Song of the Month




Gambians home and abroad mourn the sudden death of one of the country's greatest drummers, Nyaw Nying, who until his demise, was the drum-set player and music arranger for the famous Kumareh Band of Jaliba Kuyateh. The incident happened on Tuesday morning at exactly 1a.m and the sad news broke in town and on the social media which attracted thousands of condolence from friends and fans of the renown percussionist. Believed to be in his early 50s, Nyaw leave behind a family of two wives, three sons and three daughters.

During this reporter's visit to the family compound in New Jeswang recently, many visitors were seen, showing their condolence to the saddened family as tradition demands. Speaker after speaker cited the sterling qualities of the son of Mam Samba Nying as a good Muslim who had a smooth relationship with everyone around him. They labeled their loved-one's death as "untimely", saying he remain being a great asset who should always be remembered for his artistic works and achievements.

In an interview with this reporter, the brother-in-law of the late Nyaw and is the husband of his eldest sister, Bai Janha, expressed how sad it was to suddenly lost the decease. He said Nyaw's mother, Ya Binta Ngum, gave Nyaw to him for him to bring up. He said he inspired and trained him (Nyaw) in music and drumming in particular. He said he later formed the Karantaba Band in 1981 where Nyaw served as a drummer. This, he said, was Nyaw's first professional music engagement and they had produced three albums, namely, the Sira Nahal, Karantaba Fans Club and Lady Kilen Njie. He said they had toured the African continent and engaged in some musical competitions before Nyaw later joined and played for the Efangbondi Band from 1988 to 1997. Bai said Nyaw also worked for alongside him in Tambato Band.

On how he entered the Kumareh Band, his mentor said over twenty years ago, Jaliba Kuyateh telephoned him (Bai) from France and kindly requested for Nyaw's services and expertise in band. He said when Jaliba came back from France, they sat down and discussed it then he consented to it and gave him to Jaliba to live and work with. He said Nyaw was not only a drummer but also a song writer and melodious singer, adding that he wrote many famous songs like Serign Omar Nyass and Talubeh during the days he was in Karantaba and Efangbondi Band respectively. Nyaw, he stated, was very instrumental for the Kumareh Band and arranges all the songs of Jaliba during his time in the band. Bai recalled that Nyaw's father was one of the leading drummers in The Gambia during his olden days in Banjul.

He described the late Nyaw as a friendly respectful gentleman whose demise is strongly felt by the family and all those who were fortunately to spend some time with him. He said Nyaw left a noticeable legacy on the surface of the earth as he unflinchingly complemented the course of many great musicians, including the likes of him, Paps Touray, Badou Jobe, Karamo Sabally and others in developing a unique artistic style that fastens their various successes. While praying for his gentle soul to rest in perfect peace, Bai Janha concluded that Nyaw is an asset that worth remembering as he is one of the country's greatest drummers of all time.
The elder sister of the late Nyaw, Sireh Begen Nying, who is a wife to Bai Janha, tagged his beloved brother as a peace-loving man whose lost means a great deal to not only the family, relatives but the country as a whole.

By Saikou Suwareh Jabai

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