Folk Bands and Artists
Mamane Barka - The Lone Master of the Biram
A night in the company of Mamane Barka is a chance not just to experience an
extraordinary and forgotten music, but also to hear the fascinating story of Mamane
Barka’s quest to rescue this sacred instrument from extinction.
Mamane Barka from Niger was born into a family of Toubou nomads and grew up to
become a teacher and then a celebrated musician with desert blues at his heart.
A decade ago Mamane heard about the beautiful sound of the biram, an enormous
boat shaped 5-stringed harp sacred to the Boudouma people of Lake Chad. When he
learnt there was only one elderly player of the instrument left Mamane went to live
with the Boudouma to study with the old master, learning the instrument and it’s
rituals and ancient, mythical songs. On the death of the master, Mamane was
bequeathed the biram and charged with bringing the biram to the attention of the
Now Mamane maintains the tradition single-handedly touring the world with Oumarou
Adamou, the son of a Hausa griot, whose trance-enducing percussion is the bedrock
of this extraordinarily powerful desert blues