Tchemogo Bambayrazi: 1996 Recording.

This post brings us back to Niger.  Tchemogo Bambarayzi was born in the mid-1960s in the village of Balleyara, 100 kilometres northeast of Niamey, and home to one of West Africa's largest weekly animal markets.  He passed away ten years ago.  In his short life his talent spread his reputation far beyond the confines of Balleyara.

Tchemogo made his living, like so many other West African artists, performing on the wedding/celebration circuit.  After building his reputation in Balleyara, he started to perform in villages throughout the Tillaberi region.  By the early 1980s, Tchemogo had become the favored singer of Niger's long-distance drivers, invited to most of their weddings, baptisms, and social events.  Hoping to build on his growing reputation, Tchemogo moved to Niamey in the mid-1980s, settling in the Gaweye neighbhorhood.  Once in Niamey, Tchemogo started to record for a local producer as well as, occasionally, for the national radio. 

Tchemogo sang in Djerma (Zarma) and played the calabash, he was accompanied by a molo (lute).  Throughout his career he was usually accompanied by one of two molo players, Touné or Ousseyni.  Tchemogo has a voice that reminds me, in both his phrasing and timbre, of a Deep Soul singer. 

Download Tchemogo Bambarayzi

The musics I love most are timeless.  They could have been recorded half a century ago or this week, but their truths and conviction are eternally of the present.  This recording of Tchemogo Bambarayzi was made in 1996--given the quality of the recording I suspect this is a ORTN (Office de la Radio Television du Niger) recording--but remains vital today. 

I would love to flesh out this presentation of Tchemogo Bambayrazi.  Do you know anything about this artist?  Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you do. 


Thank you to the photographer who shared this picture of the Balleyara camel market with the world.