Elhadj Oumarou Namazarou, La Flute Magique du Niger

Elhadj Oumarou Namazarou is known throughout Niger as Mai Sarewa, the master of the flute.  He was born in 1938 and passed away on April 30, 2010.  Over the course of his fifty year career he became one of the country's most famous musicians.  Namazarou built his following performing at Sharro ceremonies, a Fulani initiatory rite of passage in which young men demonstrate their strength through their capacity to resist being clubbed in the chest. Mai Sarewa's talents brought him a roster of wealthy and powerful patrons, most notably the first lady of Niger Aissa Diori (her husband Hamani Diori was president of Niger from 1960-1974).

Namazarou was a Hausified Fulani; Hausa was his maternal language but he was an ethnic Fulani.  As was his birthright, Mai Sarewa was first and foremost a master of artistic language, using traditional proverbs and songs to praise famous patrons, punctuating his verses with his flute.  He usually performed accompanied only by a Tchaki, a small gourd shekere.  His music became truly iconic when his flute was used for the opening and closing themes of the daily news broadcast on the national radio.

Download Elhadj Oumarou Namazarou Mai Sarewa

This cassette was recorded back in 2002 at the Centre de Formation et de Promotions Musicales Taya (CFPM-Taya) studio in Niamey.  I know even less about Mai Sarewa's discography than I do about him.  This is the only cassette of his that I am aware of, and the only other listing I have seen under his name is this Nigerian single.  In 1996 Elhadj Oumarou Namazarou was brought to Morocco by the producer Martin Paul Colliver, to participate in an unusual recording.  The sessions featured the Moroccan Gnawi Si Mohammed Charqui and the British trumpet player Byron Wallen.  The musicians were recorded in Salé and the tracks were released under the name of Bambaraka.  


The biographical information in this post were all taken from this article published by nigerdiaspora.net.

Here is a scan of the cassette j-card
Share Scan_20180218_181921.jpg - 766 KB



  1. This is great, thank you very much! Could you please post the accompanying K7 cover, if it's not too much to ask?

    1. Thanks for your enthusiasm. I have posted a link to the J-Card above.

    2. Much appreciated. And it would be hard not to get too enthusiastic, your shares here have been every bit as good as Awesome Tapes during its peak :)

    3. Thanks for your encouragement Tane. Awesome tapes was one of the sites that motivated me to start blogging back in 2007.

  2. matthew, this looks fantastic. thank you so much!!!

  3. Bonjour
    Merci bcp pour la Bibliographie de Alh Namazarou, je suis sa propre fille, merci bcp encore


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