By Aliyu Ibrahim Kankara, PhD
Today, June 18, 2022, Shata clocks 23 years since his departure to the great beyond. He left on Friday, June 18, 1999. As he was coming nearer to 1999, little did I understand that bodily existence was nothing to him. And his times will surpass this IT era too. It was remarkable that he still dorminates this period when newer artistes flood everywhere in the North. He was highly incredible.
Then, counting on those teaspoonful number of present day Hausa local musicians, like Ado Gwanja, Rarara, Naziru, Ali Jita, Adam Zango, Fati Nijar, Sadik Zazzabi, Sanusi Anu, Nura M. Inuwa, M. Sheriff, Aminu Abba Umar (Nomisgi), Abdu Boda, Aminu Ladan Abubakar (ALA), Hamisu Breaker and Alhaji Surajo mai asharalle, who struggle to break the jinx to have success in the music industry.
Their poems may have meanings. It is believable that some of them are mimers, some are imitators. Some are short-lived artists – small time poets, as they cannot catch up with Shata, who spent more than half a decade (63 years) on the scene.
One thrilling and heart-warming moment is, as local Hausa music is approaching finish lines, and, having all the deficiencies of survival temptations in this IT era, one must wonder why Shata music is still renting the space, still vibrating, although, kalangu music is either on the verge of extinction today, or overtaken by piano music, or is simply assuming new momentum. To perfect the statement, the perfection of piano-based Hausa music in this contemporary period, is perfectly accorded in this computer-age, but is being sandwitched, and juxtaposed by Shata music. Even today, we still understand that the highest perfection of musical art is still Shata’s.
Yes, because, having an increasingly thousands of listeners by every moment, Shata struggles to be the greatest musician on earth. One factor or reason is, having had a huge number of, as many as over 10, 000 poems.
Additionally, substantial number of social media groups today discuss Shata and his legend, which are eventually transgression, transforming into a new horizon with members from all walks of life. A premonition is that, we are moving towards ‘Shata global village’.
This is flamboyantly okay. Infact, even in death, Shata is the greatest artist.
Local musical artists today are not performing up to their task, their expectations. Some perform but their music is without substances, so uneducative, never entertaining. They only amuse listeners. The commonest examples are local political singers. They tell a lot of things about today’s political administrations that have not happened. They only praise politicians but cannot depend arguably what they tell. That the economy is in real shambleness and cankerworm, there are real insecurity challenges and kidnappings, with killings of innocent Nigerians everywhere, useless blanket taxes on commodities which make foreign firms to increase prises of properties, economic reductionism, and so on.
There are many things to sing about by local singers, but they don’t. This insecurity is even prominently encountered in their domains or home States, but they never show that in their poems.
What they tell rather was absolutely contrary and fantasy. Due to that, are they real artists? They praise governments to get money only. Some performing artists sing for women to enjoy and dance in their front. Here, the aim of artistsm is defeated. The motivation, in respect of listeners is lost; its glory is lost too. They are mere jokers, not real singers, going by the definition and concept of artistsm. Moreso, their poems are not interpretable even by researchers.
Then, having been in the midts of twin critical economic and security situations we needed Shata most. In his absence, we expect our present day artists to catalyse changes in national policies and developments.
Shata tells reality in his poems. This is evidently seen in his many wakoki, popularly known as, or during the era of gwarzayen wakoki, during the great famines of 1932 and those of 1935, 1943 in northern Nigeria, then the Civil War times between July 1966 and January 1970 and even the post-civil war period in his peoms which made him the greatest singer/poet ever. Todays Hausa artist are expected to be revolutionalists like Shata.
Admonishingly, they are to perform, to tell about wide range of topics geared towards changing phases on situations, like what Shata dwelled on and excelled, on : government policies on national developments (Najeriya an yi jaha-jaha (1968), (/Na gama aikinku ‘yan Arewa/ (1964), Bana mun kiliya Hannun dama (1973) Ku zo mui batun CENSUS (1973), (/Ku je ku huta farar hula…’ (1984), foreign interventions on economic policies and development (Hakananne Mamman…’ (Queen Elizabeth (1956) /Dokta Clinton Shugaban Kasa (1996)/, (/Wataran zan zo Kennedy Center (1989), military interventions, counter coups and administrations (Himma dai sojojin Ghana (1957), (Himma sojojin Tarayya (1957), Ga Daga sojan gwamnati (1967), Soja iyalin gwamna (1967), Bawan Allah, Yakubu Gawon…’ (1970), Soja iyalin Sani Abacha (1994), Haji Iro Babangida (1990), conflict resolutions (Ku yunkura ‘yan Arewa ku falka (1962); Ku gargadi ‘yan fadan addini (1962), economy, agriculture and agricultural transformations (/Noma yakin ‘yan Arewa (August 1966); Ku kama aiki tukuru… (August 1966); Garkuwan Bauchi Amadun Kari (1971), trade and commerce, (Haji Garban Bichi Dan Shehu (1965), health and sanitation (Mun sa kanmu aikin gayya, mun sa kanmu wa ka hanamu (1972), education and its many relevances (/Mui ta kokari dai mui ilimi (1973); /Mu rike ilimi ya na da dadi (1973), Mu daure mui ilimin zamani (1973) in the society, insecurity, and to proper solutions. Shata painstakingly took his time to tell those in his poems.
My conclusion is, this era too is Shatas’, not theirs.
We will continue to be vanguards of his movement. Shata music is like gold – they are for ever, I guess. Let me also raise my voice towards initiating a propagation on such, for the upcoming generations to arrive and know who was Shata, what were his legacies?
Open Letter to Katsina State governor: The need to transform Shata legacies
You may wish to recollect that Dr. Mamman Shata Katsina was the most prominent and dashing Hausa music artist. In the same breath, he was regarded as the most sensational pariah, the headquater of Hausa music, the bulk Hausa moving archieve, the true institution of artistism.
His excelling in Hausa poetry has been legend in this and previous era, as his poems are more in number than theirs, attributable to his vast knowledge.
Taking us back, to reminisce the myriad of events, his talent grew and eventually got hightened, transcended into eminence since late 1930’s, but his musical awareness catafulted astronomically in 1940 when he relocated to Ketare, from where it beckoned international attension.
Sadly and pathetic, we still wonder, after 23 years nothing is done either by Katsina, Kano,Kaduna states governments or the Federal government to immortalize the late music song-bird, hero. Neither Musawa LGA, his native town did something to keep his legacies alive. His birth place in the local Musawa area seems to be rotting away. Some famous places where he lived and performed too, like the reknowned Gidan Marke, Shata’s farmstead around the vicinity of Musawa was sold to other merchants outside Shata family members.
In the same vein, successive Kano State governments had been neglecting Shata legacies around the city, since Audu Bako times, onward. They would have kept Niger and Kings Garden Clubs, the WAPA as centres to remember him, places where he performed mostly in Kano, where more than 70 percent of his poems where done.
Unarguably, Shata’s contribution to the development of Africa’s literature was immense, immesurable and unquantifiable.