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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the late Garba Supa from Kano state is variously refered to on the internet both as Garba Supa (an abbreviation of Garba Super, his artistic name) and Garba Sufa, a popular vernacular corruption of Garba Supa (Hausas have a way of turning all their p's into f's whenever they can - see, for instance, the word farfesa which means professor in Hausa). there are no birth or death year that i could dig up but Garba Supa flourished in the 1970s and until the 1990s, so i can only assume he was born sometime in 1940s and died in 1990s or 2000s.

so with the previous posts that featured Mamman Shata, Musa Dankwairo, Ibrahim Narambada and Sani Aliyu Dandawo, ya'll sort of got the picture what Hausa praise singing generally is, what are its topics and its purpose as well as what's its ethics and aesthetics. now, with Garba Supa we start to deviate and break from that model a bit. since Hausa praise singing is usually done at a patron's house, during a religious-social event or various public processions organized by authorities, the kind of praise singing Garba Supa was invested with primarily deviates from this norm in the spaces and context of performance. Garba Supa was a part of a wave of praise singers that rose to prominence in wholly secular spaces in the 1960s; they played in taverns and urban discotheques where the young urban working class people went to entertain themselves. another significant point of departure of this new style of popular praise singing is that - while traditional Hausa praise singing has a clear client-oriented nature - these new popular praise singers also sang about the everyday heroes, unusual characters or just about anything, not just their clients. for instance, one of the Garba Supa's heroes is Dan Kuturu from Jongana, a beggar who smoked only deluxe tobacco, Garba Liyo sings about Ali the BP petrol station worker, while Muhammadu Gambo Fagada sings mostly about the criminal underclass and is known among the people as Gambo Mai Wakar Barayi (the thieves' singer).

so these were not exactly disco nights since the musical form we're talking about was a slightly emancipated version of the music their fathers and grandfathers enjoyed in terms of topics and general context but there was a lot unsupervised gender mixing (which is a lot in Hausa context) and many of these performers incorporated actual dancing troupes (since the onset of the 1960s Bollywood films and especially musicals dominated the youth imagination in Hausaland). this was like the conservative, Hausa equivalent of the hip 1960s and this is the context in which our man Garba Supa made his name.

Garba Supa plays the kukuma, a small one-stringed secular fiddle that was popularized in the 1960s by praise singers like Ibrahima Nahabou and Ahmadu Doka. before the 1960s, kukuma was not exactly part and parcel of Hausa praise singing and fiddle musicians were and are still generally regarded as a lower class musicians than drummers and other musicians, a kind of a musicians under-caste. the fiddlers are the only types of musicians that are not employed as court musicians on any traditional ruler's court in Hausaland (and in the next episode i will try to describe why is that). besides kukuma that he plays, Garba Supa has a pretty much standard lineup of kalangu drummers and an accompanying choir.

in terms of music styles he sports, Garba Supa has a super varied repertoire. there is some very upbeat stuff like one of his most popular songs - Amarya Angon Ba Da Wasa Ya Ke Ba (The bride is unmarried if Google Translate doesn't fails me) which is said to have become an immensely popular wedding standard in Northern Nigeria of the 1980s and 1990s.


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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there also a lot of elegiac songs (like Hafsatu, Kuturu, itd) in Garba Supa's repertoire however since i have a super specific entry point into Hausa praise singing my favourites probably aren't going to be anyone else's favourites.

now, i probably don't have a font large enough to say this - i fucking adore JIRGIN SAMA MAI TASHI. it's easily my top 3 Hausa praise singing tracks. it's dark ecstatic trance of sorts, ugly and menacing, yet so simple in design (in fact just barely musical - like most of the best barely-glued-together stuff i like from the 1980s cassette experimentalism) but it rolls. and its full of unexpected twists and turns. i don't have a faintest clue what this song is about (GT says the title is Flying Aircraft, which seems as an interpretational dead end of sorts). the original uploader of this song on the Hausa YT has put the title Ado Abdullahi, probably meaning Ado Abdullahi Bayero but i can't trust this source because the uploader also placed an image of Garba Supa into the YT clip which is not him but Haruna Uji and also made a couple of errors that are easily rendered as such even to me



one of the things i adore about Hausa praise singing is how even most simple praise songs about most mundane stuff sound so unnecessarily ominous. like for instance, Baba Sharuma is some super obscure village chief from Bichi LGA (Local Government Area near Kano) and Garba Supa sings praises about his exploits but Garba Supa's wailing vocals together with the circular rhythm pattern of the talking drum ensemble makes it somehow sounding like scene from a sword and sorcery movie where someone is being tortured on a rotating wheel. i looove those cultural mistranslation bits. don't mess with Baba Sharuma !


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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as we delve further and further into the various nooks of Hausa praise singing we operate with fewer and fewer information. for instance, the praise singer i'm presenting today - Hassan Wayam from Zaria (Kaduna state) - has has very little available information in English. there is a lot of interviews with him, the Hausa media likes checking up on these old guys but all these interviews are TV interviews in Hausa and thus of no use to us.

