Monthly Archives: April 2010

Construction Company Bull-Dozes 500 year old Kano Monument–Kofar Na’isa


Weekly Trust article (17 April 2010) on the demolition of Kofar Na'isa in Kano

There is a lot of road construction going on in Kano, which brings hopes of smoother traffic in the future, but in the meantime makes for terrible go-slows. Another side-effect of the road construction has been the demolition of structures in an attempt to widen the roads. From what I’ve seen, the widened roads are creeping quite close to the edges of the ancient nearly thousand year old Kano wall, although there do seem to be efforts along BUK road to construct iron fences between BUK road and the wall. (According to the Kano State Tourism website, construction on the wall began in 1112 AD.) I didn’t think too much of it until today, when I read an upsetting story in the Weekly Trust by Jaafar Jaafar, Naziru Idris Ya’u and Mubarak Hassan Usman describing the destruction of one of the fifteen ancient city gates embedded into Kano wall by a road construction company.

An old monument of the ancient city of Kano, Kofar Na’isa, was demolished by a construction company in order to pave way for the ongoing road expansion in the state. Many metropolitan roads in Kano state are now undergoing expansion and reconstruction. Withstanding the greatest winds and rains of history for about five centuries ago, Kofar Na’isa stood firm without interference until last week when the construction firm rolled out its bulldozers against the gate.

The article continues:

Lamenting the destruction of the gate, the curator of the National Museum, Gidan Makama, Malam Aliyu Abdu, said the demolition has serious consequences on the cultural authenticity of Kano city walls, saying it is an infringement on a cultural site undergoing preparations for the World Heritage listing.

“The gate is over 500 years. Whatever kind of road that will be constructed, the sanctity of the old relic must be respected,” said the curator.

According to him, the museum cannot stop road construction but the gate should either be bypassed or let be. “We are supposed to be notified so that we direct how the monument would be carefully restructured but not to be demolished completely without our consent,” said the curator.

Continuing, he said: “the destruction of the site also constitutes a grievous setback to the conservation plan adopted by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the stakeholder committee on Kano city walls towards the preservation of the heritage sites of this great city.”

Malam Abdu said the NCMM in conjunction with the state government was preparing to submit Kano city walls and associated sites to UNESCO for enlistment into the World Heritage List.

“Already this demolished gate had been included in Nigeria’s tentative list and is receiving favourable attention as one of the sites with great potentials for the World Heritage enlistment,” he lamented.

While calling on government and private companies to desist from destroying the monuments, he said the museum will drag the construction company to court for wanton destruction of a national monument.

Also lamenting the destruction, the present lord of the demolished gate, Malam Abdullahi Usman, expressed displeasure with the destruction of the historical architectural piece. “The gate was demolished on April 19, without my permission as the custodian of the gate, nor the permission of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero,” he said.

He further said the construction company desecrated the historical relic, saying Emir Bayero has convened an emergency meeting with the district heads and those who are responsible to look after the gates. “The emir was really bitter about the demolition,” said the lord of the gate.

Unfortunately, the Weekly Trust article does not list the name of the construction company which bull-dozed the gate, or information on who would have given the go-ahead to destroy a national monument “protected by law under the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) Act, CAP 19 of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, vol X Chapter 19.” However, when I went in search of more information, I found another article in the SundayTrust of 11 April 2010 describing the demolition, meaning the news is over a week old now. Right before I posted this post, I also heard from another source that the name of the construction company that demolished the gate was Kano-based Triacta Nigeria Limited.

The demolished gate is pictured on the Kano Tourism website here, along with a colourful story about the construction of the gate:

Emir Suleiman received a complaint from the nomadic Fulani that they were attacked by a group of thieves who took away their cattle.  The Emir directed his son, Abubakar Mai Unguwar Mundubawa to go along with the complainants and capture the thieves at all cost.  At the end of the mission, the son of the Emir returned late and was disallowed by the gatekeeper to pass through the Kofar Dogo with his people.  There and then he decided to break a part of the wall close to the then Kofar Dogo (Dogo Gate).  It took them five days to complete the new entrance.  He then ordered the removal of the metal gate of Dogo, and fixed it at the new one called NA’ISA and blocked Kofar Dogo.  The gate was renamed Kofar Na’isa by Emir Suleiman.

