Mamane Barka
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Mamane Barka

Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany | MAJOR

Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany | MAJOR
Band World Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Mamane Barka and the Music of the Boudouma"

"Barka came upon the biram when he heard that there was only one geriatic master left in the world. Today, Malam Mamane Barka is the only biram master." - tm5channel WOMAD

"Mamane Barka, der letzte Meister der Urharfe vom Tschadsee"


"Und sicherlich hätte man dieses einzigartige Instrument auch nicht mehr gehört, wenn nicht der nigrische Musiker Mamane Barka zu den Boudouma gefahren wäre, um die Harfe zu spielen..." - Dafri e.V. Leipzig Newsletter

"Womad 2008"

"Formerly a popular musician during the Nineties, he decided to devote himself to the traditional music of Niger-particularly the music of the biram.(...) Mamane Barka,..., bringing the instrument to the attention of the wider world with his own blend of desert blues." - BBC3 World Routes

"Mysterious and mythic"

Hailing from the deserts of Niger, Barka is the last master of the biram, a sacred harp similar to those played in Ancient Egypt. featuring trance-inducing traditional percussion, this could be one of those unlikely revelations of which Womad is legendary. - Metro

"World Music artists produce a scorcher at Womad"

The relatively late-night acts were just thrilling (...). Over the Siam tent, Niger´s Malam Mamane Barka played an evocative, highly rhythic set, based onthe home made biram (a tribal instrument resembling a five string harp). - The telegraph


Giddan haya, local production released 2008
Introducing Maman Barka, World Music Network London (INTRO114CD) to be released April 21 2009



Mamane was born in Tesker in the East of Niger Republic in 1959. He is a son of Toubou nomads, a son of the desert. He moved with his parents to Gour a town next to the old capital Zinder and went to primary school. He was probably the first toubou who started an academic career when he went to secondary school and finished school with a high school certificate. This enabled him to become a teacher.
As a young teacher he was send from 1979 on to many different places mostly somewhere out of nowhere in the countryside. Being alone in his little teachers house he got to know a young haussa man who played a traditional instrument, the Gourmi, a two string instrument. Maybe it has been a question of being bored but also being curious Mamane asked the young fellow to teach him the instrument. That is how Mamane Barka became a musician. Talented as he was with the instrument and clever with his compositions it didnt take that long since he was a demanded musician for festivities in his area. Even the prefect of his department heard about the young teacher. Mamane was send by him to take part in a youth music competition. Wherever he played he was the big surprise and the audience just liked him. Not being a griot and being a musician was at that time quite exceptional in Niger. He convinced easily with his instrument and was finally send to many different occasion to present Niger all over Africa, the Soviet Union, China, Pakistan, France and even in North Corea! Since then he was on official leave from his school. He became quite famous in Niger, recorded different cassettes and his songs are real hymns in nigerien school rooms. Since he got married and father he stopped travelling and accepted a job in the Center for musical education. That is where he got the opportunity to travel with a japananese music researcher to Lake Tchad and met the Boudouma tribe with their sacred instrument: The Biram.
The Biram is a traditional instrument used by the Boudouma tribe in Eastern Niger. They are fishing nomads living on the border of lake Tchad. The instrument is a 5 string kind of harpe, the form looks like a pirogue, one of those wooden barks used on the lake. It is played only by initiated masters. When the masters starts to play you easily find yourself in the middle of the lake environment. You can easily hear the fishes jumping and birds singing while the Boudouma people are fishing with their hands.
The BIRAM is a holy instrument, protected from the east by the spirit of the lake especially the ancestor of the Boudouma tribe ,Kargila. And also from the south, west and north by the spirits of the desert bordering lake Tchad.
There has been only one old master of the Biram left. The youth is not interested any more. But when the musician Malam Maman Barka decided to stay with the old master to learn the Boudouma language and how to play the instrument he was warmly welcomed by the master who thought his instrument dead already. After many rituals of purification the old master agreed to educate Malam Maman Barka the holy instrument and the lyrics of the mystical songs. As Barka himself is a son of the sanddunes, the old master gave him his last Biram as a gift.Malam Maman Barka inheriteted with the BIRAM the knowledge of rituals and cultural heritage of the Boudouma. He is conscious about his responsibility according to the Boudouma and their spirit Kargila. After the legends Kargila is watching the Boudouma and cares about their culture and their situation.

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