Hassan Wayam is a living legend of Hausa praise singing and has the distinction of being the only currently living praise singer (he's in his late 70s) of all we mentioned on this topic so far. if his own account that he was 15 when Sardauna was assassinated is true, that would make him born in 1941 or 1942 (as opposed to the year given in the Hausa wiki entry on him - 1956). he is originally from Zamfara state, but lived mostly in Zaria (Kaduna state) since his adulthood.

in the previous post we mentioned that Garba Supa played the kukuma, a small secular fiddle. Hassan Wayam plays kukuma's older - and more problematic relative - the goge, a large single-stringed fiddle which is native to all aboriginal populations of the Sahel belt. among the Hausas, goge is associated with the ecstatic rituals of the Bori spirit possession cult - a remnant of Hausa pre-Islamic religion - but is also the ritual instrument of the Maguzawa (non-islamic Hausas) that survived in some areas of rural northern Nigeria as well as in Hausa refugee states of Konni and Dogondoutchi in southern Niger, established in the early 19th century in the aftermath of the Fulani jihads. because of this fiddlers - and goge players especially - are generally associated with lower social status and thus avoided. Jacqueline Cogdell Djedje writes in her 2008 study Fiddling in West Africa :
The current social status of fiddlers and the attitude of the Hausa toward fiddling are determined to a large degree by views held by Muslims in Hausa-land. Since most Fulbe-Hausa, particularly those who consider themselves to be deeply religious, condemn and do not want to be associated with music, fiddlers have had a low social status in spite of their popularity (Erlmann 1983b, 1983b). Most Hausa regard musicians and the music profession, with the exception of court performers, with disdain. Whereas several types of idiophones, membranophones and aerophones are attached to the emir’s court, those who perform chordophones are not represented. Many Hausa parents would also disapprove their daughter’s marriage to a fiddler. Even during the 1960s when fiddling was popular, Ames observed that the lack of social acceptance could be seen in the refusal of many nonmusicians to eat of the same bowl with musicians or to lodge in the same dwelling (Ames 1973b:154). The attitude that members of a community have about a musical tradition is sometimes reflected in their oral literature. The proverbs and jokes listed below indicate how some people in Hausaland regard the goge players:

The goge fiddler to the hourglass drummer: “You only play for the girls to dance and they give you pennies.” The drummer replies: “You only play for the harlots to dance and they give you a half-smoked cigarette to finish up.”
so when the older generation of Hausa would hear goge in the 1960s what they would hear would be these backward yokels from Niger dabbling with entheogens and spirit-possession cults that were remnants of some other time and to witness their youths going to discotheques and urban bars to listen some goge players seemed probably seemed sketchy to them at the very least. however what they didn't know was that goge and kukuma had stepped in to emulate Bollywood's over-dramatic violins and not to evoke any blasphemous bygone traditions. so goge was in a way somewhat rehabilitated and re-appropriated into the cultural mainstay. now, i don't know how Hassan Wayam's own poetic and treatment of goge actually fits in within the general frame of goge's re-emergence in Hausa popular culture (he could be an outlier for all we know), but that's the general history of goge.

now some encouragement. Hassan Wayam's YT recordings are among the best quality of all i posted thus far. most of his stuff (and there is not a lot) seems to be recorded in a professional studio. there are also really good video's all over YT. my absolute favourite and Hassan Wayam go to track is Talala Walkin Maciyi translated hilariously by Google Translate as "do not recommend snake wallet" (we will sorely miss these translations once the translation algorithms improve)

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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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here you have all three tracks - Banine Nafadaba - Dan Gora Allah - Talala Walkin Maciyi, splashed together in a wonderful one take recording


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Re: Undercanonized African Records

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DarkAttraktor wrote:so when the older generation of Hausa would hear goge in the 1960s what they would hear would be these backward yokels from Niger dabbling with entheogens and spirit-possession cults that were remnants of some other time
so what the older Hausa had in mind when goge was mentioned in the 1960s would probably sound more like what i am about to post below. in 1998, the French musicological instute Ocora released a wonderful CD of Harouna Sanaye Oumaru aka Harouna Goge, a goge veteran from Niger. and actually there is a wonderful story behind how he started playing goge. from the same book "Fiddling in West Africa" by Jacqueline Cogdell Djedje:
Although ascription and kinship do not determine who becomes a fiddler in Hausaland, some goge musicians do enter the profession because their family members play the instrument. Several performers I interviewed (i.e., Balan Na Bassa, Mamman Landi, and Garba Liyo) learned to play at a young age from kin. Yet those who learned from relatives did not expect their children to be-come fiddlers. In most instances, fiddlers encourage their children to attend a Qur’anic or Western school that leaves little time for fiddling (Landi 2003; Liyo 2003). Others do not become fiddlers because family members believe doing so would bring them harm. Sandra Bornand, who found such a situation 143in northwest Nigeria, explains: “Sanaye Oumarou, a Hausa originating from the village of Koko, in the region of Birni Kebbi, in Nigeria, was a goge-player himself, but he did not want his son [Harouna] to play the instrument for fear that other musicians, his rivals, might put a curse on the boy. In the past, competition was fierce” (1999:12). Although his father did not want him to become a fiddler, Harouna was determined to learn fiddling because he believed the spirits called him to do so. To satisfy his father, however, he delayed learning the fiddle until after his father died. When he started training, he had to learn on his own, playing with friends who recalled how his father performed. After studying with an established fiddler, Harouna’s performance improved to such a degree that he became a “renowned musician” in his home and surrounding areas (Bornand 1999:13)
now let us all please acknowledge what a total dancefloor smasher this is. it totally makes me wanna get silly and roll in dirt with some entheogens in my brain


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maRi
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Re: Undercanonized African Records

Post by maRi »

I find "underecognised" in the definition of this topic (given its context, this forum) somewhat objectionable, and many records mentioned in the thread are not "underecognised". So I assume that African music that's had some mainstream reception (in the West) fits as well, and I wholeheartedly recommend BCUC, in particular their explosive and feverish performance of "Yinde" last year at Glastonbury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXoGLlcXKdo

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Wombatz
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Re: Undercanonized African Records

Post by Wombatz »

breaking the rules myself now, here's the killer track from an otherwise uneven record