A October 9, 2008 Daily Sun article describes other Kano City Gates that have been sacrificed to road widening exercises:

Owing to the pressures of traffic, it became necessary to expand or “dualize” some major roads in Kano. Thus, some of the antique gates had to give way. Among the gates, which proved too narrow, were “Kofar Nassarawa,” “Kofar Mata” and “Kofar Wambai.” Unfortunately, the original clay structures were replaced with massive concrete gates. However, Hambolu seven years ago commended those who handled the renovation for their wisdom in incorporating elements of Hausa traditional architecture into the design of the new gates.

Interview with Hiphop artist Ziriums in this week’s Aminiya

Mujullar Rayuwa, Aminiya, 16 April 2010

"Nazir Ahmad Hausawa: Ganawa da Fitaccen Mawak'in Hausa na Zamani"

This week’s Aminiya newspaper featured an interview with Hausa hiphop artist Ziriums, whose collaboration with Supreme Solar and T-Rex, I have written about earlier on this blog. The interview in Hausa (with my translation) is copied below. To read the interview on the Aminiya website, click here and to hear some of Zirium’s music, click on his myspace page, here. [[UPDATE 31 August 2010, You can also buy his new album "This is Me" on itunesamazon.com, and myspace.]]

The interview opens with an introduction that I will not directly translate. I have directly translated the rest of the interview, but keep in mind that I likely have made at least a few small errors. I welcome corrections. If you have any, please leave them in the comments section, and I will fix the translation. In the introduction,  Bashir Yahuza Malumfashi, the interviwer, talks about how as time brings new types of music the old is not left behind. The new music, too, can give sermons and teach lessons.

Malam Nazir, idan za mu fara tattanawa, zan so jin amsar cewa, wane ne Nazir Ahmad Hausawa?

Kamar dai yadda ka ambata, sunana Nazir Ahmad Hausawa kuma an haife ni a ranar 5 ga watan Fabrairu, cikin shekara ta 1980, a Unguwar Hausawa da ke cikin karamar Hukumar Gwale, Jihar Kano. Na fara karatun share fagen shiga firamare a 1983, a Galadanchi Nursery School. A 1984 ne na fara karatun firamare a Gwale Special Primary School, inda na yi shekara biyar na dauki jarabawar zuwa sakandare. A cikin shekarar 1990 ne na je Gobernment Junior Secondary School Warure, inda daga nan na dauki jarabawa zuwa Senior Secondary School Gwale. Bayan na gama a 1997, na tafi Kwalejin Share Fage Shiga Jami’a ta Kano a shekarar 1998. Na yi shekara biyu a nan, inda bayan na kammala, na fara karatu a Kwalejin Kiwon Lafiya (School of Hygeine), inda bayan na yi shekara biyu, ban kai ga yin jarabawar karshe ba, sai na bar makarantar, saboda na samu gurbin karo karatu a Federal College of Education, Kano. Na fara karatu a can, daga shekarar 2001 zuwa 2003, inda na kammala. Wannan shi ne dan takaitaccen tarihina.

Malam Nazir, if we may start, I’d like to hear you answer this question: Who is Nazir Ahmad Hausawa?

As you have mentioned, my name is Nazir Ahmad Hausawa. I was born on 5 February 1980 in Hausawa area, Gwale Local Government Area, Kano State. I started school in 1983 at Galadanci Nursery School. In 1984, I started primary school at Gwale Special Primary School where I spent five years before I took the exams to go on to secondary school. In 1990, I went to Government Junior Secondary School, Warure, which is where I took the exams to go on to Gwale Senior Secondary School. After I finished in 1997, in 1998 I went to University preparatory College of Share Fage. I did two years there, and after I finished, I started my studies at the School of Hygiene, where after I had spent two years, I left the school before I did my final exam. This is because I had gotten admission to Federal College of Education, Kano. I started my studies there from 2001 to 2003, where I finished. This is a brief recap of my life.

