Banned Hausa rapper uses internet for alternative distribution
|Hausa rapper Ziriums satirical song ‘Girgiza Kai’ (Shake Your Head) was banned by the Kano State government. Instead, Ziriums uses online sites to distribute his songs, reported blogger Carmen McCain.
Ziriums has released his album ‘This is Me’ online. During a July 2009 film interview, Ziriums talked about the album he hoped to release and his struggle with censorship in Kano. Carmen McCain was given permission by the filmmakers to transcribe the interview and posted it on her blog:
Ziriums: “Maybe they are going to ban it as well, but I’m sure it is going to be on internet, my myspace address, my facebook address, and it is going to be on Bluetooth […] Bluetooth is the fastest way we use to spread our message. Because they will not air our songs on their radio stations. I can remember the time I finished ‘Girgiza Kai’, the one they banned. I took it to radio stations; they played it once, you know. From the censorship board, they wrote a letter to them, you should not play this song again, you understand? And they stopped airing it. And from that day, no one aired my song again and later now they banned it.
I think Bluetooth helps us a lot because I can put it on my phone. My friend will listen to it and say oh give me and I’ll push it to him. Then through that, it will go all over, all over, not even Nigeria, not even Kano, not even Nigeria, itself. It can go anywhere. Because now if I put it in your handset you carry it to the US. […] I’m going to release my album. I’m working on it. And when I finish it, maybe probably it is going to be sold in Kano. We’ll see how I will go behind the national constitution. I’ll go there and stand and use it. Because I am a Nigerian as well. Since Timaya and P-Square can sell their album in Kano, why not I? Why? Why can my album cannot be sold in Kano? I must censor it? Who said so? I will not do that.
I’m looking at myself as Timaya and P-Square and any damn artist in the country. I’m looking at myself as the same thing as them. We don’t have any differences. The only difference is that they have their albums outside. People know them. You understand? They have the opportunity that we couldn’t get. If I have the opportunity or the chance they have, I could have reached or I could have passed their level. So my album is going to be sold in Kano insha Allah. With censors or without censors.”
Ziriums moved to Abuja in 2009, where he collaborated with Abuja-based musicians Yoye, S. Solar, T-Rex, and others. His contribution to S. Solar and T-Rex’s song “Government Money” helped turn a Nigerian version of Busta-Rhymes “Arab Money” into, what Carmen McCain argues is a subversive piece that critiques the corrupt money-obsessed culture of Abuja.
Ziriums has performed at the pre-parlour music festival in Niamey, Niger, at Kano’s British council, at Ceddi Plaza in Abuja, and the Savannah International Movie awards, as well as other locations. He is also featured in Saman Piracha and Alex Johnson’s upcoming documentary Recording a Revolution.
Carmen McCain’s blog – 7 September 2010:
‘Hausa rapper Ziriums releases album “This is Me” and music video single online. Lyrics included here’
|Related reading on freemuse.org|
The government went on to commission several other musicians to record music albums promoting its policies. They included Nhaka Yedu by the Air Force of Zimbabwe Band; Rangarirai by Peter Majoni; Hoko by Simon Chimbetu and; Tongogara and More Fire by Andy Brown. These albums received excessive airplay on radio and television which led to several other musicians, who without being commissioned by government began to record favorable songs so as to capitalize on this need, and in the process receive airplay. Others like Brown were awarded with funds by government to build a recording studio with the rest awarded contracts to play at state functions and major national events.
Before the launch of the music jingles, government terminated television and radio advertisements contracts for private companies saying it was the corporation’s new programming policy.
Munyaradzi Hwengwere, the then Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive until 2003 defended the Chave Chimurenga music jingles saying they “were not propaganda material but advertising, paid and initiated by government and it would be a crime for the national broadcaster to limit people’s freedom, ideas and creativity”. An estimate made in 2003 for one Chave Chimurenga music jingle titled Rambai Makashinga showed that for radio (four stations) it was being played approximately 288 times a day, which amounts to 8 640 times per month. On television the advert was flighted approximately 72 times a day, which amounts to 2 160 times a month.
Zimbabwean poet and musician Chirikure Chirikure said the music jingles were shallow, poorly targeted and a waste of state funds. “I have seen people switching off their radios when these music jingles play. They are insulting,” says Chirikure adding that instead the government should be promoting national policies.
Government Control of Radio and Television
By controlling radio which is easily accessible to the majority of the 13 million Zimbabweans, government has managed to censor and control music content on the airwaves.
Popular Radio Zimbabwe presenter and producer Eric Knight who had worked for the radio station for more than 12 years fled the country in 2003 for the United Kingdom citing fear for his life after he refused to play songs from the government sponsored productions. He alleges that his friends from the army, police and Central Intelligence Organisation advised him to flee from the country as his life was in danger.
Andy Brown – paid by the government