Traditional Music

hausa traditional music

Hausa Traditional Music: Past, Present, and Future

Yewande Omotosho


All it takes for the Hausa traditional music group sometimes is a talking drum and when they feel like being ceremonial, they could spice it up with the traditional trumpet Kakaki which is formed into different shapes but usually a long and straight form is the most commonly used. The tiny guitar called the Goje, Kettle drums and the Kalangu talking drum. But nothing is to be compared with the melodious and harmonious voices when they sing away in the Hausa dialect.



The Hausa traditional music often consists of men only this is because of their religious belief of not exposing their women to the public eyes. The only type of music performances the Hausa women are allowed to partake in are the religious songs in worship of Allah as they refer to God  in the Hausa language. Often times, the eldest in the group is the soloist while the rest back him up on the choice of songs, even at that, the soloist must be vast, experienced and creative enough to keep the group going and to always get invitations to perform.

In recent times, the Hausa traditional music is being used to sing praises of notable people, politicians and religious rights. It has become a form of lucrative business for the singers as the politicians appreciates the praise singing and compensate the performances handsomely.

Rural folk music includes styles that accompany the young girls’ asauwara dance and the bòòríí or Bori religion both well known for their music. It has been brought as far north as Tripoli, Libya by trans-Saharan trade. The bòòríí cult features trance music, played by calabash, lute or fiddle. During ceremonies, women and other marginalized groups fall into trances and perform odd behaviors, such as mimicking a pig or sexual behavior. These persons are said to be possessed by a character, each with its own litany (kírààrì). There are similar trance cults (the so-called “mermaid cults”) found in the Niger Delta region.

Despite the simplicity of the Hausa traditional music, it is shocking to know that the Hausa’s are the creator of the African pop culture genre we listen to today. Their folk music is widely known within and across the shore of Africa. Today, the infusion of civilization is creeping into the Hausa traditional music as the younger generation now sing folk music to profess love for a woman, mix of folk music and Hip Hop and  other type of infusion that makes the Hausa younger generation dive into the traditional way of music so as to keep the heritage of the Hausa community. Examples of such artists are; Jeremiah Gyang, Ice Prince Zamani, MI Abaga.

Here is Ice Prince in the Hausa song titled Mutumina. Mixing the Hausa folk music tune with Hiphop



Here is Jeremiah Gyang featuring MI Abaga in a song titled ”Kauna Allah”