Ga shi ka yi fice a fagen shirya wakokin zamani, ko yaya haka ta faro a rayuwarka?
Ka san cewa mutane sun ce ita waka baiwa ce, to lallai ni na amince da haka, cewa baiwa ce. Na fara waka ne a sanadiyyar yawan sauraren wakokin da nake yi, haka kuma mahaifina shi ne Sakatare ko kuma a yanzu shi ne Odita na kungiyar Usha’un Nabiyyi, masu wakokin yabon Annabi (SAW). Su ne suka fara kafa kungiyar mawakan yabon Annabi a Jihar Kano, inda suke tara mutane suna zama suna rera wakokin yabon Annabi, kodayake su ba su hadawa da kida, wakar kawai suke yi, sai dan tafi da hannu da suke dan yi a wani lokaci. Tun ina yaro, mahaifin nawa kan tafi da ni wajen da suke wannan zama na bege, kuma tun daga lokacin nan harkar waka ta fara shiga raina.

Ok, so you’ve come out as a modern musician? How did your life bring you to this?

You know, they say that singing is a gift, and I agree with that—it is a gift. I started singing because I was always listening to music. My father is the secretary or actually now he is the Auditor of the Usha’un Nabiyyi Group, those who sing in praise of the Prophet (PBUH). They were the first ones in Kano State who established a group of praise singers to the Prophet. They would assemble people to sit  and sing praises to the Prophet. They didn’t combine it with drumming, they would just sing acapella. Every once in a while, they will wave their hands around [?]. Since I was a child, my father would go with me to the place where they would sing of their longing. And since that time, the love of music entered my soul.

Za mu iya cewa a harkar waka, kai dan gado ne ke nan?

To, haka din ne, amma shi mahaifina wakokin yabo yake yi, ni kuma na zamani nake yi. Daga baya ne sai muka kafa wata kungiya ta mawaka, ni da abokina Ali Jamilu a nan unguwarmu, Hausawa. Mun samu wannan kwarin gwiwa ne saboda yawan sauraren wakokin Turai da muke yi, wanda haka ya sanya muka kafa wannan kungiya, wacce muka sanya wa suna ‘kungiyar Nigogin Yabon Ma’aiki.’ Muna yin wakokin yabon da salon nan na Rapping, amma wakokin addini ne, ta salon kwaikwayar wakokin da suka yi fice a kasashen Turai. Kamar akwai wakar Boyz II Men, mai taken End of the Road, wacce muka canza ta zuwa wakar yabon Manzon Allah, inda ake yi mana kida da mandiri, mu kuma muna rerawa. Da farko sai aka rika yi mana dariya, ana kushewa, cewa wane ne zai ji irin wannan wakar yabon, ta salon Turanci? Amma dai ni daga nan zan ce na fara waka sosai. Daga nan ne na hadu da Alhaji Hamisu Iyan-Tama, inda na je ofishinsa, inda na kalli wani fim mai suna ‘Badakala’ wanda su suka shirya shi. Daga nan na fara sha’awar harkokin fina-finai da sauran harkokin nishadantarwa irinsu. A nan na hadu da su dan’Azumi Baba Cediyar ’Yangurasa da su Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino da sauransu. Ni a lokacin, na yi sha’awar in fara fitowa a matsayin jarumi a fina-finai, amma saboda kankantar jikina a lokacin, sai aka ce ba zan iya fitowa a wannan matsayi ba, sai idan ana bukatar fitowar yara, za a sanya ni. Daga nan na zama dan aike a ofishin Iyan-Tama, inda ake aike na kamar sawo abinci ko daukar janereto idan an je daukar fim, da sauran hidindimu irin wadannan. Muna cikin haka sai dan’Azumi ya rabu da Iyan-Tama, ya bude nasa ofishin, wato R.K Studio, ni kuma sai na bi shi. A lokacin ne ya sayi abin kida na zamani wato Piano/Yamaha. A kan wannan na’ura na fara koyon kidan zamani da kaina, har ma na fara iyawa. Daga nan muka samu matsala da shi dan’Azumi, na bar wurinsa, na yi zaman shekara daya ba tare da na yi wannan harka ta kida ba. Na koma makaranta ne sai na hadu da su Salisu Mu’azu, lokacin sun bude ofis din Lenscope Media a Kano. Ya kira ni ya ce in je in fara koyo, inda na je na fara koyon kidan kwamfuta a wurin Ibrahim Danko. Ni ne Bakano na farko da ya fara koyon kida da kwamfuta a lokacin. Da tafiya ta yi tafiya ma, sai aka bar mini kamfanin Lenscope Media na rike shi ni kadai. Ka ji yadda aka yi na fara waka kuma na shiga harkokin kade-kaden zamani.

Could we say that you have inherited your music?

