22 years after, Mamman Shata’s songs live on | Dailytrust

22 years after, Mamman Shata’s songs live on

Even though the legendary Mamman Shata died 22 years ago, his fame, popularity and myths about his life and songs remain subjects of discussion...

Maman Shata
Maman Shata

Even though the legendary Mamman Shata died 22 years ago, his fame, popularity and myths about his life and songs remain subjects of discussion in many quarters. The famous singer died at the age of 76 on Friday, June 18, 1999, long before many of those passionate about his songs and exploits these days were born.


The late Shata was born into a family of the Fulani tribe. His mother, Lariya, was a Fulata-Borno, the Fulani people that migrated from the Borno Empire after the Fulani Jihad of 1804 and settled in parts of Hausa land.

She was born in Tofa Town in the Kano Emirate and met Shata’s father, Ibrahim Yaro, when she had gone to visit a relative in Musawa. Subsequently, they got married. Lariya had had a son, Ali, from a previous marriage and also had two children with Yaro, Mamman Shata and his sister, Yalwa.

Shata died at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) on Friday, 18 June 1999. Ever since his death, his songs gained a lot of popularity among Hausa-speaking nations. However, 22 years after his death, his songs still remain afloat in the minds of many Hausa song lovers.  Radio stations play his songs and the public bask in the euphoria of the songs.

Many intellectuals in the society have made attempts to immortalize Shata by documenting his biography.

One of them is Associate Professor, Aliyu  Kankara.  Kankara has written a book titled: “Mahadi Mai dogon Zamani” on Shata’s biography in which he described him as the world’s most celebrated and greatest sensational music icon who, within a span of 63 years on the entertainment scene, had a record of over 10,000 albums.”

The book was first published in 2013, updated in 2018, while the third updated version will be out soon.

Mamman (second left) Shata in 1977


Kankara revealed that though government seemed to have considered Shata’s creativity  as a source of income, yet it has not done anything to immortalize him. He also expressed the need to imortalize him with a monument.

“I expect an initiative to set up a Shata Museum or Recording Archives where all his  recordings would be digitized. This, I strongly believe, is something the Katsina State Government ought to have initiated and controlled,” he said.

Kankara added that, despite the new trend in the northern musical industry, Shata’s songs remain a force to reckon with.

He said that with the emergence of social media, a lot of  Shata’s songs had been discovered.

“The irony of it is that, Shata is late. Yet, new discoveries of his songs are being made over the years. Many people have come together to form various social platforms to discuss Shata’s works and contributions to Hausa poetry. I am aware of more than 30 of such social media groups and I have discovered a lot of new developments in Shata’s work,”  Kankara said.

He explained that one of the ardent supporters of Shata’s works had organized a lecture symposium in his honour, 22 years after.

He added that one of Shata’s daughters had called him to send a message to the gathering that the plight of Shata’s family should also be discussed during the symposium.

She also urged governments, especially  Katsina, to consider the plight of the family.

Another intellectual who wrote a book on  Shata is Ibrahim Sheme. He is a bilingual writer, journalist, filmmaker and publisher; an ex-editor of Leadership newspaper, pioneer editor of Blueprint newspaper and later its editor-in chief who had also served as National Publicity Secretary of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) in the 90s. He was also the pioneer secretary-general of ANA in Kaduna state.

Sheme wrote ‘Shata Ikon Allah’ which was first published in 2006, updated and re-published in 2018.  It is also Shita’s biography.

Alhaji Lawan Bello Mai Kaset is a 67-year-old cassette dealer who claimed that he had made a lot of fortune through the sale of Shata’s songs in the early 80s.

He said that after Shata’s demise, people began to rush for his songs, especially with the rumours that  the late iconic musician had declared that after his death, all his songs would perish, except one.

“Shata’s songs were our lifeline in those days. I have a customer who is late now, that used to buy 20 to 30  copies of Shata’s songs from me. After his death, we thought we wouldn’t be able to make any sales from his songs. But we were wrong. We made a whole lot of money from his songs.  People are still making money from his songs. It was rumoured that Shata had made an announcement that after his death all his songs would perish. This prompted many people to rush and obtain a copy of their favourite,” Mai Kaset said.

Malam Ibrahim Kantoma claimed that the Hausa musical industry had never had a musical icon like Shata.

He said that Shata’s versatility could not be compared with any other in the history of Hausa songs.

Kantoma added that Shata had showcased himself as an exceptional singer whose talent seems to be out of this world.

“Shata was one singer that sang for whomever he believed deserved his praises and not who wanted his praises. We were told that a lot of billionaires wanted Shata to sing for them, but he didn’t but sang for a commoner. That was Shata for you. He would always amaze you with his ways. I am optimistic that his songs would continue to remain indelible in our memories as we continue to listen and enjoy his philosophical lyrics,”  Kantoma said.

Born in 1923 in Musawa, Katsina State, Shata died at the age of 76 in 1999. He was a well-known musician and respected among the Hausa people. His vocals were often accompanied by a talking drum, known as Kalangu.

He performed for the Hausa people and even non-Hausas for more than half a century.

The late Shata spent all his life in the promotion of Hausa language through his songs.

Many people are calling on government replicate what it did at the late Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto’s residence in Kaduna and at Malam Aminu Kano’s residence in Kano at Mamman Shata’s Funtua’s residence to immortalize the Hausa music legend.

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