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Playing more foreign music kills Gambian music: Hamat Bah

Jun 15, 2012, 3:29 PM

Hamat Bah, leader and secretary general of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), has said the playing of more foreign music in the country’s radio stations, television station and other institutions contributes largely to destroying and killing the country’s cultural music.

According to the NRP leader, interviewed recently by The Point Entertainment and Culture writer, most of the radio stations and other institutions and entertainment spots like night clubs play more foreign music than the country’s national music.

This, Mr Bah said, is a setback that has hampered the growth of the music industry in The Gambia.

The outspoken party leader added that this deprives not only our musicians of being heard all over the world as well as seen or listened to but also of the finances they need to develop themselves as well as to procure standard equipment and instruments.

“The reason why I am talking about it is that I believe that what happened to other countries can happen here in The Gambia,” he said. 

Hamat Bah also called for a law that impresses upon radio stations, and other entertainment spots like clubs and restaurants to play more of Gambian music.

“95 percent of the music they play should be Gambian music; when that is done then our culture is being promoted,” Mr Bah said.

He added: “I think it is important that we go back to the 70s because as you are aware Radio Syd was the first private radio station in Africa, although others are saying it was the first radio stations for the whole of Africa.

“In the days of Radio Syd I remember a very popular program that used to be called Takusan Pap Saine and that program every Gambian or Senegalese was listening to it because it was a program that was very popular. Programs like the Magadan band, the Efanbundy, etc were very interesting in those days and the music was very clear and popular but today if you see what is happening it seems there is no musical band in this country.”

Mr Bah added that there is no musician in this country other than Jaliba Kuyateh who has struggled his way in.

“Every other musician who wants to come in is being deterred and destroyed by our own policies and that’s why I insisted that we have to go back to the days of Takusan Pap Saine.

“I think it is important that we go back to the golden days to create jazz bands to maintain the ones that are existing and make sure that our music is promoted.

“It is the duty of the government and the people to promote the Gambian culture.”

Touching on the country festivals, Mr Bah went on to say that even the Roots Festival is not a national festival, although he admitted that the Kanilai Festival is an international one, “which is a good idea but we should stage and have one national festival that will be celebrated in different towns, cities and regions in the country.”