You could say that, but my father sings praises [to the Prophet] and I sing modern music. After some time, we started a singing group, me and my friend Ali Jamilu, in our neighborhood, Hausawa. We did this because we were always listening to Western music,,which is what made us establish this group. We named it “The Nigga’s Who Praise the Messenger.” We were doing this Islamic praise-singing in a rap style. But although they were using the style we learned from Western music, they were religious songs. Like the Boyz II Men song, “End of the Road,” we changed to become a song in praise of the Prophet of God. The mandiri beat would be done for us, and we would sing. At first, everyone was laughing at us and didn’t have any use for us. They said who has ever heard this kind of Islamic praise in a Western style. But from this time, that’s when I really started singing. After that I met with Alhaji Hamisu Iyan-Tama, when I to his office because I had seen a film named “Badak’ala” which his company had produced. From there I became interested in the film industry and the rest of the entertainment industry. This is where I met with ‘Dan Azumi Baba, Ced’iyar ‘Yangurasa, Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, and others. At the time I was interested in being an actor in films, but because I was very small then, they said that I couldn’t appear as an actor unless they needed children, then they would cast me. After that I found employment in Iyan-Tama’s office. They would send me to buy food or carry the generator if they went on a film shoot, and other services like these. I was going along like that, when ‘Dan Azumi left Iyan-Tama and opened his own office, R.K. Studio, and I followed him. At that time, he bought a new kind of instrument, the Yamaha piano. It was on this machine that I started teaching myself how to produce beats, until I started being able to do it. I ended up having a problem with D’an Azumi, so I left his place and spent about a year without doing anything with music production. I returned to school until I met with Salisu Mu’azu, when they opened the Lenscope Media office in Kano. He called me to come learn, and this is where I started learning how to produce music with a computer together with Ibrahim Danko. At that time, I was the first Kano-man who started learning music production on the computer.  As time passed and people left Lenscope Media company, I was left alone holding on to what I knew. [?] So now you have heard how I started singing and how I entered the contemporary music industry.

Wace waka ce ka fara yi a rayuwarka?
Tirkashi! Kana nufin tun ina yaro ko kuwa dai bayan na shiga harkar? Lokacin da na yanke hukuncin cewa na zama mawaki, wakar da na fara ta farko ita ce, ‘Kano Ta Dabo Tumbin Giwa.’ Na yi wannan waka ne tare da Adam A. Zango da kuma Billy O.

What is the first song you did in your life?

Tirk’ashi! Do you mean since I was a kid or after I entered the industry? When I made up my mind that I had become a singer, the first song I started with was “Kano ta Dabo Tumbin Giwa.” I sang this with Adam A. Zango and Billy O.

Maganar alabe ko faifai fa, ya zuwa yanzu ka shirya alaben wakoki guda nawa?
Ina da alabe guda daya da na gama shiryawa, wanda na sanya wa suna ‘Kyandir’ amma ban kai ga sakin shi kasuwa ba. Yana dauke da wakoki ne a kan soyayya ta matasa sai kuma waka guda daya da na yi kan Arewa. Na yi kokarin nuna cewa mu ma a Huasa muna da salon wakoki, wato ba kwaikwaya muka yi daga Turawa ba. Wato muna da su tun da dadewa, a yanzu dai mun zamanantar da su ne kawai.

So, let’s talk about your album or record. How many albums have you produced?

I have one album that I’ve finished producing, named “Kyandir” but I haven’t released it to the market yet. It’s comprised mostly of songs on love, and then there is one song that I did on the North. I tried to show that we Hausa have a style of singing that we didn’t copy from Europeans. We’ve had this music for a long time and now we are just modernizing it.

Cikin wannan lokacin, masu sana’ar kade-kade da wake-waker na fuskantar wani kalubale ko kuma abin da wasunku ke ganin kamar takurawa daga Gwamnatin Jihar Kano, me za ka ce game da wannan rashin jituwa da ke tsakaninku da hukuma?
Wannan badakala dai tana faruwa ne saboda wasu mutane da suke ganin kamar sun fi kowa ilimi, sun fi kowa sani, kai ba ka iya ba. A matsayinka na mai basira, mai fasaha, shi sai ya zo ya yi maka jagora, ya nuna maka ga yadda yake son ka yi abin da ke cikin tunaninka.

