Breaking
Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

 

SO sad to hear about Edu Hafner’s death,

As Oko said Edu is a loyalist. Edu is like a horse that you can take to War and he will not retreat or betray to run back. He is a stallion and a man of nobility and honour. He is a gentleman, soft spoken, low voice and always speak softly.
May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.( Daniel Ndow)

Sleep On Edu, You have Accomplished, Well Done. Read On !

The soul of Edu Hafner, Gambia’s singing Angel
Edu Hafner is a virtuoso singer, a composer supreme tenor voice and a high pitch, seven octave voice range. Themaster of the lingala language of the Congo as in songs like Mokolo nakoi kufa, Africa Mobimba, Quart Button, Makambo mobili mobimba, Nakili Mokaya Limpopo, Kiri Kiri and others.

These are all Congolese songs that were made popular here in the Gambia by Edu Hafner. Together with Oussou Njie Senor, Paps Touray, they were projected as the “Singing Angels” on the microphones with their faces beaming with light.

Edu Sang a version of “Tell Mama” by Etta James which was a hit and “Save Me” by Aretha Franklin the jewel in the crown, the lady of soul. A male voice singing in falsetto and impersonating Queen Aretha was a weight too much to carry. But Edu immortalized these songs in the African continent and made them loved by all.

Edu Hafner best known under the stage name Edu was a Gambian church gospel singer, songwriter, and entertainer. He is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of Congolese, Highlife rumba and the Latin American Cha Cha. He is commonly known as the King of Congolese for his distinctive vocal abilities and influence on the modern world of music and his contribution in pioneering African music in the Fabulous Eagles and the Super Eagles.

Edu is widely remembered as singing this song in the Woloflanguage:

” Bada Touray.- Super Eagles Gay Rame Nange la”

Edu came to the spotlight with the fabulous Eagles. He started his career at the Boogie Boys combo group in Banjul and later joined the famous Black Star Band under the patronage of Mr. Anthony Leon. He was the master of the High life, Latin cha cha and the rumba dance music.

At the Black star band he played with veteran Yaya Ceesay, young Malang Gassama from Bokoteh, and late Dibba, later with the Police band along with Kebba Njie, Bye Janha and Kwesi Mboge.

Edu was one of the few members of the fabulous Eagles that decided to stay with the Eagles band owner & photographer, (Uncle Mike) Later onthe original Eagles including Paps Touray, Charlie Valentine, Oussou Njie Senor left to form the famous Super Eagles.

He is a loyalist and he is like a horse that you can take to war and will not retreat or betray or run back. He is a stallion and a man of nobility and honor. He is a gentleman, soft spoken, low voice and always speaks softly.

Veteran Guitarist John Campbell and late lead singer Sogie Sock stayed with the Fabulous Eagles when Edu’s band mates left. He was loyal to the Eagles concept and he carried on with the original Eagles as band leader and lead singer and gave the Super a run for their money.

He re-charged the band and reinforced his Congolese music with a matured flavor of Franco, Rochereau, Dr. Nico and the Bantu Jazz into the fabulous Eagles.The fabulous Eagles gave the Super a fierce competition. They had it all to compete as the Supreme band of the Gambia with Edu at the Helm.

He whispered every word into ones ears because of calm discipline of a shy guy. He is shy and he is cute as a child. Edu interacted with the Creole community in Banjul and as a Creole he brought the Creole culture and the Creole youth culture as well as adult culture into the bands that he played with and into Gambian music. He represented the Creole community in all cultural spheres in the band stand.

Edu is a Creole boy, and accelerated the Creole Combo band and transformed the Combo band format into mainstream music. Here in The Gambia we have various Creole groups i.e., the Caribbean Creoles, the Yoruba Creole and the Sierra Leonean Creoles. The indigenous West African Creoles played Gumbay music as their genre and the Caribbean Creole played an American style of Combo band music.

In the Combo bands, they played accordions, brass horns, and clarinet and kettle drums. The West African Creoles played box guitar, bongo drums, bongo rhythm box and carpenter’s hand saw as precaution and they sing moaning songs on a low key style.

