Music of Niger

Last updated
Music of Niger
Genres
Specific forms
Regional music

The music of Niger has developed from the musical traditions of a mix of ethnic groups; Hausa, the Zarma Songhai people, Tuareg, Fula Kanuri, Toubou, Diffa Arabs and Gurma and the Boudouma from Lac Chad.

Niger Republic in Western Africa

Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin to the southwest, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2 (490,000 sq mi), making it the largest country in West Africa. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert. The country's predominantly Islamic population of about 21 million live mostly in clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital and largest city is Niamey, located in Niger's southwest corner.

Ethnic group Socially defined category of people who identify with each other

An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry or on similarities such as common language or dialect, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is often used synonymously with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from but related to the concept of races.

Hausa people Nationality and Ethnic Group in West Africa

The Hausa are the largest ethnic group in Africa and the second largest language after Arabic in the Afroasiatic family of languages. The Hausa are a diverse but culturally homogeneous people based primarily in the Sahelian and the sparse savanna areas of southern Niger and northern Nigeria respectively, numbering over 70 million people with significant indegenized populations in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Chad, Togo, Ghana, Sudan, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Senegal and the Gambia.

Contents

Most traditions existed quite independently in French West Africa but have begun to form a mixture of styles since the 1960s. While Niger's popular music has had little international attention (in comparison with the music of neighbors Mali or Nigeria), traditional and new musical styles have flourished since the end of the 1980s.

French West Africa colonial federation (1895–1958)

French West Africa was a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan, French Guinea, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Dahomey and Niger. The capital of the federation was Dakar. The federation existed from 1895 until 1960.

Music of Mali

The Music of Mali is, like that of most African nations, ethnically diverse, but one influence predominates; that of the ancient Mali Empire of the Mandinka. Mande people make up 50% of the country's population, other ethnic groups include the Fula (17%), Gur-speakers 12%, Songhai people (6%), Tuareg and Moors (10%) and another 5%, including Europeans. Mali is divided into eight regions; Gao, Kayes, Koulikoro, Mopti, Ségou, Sikasso, Tombouctou and Bamako.

Music of Nigeria overview of music activities in Nigeria

The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Little is known about the country's music history prior to European contact, although bronze carvings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been found depicting musicians and their instruments. The largest ethnic groups are the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. Traditional music from Nigeria and throughout Africa is almost always functional; in other words, it is performed to mark a ritual such as a wedding or funeral and not to achieve artistic goals. Although some Nigerians, especially children and the elderly, play instruments for their own amusement, solo performance is otherwise rare. Music is closely linked to agriculture, and there are restrictions on, for example, which instruments can be played during different parts of the growing season.


The Hausa, who make up over half of the country's population, use the duma for percussion and the molo (a lute) in their Griot traditions, along with the Ganga, alghaïta (shawm) and kakaki (trumpet) for martial, state, and ceremonial occasions. These uses are typified by the ceremonial usage of large trumpets to mark the authority of the Sultanate of Damagaram in the southeast Zinder area (see Hausa music).

Duma assembly

A duma (дума) was a Russian assembly with advisory or legislative functions. The term comes from the Russian verb думать (dumat’) meaning "to think" or "to consider". The first formally constituted duma was the State Duma introduced into the Russian Empire by Tsar Nicholas II in 1905 after the revolt of people against him demanding for the elected assembly. The Tsar dismissed the first duma within 75 days and re-elected second duma within three months. It was dissolved in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. Since 1993, the State Duma is the lower legislative house of the Russian Federation.

Algaita double reed wind instrument from West Africa

The algaita is a double reed wind instrument from West Africa, especially among the Hausa and Kanuri peoples. Its construction is similar to the oboe-like rhaita and the zurna. The algaita is distinguished from these other instruments by its larger, trumpet-like bell. Instead of keys, it has open holes for fingering, similar to the zurna.

Shawm double reed woodwind instrument

The shawm is a conical bore, double-reed woodwind instrument made in Europe from the 12th century to the present day. It achieved its peak of popularity during the medieval and Renaissance periods, after which it was gradually eclipsed by the oboe family of descendant instruments in classical music. It is likely to have come to Western Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of the Crusades. Double-reed instruments similar to the shawm were long present in Southern Europe and the East, for instance the Ancient Greek, and later Byzantine, aulos, the Persian sorna, and the Armenian duduk.

