By Bamba Sering Mass
Innalillah wa inna elaihi razion. Bala Giki Musa Afia is no more! Our legendary Icon answered to the unavoidable call of the All Mighty Allah last night in Dakar Senegal. What a sad day for Senegambia! Bala Giki Musa you are gone but physically but you have made a name that would never die.
Born in Fatoto, in the Kantora District Upper River Division of The Gambia, Musa Afia Ngum became interested in music at a very early age. Because his father was a trader who had to travel often, he was taken care of by a caretaker who was fond of playing a one-stringed guitar instrument. The caretaker used to play this instrument for Musa until he fell asleep. Musa, even in his early years refused to go to bed unless and until the “mola” was played which, looking back, he deems quite mystic. Bala Giki Musa in his youth became interested in “Kassak”, songs which are sung during circumcision ceremonies and initiation periods. He became well known in “Kassak” circles because of his mastery of the songs and his melodious voice and in the event built quite a name for himself whilst developing his vocal abilities. The purity of his adulthood after jumping the hurdle of manhood was absolute cultural awareness and consciousness.
Ambitiously pursuing his music career, Musa joined a group called Sangamarr Band in the late 1960s. He became the group’s lead singer and played together at Sangamarr with the likes of Sam Jarju, Cheks, Pa Alieu Njie, Mbye Jasseh, Pa Ngum and Manka Susso, who was the group’s guitarist. The group specialised in playing famous traditional songs with western instruments. After a while with Sangamarr, Musa was asked by his bigger brother, Lie Ngum, who was then a member of a group called Gelewarr to be their lead singer.
Musa left The Gambia in 1981 and moved to Senegal. He was assiduously courted by Super Diamono, one of the then premier Senegalese bands and he finally joined the group in 1985. He teamed up with Omar Pene, Maiga, Lamin Faye (Lemso)-the legendary Senegalese guitarist and they released “Borom Daaru” and “Partef” which became Senegambian classics. One of the biggest hits during Musa Ngum’s stint at Super Diamono is the combination song he did with Omar Pene which is popularly known as “Omaro, Bamba sa mam la”.
Musa gave his spirit, his life, his thoughts, aspiration and the purpose of existence by being a force in our country.
Musa Ngum has contributed immencely to the unification of Senegal and Gambia. He briefly lived in Senegal to an extent some even thought he was born in Senegal following the Mourid rites baye Fall. His melodious voice rang accross the boarder passing the Gambia through to southern Senegal. Always smiling Bala, he was a man of all generations able to mingle with both young and old. His mixed dress in those days showed his love for both Senegal and Gambia. At the confederation of Senegal and Gambia in 1982 Bala giki Musa appeared to be the happiest man alive saying it looks his dreams are becoming true. His songs still rang in our memories as if they were from a man who would never die but death has snatched him away while doing something he loved from childhood.
Akasa our very own bala Musa sang songs of community belonging and values. His spiritual emblem in child upbringing and adulthood responsibility made him to write the song “Jarama.” Meaning adornment, a classic Kassack song (a Njulie Song) from the Mbarr (House of Takans / Wisdom) and the second home of the ‘Ndongos’.
As we mourn your demise we want to personally send our condolences to the entire Ngum Family. Abdul Kabir/ Lie Ngum your brother, the rest of your siblings and all your children.
Gambia and Senegal has indeed lost an Icon.
Source: http://tontodike.com/…/11303-musa-ngum-gambia-s-gold-ngalam… For more information about Gambian music, visit www.gambiantalents.com