Niger Singer Hamsou Garba Dies At 64
Photo Credit: Screenshot from Droit Libre TV

One of Niger's prominent musicians, Hamsou Garba, has died at the age of 64.


Hamsou Garba, the Maradi, Niger-born singer who had a successful career that spanned the course of three decades, recently died in a hospital in Niamey after battling a long-term illness. She was 64. The singer, who was called Niger's "music box", made a name for herself for her signature melodic singing in the indigenous language of Hausa. Throughout the long span of her career, the Niger legend led a band of women and men, singing in indigenous languages, making their mark on indigenous African music. The theme of her songs were primarily focused on love, religion, and social issues. As a testament to her activism, the singer was briefly jailed in 2016, after she criticized the government during a segment of her performance where she called the then-embattled opposition leader Hama Amadou "Niger's Mandela."

The singer spent 10 days in jail at the Niamey Prison in Niger. At that time, she was accused of inciting civil disobedience, and triggering unrest. During the course of her career, she also used her radio show to shine a light on the ongoing social issues in Niger's government. The tragic death of the legendary singer has been called a "national loss" by the national musician's union.

Garba's first completed album, Gargadi, was released in 2008, and it chronicled much of the themes she had become well-known and celebrated for. That album was quickly followed by Tout est possible, which she released in 2009. In 2011, she began working on two more albums, titled Les hommes de l’histoire and Aouran dollé.

Listen to one of her most recent songs "Andounia" below.

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