Over 20% of Niger's population are Zarma people, while the Tuareg and Fulani both number around a million in the early 21st century, somewhat less than 10% each. The Kanuri are just over 4% while the Toubou, Diffa and Gurma are all small populations of less than a half percent each. [1]

The Zarma inhabit the region around the capital, Niamey. They play, generally solo, a variety of lutes ( xalam or molo), flutes and fiddles and, like the Fula, carry on the griot tradition of caste-based praise singers and musicians. Songhai traditional music was the topic of extensive study in the late colonial and early independence period. [2]

Niamey Capital city of Niger

Niamey is the capital and largest city of the West African country of Niger. Niamey lies on the Niger River, primarily situated on the east bank. It is an administrative, cultural and economic centre. Niamey's population was counted as 978,029 as of the 2012 census; the Niamey Capital District, covering 670 km2, had 1,026,848 people. As of 2017, population projections show the capital district growing at a slower rate than the country as a whole, which has the world's highest fertility rate.

Lute musical instrument

A lute is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. More specifically, the term "lute" can refer to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The term also refers generally to any string instrument having the strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table. The strings are attached to pegs or posts at the end of the neck, which have some type of turning mechanism to enable the player to tighten the tension on the string or loosen the tension before playing, so that each string is tuned to a specific pitch. The lute is plucked or strummed with one hand while the other hand "frets" the strings on the neck's fingerboard. By pressing the strings on different places of the fingerboard, the player can shorten or lengthen the part of the string that is vibrating, thus producing higher or lower pitches (notes).

Xalam traditional stringed musical instrument from West Africa

Xalam is a traditional stringed musical instrument from West Africa. The xalam is thought to have originated from modern-day Mali, but some believe that, in antiquity, the instrument may have originated from Ancient Egypt. Many believe that it is an ancestor to the African American banjo.

The Tuareg of the north are known for romantic, informal sung/spoken love poetry performed by both men and women, with voices accompanied by clapping, tinde drums (in women's songs) and a one-stringed viol (in men's songs) (see Tuareg music).

Tinde, also known as Tindium or Tindion (Τίνδιον), was a town of Chalcidice in ancient Macedonia. It belonged to the Delian League since it appears in the tribute registry of Athens for the year 434/3 BCE, where it paid a phoros of 3000 drachmas jointly with the cities of Cithas, Gigonus, Smila and Lisaea.

Drum type of musical instrument of the percussion family

The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a percussion mallet, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

Viol Bowed, fretted and stringed instrument

The viol, viola da gamba, or informally gamba, is any one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed instruments with hollow wooden bodies and pegboxes where the tension on the strings can be increased or decreased to adjust the pitch of each of the strings. Frets on the viol are usually made of gut, tied on the fingerboard around the instrument's neck, to enable the performer to stop the strings more cleanly. Frets improve consistency of intonation and lend the stopped notes a tone that better matches the open strings. Viols first appeared in Spain in the mid to late 15th century and were most popular in the Renaissance and Baroque (1600–1750) periods. Early ancestors include the Arabic rebab and the medieval European vielle, but later, more direct possible ancestors include the Venetian viole and the 15th- and 16th-century Spanish vihuela, a 6-course plucked instrument tuned like a lute that looked like but was quite distinct from the 4-course guitar.

The Fula and Wodaabe, a nomadic desert subgroup of Fula, practise group singing accompanied by clapping, stamping and bells. The Wodaabe Gerewol festival is one example of this repeating, hypnotic and percussive choral tradition. The Beriberi too are known for complex polyphony singing. To get an overall understanding of traditional music and instruments in Niger visit the traditional instrument museum at the CFPM Taya in Niamey. An amazing collection of drums, string instruments and flutes from all tribes in Niger.

Modern Nigerien music

Nigerien Tuareg musician Moussa ag Keyna performing in 2007. Moussa ag Keyna.JPG
Nigerien Tuareg musician Moussa ag Keyna performing in 2007.

Music for the purpose of entertainment has not been readily accepted by the Nigerien government, though restrictions have loosened since the death of Seyni Kountché in 1987. A competitive music festival called the Prix Dan Gourmou helped inspire a musical renaissance in the country, led by people like Alassane Dante. The Centre for Musical Training and Promotion was founded in 1990, furthering this process, using a grant from the European Development Fund. Musicians formed bands to seek fame both domestically and internationally, with the most successful being the group Takeda, formed by Reggae singer Adams Junior, [3] [4] Saâdou Bori, Fati Mariko, Mamoudou Abdousalam, Sani Aboussa, John Sofakolé, Moussa Poussy and Yacouba Moumouni.