The Yoruba Creoles had been very consistent with A-go-go ( Ojeh-Pakin Mask Dance) as seen these days throughout Banjul especially at Fitzgerald Street. They play Batter-drums. And they played Salvadorian-Brazilian rhythm patterns and drum styles and sing in the Yoruba language of Nigeria and dress in fancy outfits and dance with soft socks on.

The same drumming, dancing and singing of the Gambian Yoruba can be found today in Bahia in Brazil which is populated with ex African slaves and is the largest African community outside Africa. Also in communities in Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic These Salvadorians worship the same African gods and deities like the goddess Orisa, Ogun and Yeyama and so on. These are original African gods we worshiped before we were subjected to Islam and Christianity by the Arabs and Europeans under colonialism.

The fancy Sierra Leonean fairy dancers are seen all over the Caribbean in the names they use in calling their fancy fairy dancers i.e. Angel baby, fancy nails etc. even the Hunting societies

present in The Gambia can be found in the St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago, Montserrat,Barbados, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean..

The Caribbean culture returned to West Africa via the free slaves from the Americas. They later found themselves in Freetown as settlers and some of them later worked for the Air Force and civil servants and everywhere they go, they take their original instruments with them and make music with these instruments. And they reinvented the Caribbean culture in the West African regions.

Last and not the least of these Creoles were the Aku marabous in Banjul that are of Sierra Leonean background. They are indigenous Africans and Muslim. This is why they are call AKU meaning Creole and MARABOUT meaning their religion of Islam

The Aku Martabouts incorporated Caribbean culture into their African traditions and with it invented many artistic and cultural performances, plays and theatre and carnival processions; and most famously the Hunting, Bondo Devil, Yang-koloma (Gesseh) and the Hausa Fanal Carnival.

The Caribbean Gambians create a huge and significant role in the advancement of The Gambia through education, business capital, shipping lines and intellectual exposure.

They put The Gambia in the vanguard of African education and academic excellence. They have nurtured a guided indigenous Gambians into education and coach them into government affairs. They have guided The Gambia all the way to the attainment of her independence in 1965.

The educator Sam Jones went to Lagos in the early 1940s to study, the historian Mrs. Florence Mahoney together with the Ghanaian FK Buah is responsible for the African syllabus for history studies in the whole continent.

The shipping merchant Bani Foster Sr, who used to ship palm Kennel from The Gambia to Liverpool, the veteran Doctor Sam Palmer was a board member of the Gambia Workers Union, together with Edward Small, together they worked to increase the salaries of Gambian workers to two shillings and six pence. The great Merchant Carrol (Grand father of Lawyer Bola Carroll),

In-the year 1929, it was `Edward Small was the first to introduce the salary payment system which was debated in the United Kingdom for The Gambia for monthly salary for paid job.

There were also great thinkers in this community like Rev JC Faye who schooled Andrew Camara at Christe kunda at the URR, Mr Edward Sowe, the Carrols, the Thomas families, the Craps, one of the founding members of the CPP in Ghana, Felix Thomas Snr who mapped the Congo republic, the Mahoneys, the Grey Johnson the Goddard, Lenrie Peters and many more.

They are Gambians and their families are still here. Though they came in the 1800s and early 1900s, they stayed lived and advanced The Gambia and their fortunes were used for the development of the Gambia.

Many other tribes from other empires in the region found the Creoles in the Gambia very well established and thriving in education and commerce.

When the dark days came and Edu wanted to switch to the Super Eagles to join Paps Touray Oussou Njie Senor and Senemie, Banjul was gripped in a Fever-Pitch. The streets were silenced. The rumor goes quickly as bad news always travel fast.

There was a thin line between the Super Eagles and the fabulous eagles in fan-base count. No one had it all. It was a 50-50 fan base count. It was even a common practice in a commercial dance to put together both band in one venue for a competition in-order to boost ticket sales.