So during this time, musicians are facing pressures or what some of you see as restrictions from the Kano State Government. What can you say on the lack of harmony between you all and the [censorship] board?

These problems are occurring because some people think they have more knowledge than anyone else, they know more than anyone else—[saying] you aren’t able to do this. In your position you are talented and skilled. Then he comes and says he will guide you and show you how he wants you to do what you already know. [?]

Ba ka ganin wannan kalubale daga gwamnati zai iya dakushe muku azama?
Sosai ma kuwa, wannan abu ya dakushe mana azama kwarai da gaske, domin idan ka kalli harkar, da dama daga cikinmu mun dauke ta sana’a, mun dauke ta a matsayin hanyar cin abinci, wasu kuma sun dauke ta a matsayin kamar wani abu na iskanci. Ni ba na cikin wadanda suka dauki wannan harka a matsayin iskanci. Ni na dauke ta ne a matsayin sana’a, domin kuwa albarkacinta ga shi na zama Injiniya mai sarrafa sauti (Professional Sound Engineer). Na yi kwas a birnin Paris na kasar Faransa, na yi kwas a Ingila, ga shi kuma a yanzu ina aiki tare da BBC. Na samu wannan daukaka ne duk albarkacin wannan harka da wasu ke ganin kamar iskanci ce, mu kuwa muka ce sana’a ce.

You don’t think this pressure from the government could hinder your progress?

Sure it can, this thing has really, truly hindered our progress.  Because if you look at the industry. It is the opportunity that some of us have to take up a profession. We take it as the path to earn our daily bread. Others take it as a way to live immorally and get into trouble.  I’m not among those who are in the industry to be immoral. I take it as a profession. I have been blessed to become a Professional sound Engineer. I have done a course from Paris, France, and I’ve done a course from England, and now I’m working with BBC. I have found opportunities and all the blessings of this industry that some see as mere immoral living. But we say it is a profession.

Me ne ne  sakonka ga al’umma dangane da wannan sana’a taku ta kida da waka?
Kirana ga al’uma shi ne, ka ji, ka ki ji, ka gani, ka ki gani. Duk abin da aka ga matasa mun taso muna ta yi, a yi mana kyakkyawar fahimta, a daina yi mana kallon cewa mu ’yan iska ne, wai muna bata tarbiyya, wai muna kaza-kaza. Ko ana so ko ba a so, idan mu an hana mu wannan harka, an danne mu ta karfin tsiya cewa ba za mu yi ba, to fa sai an sayi wakokin Timaya a Kano, sai an sayi wakokin P-Skuare a Kano, sai an sayi wakokin Dbanj a Kano, wanda lalatar da ke ciki ta ninka sau dari fiye da namu na Hausa, balle ma wakokinmu na Huasa babu wani abu na lalata a cikinsu. Wasu na cewa ai su wakokin su Timaya da Turanci suke yinsu, to a tuna fa, wadanda ke saurarensu a Kano sun je makaranta fa, suna fahimtar duk abin da suke fada. Ga shi kuma ba a hana sanya wakokin nasu a gidajen rediyon da ke Kano ba, har gobe ana sanyawa. Amma wai namu saboda da Hausa ne, ga shi nan ana hanawa. Don haka, ina kira da cewa, ya kamata a bi mu a hankali, ba a yi mana karfi-karfi ba.

What is your message  to the readers about  your music profession?

What I have to say to the readers is this: whether you hear or you refuse to hear, whether you see or you refuse to see. Everything that is seen as a profession, we have introduced it and we are still doing it. Understand us very well and stop looking at us as if we are rogues, or that we are spoiling the upbringing of children, or we are doing this and that. Whether you like or you don’t like, if we are kept from this industry, if we are weighted down into destitution by those saying, we aren’t allowed to do it, well, then people will buy Timaya’s music in Kano or they will buy P-Square’s music in Kano , or Dbanj’s music in Kano, which are a hundred times worse than our Hausa songs. And there is not anything bad in our Hausa songs. Some are saying, oh, that Timaya’s songs are in English, but remember, those who are listening to them in Kano have gone to school, they know what’s being said in them. And those songs haven’t been banned from the radio stations in Kano. Until tomorrow they will keep playing them. But ours, supposedly because they are in Hausa, they ban them. So, I am saying that they should take care how they treat us and not be too hard on us.