In the mid-1990s, internationally renowned record producer Ibrahima Sylla travelled to Niamey and ended up signing Poussy and Saadou Bori. He has since also helped release records from Adam's Junior and from Mamar Kassey, perhaps the best known Nigerien group outside the country, who combine traditional Songhai styles and modern jazz.

The band Etran Finatawa ("the stars of tradition"), consisting of Tuareg and Wodaabe members, formed in 2004 at the Festival in the Desert. Between 2004 and 2015 Etran Finatawa toured the globe with performances in over 45 countries.[ citation needed ]

Since 2008 Tal National have been the most popular modern band in Niger. They are based in Niamey. Their 2008 album A-Na Waya reached the top of the charts in Niger and earned the band numerous awards. In 2013 they signed a worldwide record deal with Fat Cat Records [5] for the album "Kaani".

"Tuareg Blues"

Tuareg Blues is perhaps the most internationally known of Tuareg musical styles. Growing out of the refugee camps to the 1990s Tuareg insurgencies, Tuareg Blues have been exported to Europe, most notably by the Malian band Tinariwen. Niger born Tuareg Blues artists include Les Filles de Illighadad, the pioneering guitarist Abdallah ag Oumbadougou from Agadez and his band Takrist n'Akal, Hasso Akotey and Tidawt from Agadez, Group Bombino also from Agadez, Moussa ag Keyna's group Toumast, Alhousseini Anivolla from AgadezMdou Moctar, and the performer Mouma Bob. [6]

Rap Nigerien

The Black Daps perform in Niamey, January 2009. Hip hop black daps niamey 2009.jpg
The Black Daps perform in Niamey, January 2009.

Rap Nigerien, a mélange of different languages spoken in Niger, appeared at the end of the 1990s. The music is relaxed and mellow, mixed with the sounds of traditional musical styles from the many ethnicities in the country. It grew into an interesting sociologic phenomenon, expanding what was expected of domestic popular entertainment. The young and disaffected have used Rap Nigerien to give voice to popular complaints - forced marriages, child labor, corruption, poverty and other problems.

Rap Nigerien also spontaneously appeared in UNICEF grassroots cultural programs, one of the few outlets for large scale performance in the country. In August 2004, UNICEF opened the competition "Scene Ouverte Rap", where 45 new groups were selected from among an over 300 entrants. The competition performances took place at the Centre Culturel Franco – Nigerien between the 5th and 14 August.

A large number of Rap Nigerien acts grew out of this scene and remain active, with the best known being Awn, Tchakey, Kaidan Gaskya, Wass Wong and Djoro G. Newer groups, such as Haskey Klan, Kamikaz, Rass Idris and Metaphor, have since appeared.

Related Research Articles

Demographics of Niger

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Niger, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Agadez Place in Agadez Region, Niger

Agadez, formerly spelled Agadès, is the largest city in central Niger, with a population of 118,244. It lies in the Sahara and is the capital of Aïr, one of the traditional Tuareg–Berber federations. The city is also the capital of the Agadez Region. As of 2011, the urban commune had a total population of 124,324 people.

Culture of Niger

The culture of Niger is marked by variation, evidence of the cultural crossroads which French colonialism formed into a unified state from the beginning of the 20th century. What is now Niger was created from four distinct cultural areas in the pre-colonial era: the Djerma dominated Niger River valley in the southwest; the northern periphery of Hausaland, made mostly of those states which had resisted the Sokoto Caliphate, and ranged along the long southern border with Nigeria; the Lake Chad basin and Kaouar in the far east, populated by Kanuri farmers and Toubou pastoralists who had once been part of the Kanem-Bornu Empire; and the Tuareg nomads of the Aïr Mountains and Saharan desert in the vast north. Each of these communities, along with smaller ethnic groups like the pastoral Wodaabe Fula, brought their own cultural traditions to the new state of Niger.

Yacouba Moumouni Nigerien musician

Yacouba Moumouni is a Nigerien singer and flautist. As the leader of the jazz-ethnic band Mamar Kassey, he is one of the best-known Nigerien musicians outside Niger.

Diffa Region Region in Niger

Diffa is an administrative region in the southeast of Niger. The capital of the region is the city of Diffa.

