He is a driver for a wealthy businessman during the day, playing his Yamaha PSR-64 at night. He has had his music anonymously spread across the cell-phone networks of Africa’s Sahel region (Mauritania, Mali, and Niger), credit usually being given to another performer, a now-deceased freedom fighter.
So goes the wild tale of HAMA, the creator of TORODI, unearthed and thankfully released by SAHEL SOUNDS for the rest of us. This is some of the most intoxicating music I’ve heard in some time. Notes circling, circling, circling, circling, all atop the cheap beats supplied by that Yamaha PSR-64. The synthesizer warbles along, creating spirals of notes, dancing around my mind, uplifting my soul, totally causing me to lose myself among the deceptively simple rhythms. I do not meditate, but I do allow music to entrance me when the rare occasion arises that I find music capable of doing so. Hama’s music has that power. The insistent beat and sublime synth improvisations of this single man from the Niamey plateau in Niger have been close companions of mine for a while already now. I don’t foresee what could separate us. I need these sounds in my life. There is comfort in this music.
Hama rarely plays live and is just beginning to compose music by computer. Here’s to hearing much more from this singularly bright and shining African improviser.