When we visited Kano in northern Nigeria, in 2017, we interviewed scholar and culture aficionado Abdalla Uba Adamu, officially professor of Science Education and Mass Communication at Bayero University. Sitting in the room with us was a young student named Umar Musa Ali. He spoke good English and was emphatic about his ambition to learn more and to stay in touch. Recently, Umar drew our attention to a video by the Hausa artist Ado Gwanja.
Now, if you’ve heard our program Hip Deep in Northern Nigeria, you know that the Kano film industry, strongly influenced by Bollywood but distinctive in its own right, is the driver of popular music in the region. You also know that censorship is alive and well and that artists need to be very careful regarding the lyrical content of their songs and their videos. Here’s the video of Ado Gwanja’s song “Warr.” Umar says the word has no meaning in Hausa; it simply refers to the song’s style. But in the Fulfulde language, it means, “come.” Below, Umar’s comments on the song.
The song “Warr” is one of the many songs by Ado Gwanja that has, like its predecessor “Chass,” generated a lot of criticism and condemnation. This is because the singer, Gwanja, is known as “a woman singer" and sometimes his words are a bit controversial. That's why some decent people don't like his songs and even discourage listening to them.
But on the other hand, ladies, who constitute the highest number of his fans, don't have any problem with the song. They even made a cover of the song and danced while recording themselves on TikTok.
So, one of the problems is that some ladies play the song and record a video while dancing indecently. That's why some people blame Gwanja for being behind the whole thing, because, had he not produced the song, they wouldn't have danced to it.
Now, this brief report may leave you with more questions than answers, but if you find it interesting, let us know with a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll encourage Umar to tell us more about musical life in Kano.