Mamar Kassey

Mamar Kassey is a jazz-pop-ethnic band from Niger. It is named after a legendary warrior who extended the Songhai Empire into the Sahara.

Maradi Region Region in Niger

The Region of Maradi is one of seven Regions of Niger. It is located in south-center Niger, east of the Region of Tahoua, west of Zinder, and north of Nigeria's city of Kano. The administrative center is at Maradi. The population of the Region is majority Hausa.

Wodaabe ethnic group

The Wodaabe, also known as the Mbororo or Bororo, are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic. The number of Wodaabe was estimated in 2001 to be 100,000. They are known for their elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies.

The Cure Salée, or "Festival of the Nomads", is a yearly gathering of the Tuareg and Wodaabe peoples in the northern Niger town of Ingall. The ceremony marks the end of the rainy season, and usually occurs in the last two weeks of September. The government of Niger began sponsoring the festival in the 1990s, fixing its date for each year, its duration, and bringing in dignitaries, performers, and tourists.

Public holidays in Niger Wikimedia list article

The government and people of Niger observe twelve official public holidays. These include international commemorations, the commemoration of important dates in the history of Niger, and religious holidays. Both Christian and Muslim holidays are observed as official public holidays. While the former colonial power, France, instituted Christian observances, the vast majority of Nigeriens are Muslim.

Azawagh basin in Niger, Mali and Algeria

The Azawagh is a dry basin covering what is today northwestern Niger, as well as parts of northeastern Mali and southern Algeria. The Azawagh is mainly made up of Sahelian and Saharan flatlands and has a population that is predominantly Tuareg and Arab, with significant Bouzou and Wodaabe minorities and a recent influx of Hausa and Zarma.

Kaocen revolt Tuareg rebellion against French colonial rule

The Kaocen revolt was a Tuareg rebellion against French colonial rule of the area around the Aïr Mountains of northern Niger during 1916–17.

The cinema in Niger grew from ethnographic documentaries in the colonial period to become one of the most active national film cultures in Francophone Africa. Filmmakers such as Oumarou Ganda, Moustapha Alassane, Mahamane Bakabé, Inoussa Ousseini and Moustapha Diop have had their work featured around the world. The Niamey African Film Meeting is one of the premier film events of the continent. Unlike neighboring Nigeria, with its thriving Hausa- and English-language film industry, most Nigerien films are made in French and Francophone countries have been their major market, while action and light entertainment films from Nigeria or dubbed western films, fill most Nigerien theaters.

Outline of Niger Overview of and topical guide to Niger

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Niger:

Seasonal migration in Niger

Seasonal migration, locally called the Exode, plays an important part of the economic and cultural life of the West African nation of Niger. While it is a common practice in many nations, Niger sees as much as a third of its rural population travel for seasonal labour, during the Sahelian nation's long dry season. Common patterns of seasonal travel have been built up over hundreds of years, and destinations and work vary by community and ethnic group.

The Kurtey people are a small ethnic group found along the Niger River valley in parts of the West African nations of Niger, Benin, Mali, and Nigeria. They are also found in considerable numbers in Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.

Etran Finatawa band

Etran Finatawa is a Niger-based band, formed in 2004 during the Festival au Désert near Timbuktu, Mali. The music of Etran Finatawa blends the traditional music of the Wodaabe and Tuareg people with western instruments such as the electric guitar.

Women in Niger

Women in Niger are African women who live in or are from the Western African country known as Niger. These women belong to a population in which 98% are practitioners of Islam. Most of the laws adopted by the government of Niger to protect the rights of Nigerien women are most of the time based on Muslim beliefs.

Safiath, the stage name of Safia Aminami Issoufou Oumarou, is a Nigerien singer, rapper, and songwriter.

References

  1. "UN Demographic Yearbooks". un.org. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  2. See the works of Jean Rouch, as well as Bernard Surugue. Contribution a l'etude de la musique sacree zarma songhay (Republique du Niger). Etudes nigeriennes; no 30. Niamey, Centre nigerien de recherches en sciences humaines, 1972.
  3. Le reggae nigérien perd un de ses meilleurs musiciens [ permanent dead link ]. M. S. Abandé Moctar. Le Sahel (Niamey). 2 April 2009
  4. Disparition de Adams Junior. Fofo Magazine. 30 March 2009.
  5. DOMH. "FatCat Records". FatCat Records. Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  6. See the French language wikipedia article fr:Blues touareg

http://afropop.org/articles/osas-its-time