Album: Mamane Barka, Introducing..., (Introduction Records)

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The Independent Culture

The biram is a giant, five-string, boat-shaped harp it takes two men to carry. This sacred instrument of a fishing tribe on Lake Chad has a rich, dark timbre, which, when accompanied by hand-drums and ululations, creates a unique ambience. Barka, a nomad of the Nigerian Toubou tribe, is its only surviving exponent: he graduated from the more common ngurumi, but has developed a repertoire going back centuries, singing of bravery, animals and the importance of the lake's life-giving water.