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Alan Waka: A Unique Transnational Singer

By Usman Abdullahi Koli

It is true that music is a universal language. Alan Waka’s song which has gone beyond the shore of Hausa speakers –to an across borders is the point of reference in literary parlance. The fact that his songs centre on societal ills and aim at bringing development to the nation, has got a reason to be celebrated offshore. The feat one could ever achieve in his or her field of professionalism is recognised by many and taken as a role model by old and young ones.

Mostly, before one could reach the apex, he or she must have gone through lots of challenges that require endurance, consistency and patience. At times you would feel like dumping some idea at the embryo stage but doggedness results in making one popular, talented and extraordinary among other contemporaries. Aminu Ladan Abubakar, known as Alan Waka appeared unique in his style of music, he sings from heart considering the risk he takes in exposing the ills of leaders; none can be compared to him presently in Northern Nigeria when it comes to telling the naked truth.

Alan Waka was an author and started writing fictional stories a long time ago, he delved into music at the crucial time when most Hausa musicians were abandoning our style of music and were embracing love and relationship songs that many consider as becoming immoral. Alan Waka is seen as an archive for Hausa literary works; he has written several Hausa books and short stories. His outstanding type of music is food to the souls and warning to erring leaders because he usually brings to public notice their embezzlement and unwholesome activities. Not only leaders, but Alan Waka at times also scan through societies, especially Northern Nigeria and sing primarily to draw leaders’ attention to the hardship of such societies for urgent interventions.

Biographically, Alan Waka’s parents were from Jega of the present Kebbi State but he was born and brought up in Kano State. ALA was born in 1973 in Yakasai Quarters of Kano State, he started his academic quest with Islamic education as it is the tradition in Hausa-land. Ala attended Tudun Murtala Primary School Kano, after which he moved to Government Secondary School Kawaji Dakota also in Kano and graduated in 1992. Alan Waka found lots of pleasure in writing fiction stories and had written nine books to his credit but later went back to the School of Technology in Kano where he obtained a National Diploma in Art and Industrial Design.

Interestingly, Aminu Ala majors on traditional Hausa musical instruments like Kalangu, Algaita, Kuntigi, etc which make his songs unique, he uses classical Hausa words, idioms, phrases, proverbs etc in his lyrics which few out of many aspects that made him outstanding. Similarly, Alan Waka’s song entertains and educates. Perhaps, this is why several higher institutions of learning are using his songs in project research, in lectures. Words from his songs are used in radio quizzes, etc. Alan Waka has composed many songs about Hausa cultures, life in universities, sexual harassment, examination malpractices, bad leadership, parental negligences, and a host of other societal problems.

Many people referred to Alan Waka as the ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ whose songs brought ease and solutions to their challenges. Alan Waka’s contributions to the Hausa language and its literature are enormous. Furthermore, Ala is an icon whose contemporaries have taken as a role model; he is a reservoir of Hausa language, history and its cultures, which is why he often dresses in Babban Riga and turban. Despite his popularity as a musician with busy schedules, he never failed to attend events whether big or small gatherings. Ala prioritised time, he hates the phrase ‘African Time’ stating that whoever fixes time for something; he or must respect it.

People in different fields are rewarded by kingdoms and institutions for their stewardships; Alhaji Aminu Alan Waka has received several awards, which include Honorary Doctorate Degree by CEGT University of Benin, several awards from Bayero University Kano, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, among others. On the aspect of traditional titles, Alan Waka was first turbaned as the ‘Dan Amanar Bichi’ by former Emir of Bichi Emirate, His Royal Highness Dr Aminu Ado Bayero, later on, the Emir of Dutse appointed him as the ‘King of Dutse Emirate Musicians’. By next week, on the 13th of February, the Emirate of Tsibirin Gobir in the Niger Republic would turban Alan Waka based on his immense contributions in reviving Hausa literature as well as the dignities of its people.

Allah Yaja Zamanin Alan Waka Ya Tayashi Riko. Amen

Koli, writes from Bauchi and can be reached via: mernoukoli@gmail.com

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