They would compete furiously for first prize and it always stay at a stalemate. Here the magic goes to work, from voodoo practice, magic jujus and charity omens and spells just to win the championship.

It was like a Mohammed Ali vs. Joe Foreman fight in Kinshasa, Congo (Rumble in the Jungle). The hall was jammed-pack and the public outside on the street with those who had no were more than the crowd in the hall.

Every one knew the songs and the melodies and singing the tunes coming from the bands playing inside with the raw sound coming from the amplifiers and that attracted every household in the city while the sound of the music filled the city air and could be heard in every corner of the city.

The next day morning, was the talk of the show, a talk of the town and the public had to settle their choice of band. This was a music clash at the highest degree

The day came when Edu had to move to the Super Eagles.

Edu Hafner was put in a lorry and driven around the city of Banjul waving fans for his departure from the fabulous Eagles to join the Super Eagles. This was bigger than when the footballer Luis Figo had to move from Barcelona to join Real Madrid in Spain. Many thought that this move undermined the giant efforts of Malick Secka (Uncle Mike).

There were tears of joy but also tears of sorrow and sadness for the departure of the Mogul of singers, the crowd puller for the Fabulous Eagles and the man with the golden voice that stunned the sub region with hits after hits for fabulous.

Edu Hafner became a new revelation and an instant hit with the Super Eagles as a re-invented Edu Hafner.Edu was reinforced, cemented and flavored in the Super Eagles Line up. He was always the fashion Prince but joining the Super Eagles added an extra touch to his personality and stage presence. He was a Super star and an icon.

Edu sang in his early days the songs of popular Congolese stars that were popular throughout Africa. The Congolese bands had more experience in guitar music and this brand of music was of great interest to the music industries of Europe and America. He was an asset in the Super Eagles enterprise. The Super started to travel to Europe and started to make records earlier than other African band in other countries.

In the fight for African independence and Congo was lead by the late Patrice Lumumba, he left Congo for Belgium to claim the Independence. When President Lumumber left the Congo for Brussels he took with him a team of youth leaders and politicians to negotiate Congo’s independence. This time, there were only academic graduates in the Congo. The Congolese were denied the right to education and Patrice Lumumba as President want to change all that.

Lumumber also took with him the music band of Joseph Kabasela and other musicians to attend the Independence Conference in Brussels.In Brussels they played the famous propaganda songs” Independent Cha-Cha” and The famous “Round-Table” songs. Congo was granted Independence but with a Phrase “Congo after independence is like Congo before Independence”. A few months later Lumumber was assassinated..

The Music of The Congo was a Pan African revolutionary music and Edu choose the right songs to inspire the youth of the Gambia and also to inform them in his songs about the activities going on in the Congo. The song made popular by the African Fiesta Independence Cha cha was a sensitization song for African youths to march for the independence and to liberate the continent.

The Gambian bands were all singing Congolese music which Edu was the king. The songs that the Congolese bands were singing and the Gambian bands were copying and singing in their bands were mainly sons of solidarity for the African revolution.

Sometimes, the meanings of these songs were not well understood, but we as Gambian patriots would recognize such names as M’polo and Pongol very familiar and recognized names in the Congo during the fight for independence, and also names like Kassavubu and Thombe. We could identify with the messages of the Lingala language of the Congo, when reactionary names came up and we can judge the essence of the song.

The arrival of Enersto Che Guevara in Congo Angola and his penetration into Congo was known here in the Gambia (also Che’s Visit to Guniea) along with the release of the song which was composed in his honor called, EL’Comandante. Angola was burned to the ground by Portuguese machinaries and children of an entire village driven into homelessness and their parents killed. It was Cuba who stood up.This song was played as a copy by the Super Eagles and Oussou Njie Senor did the lead vocals. The true friendship between Cuba and Africa was crystallized by the Gambian Super Eagles and informed about the progressive solidarity of oppressed people. Che came to Congio in the time of Patrice Lumumba as resident.

Oussou sang it as the Latin and Spanish singer of the band with Edu Hafner and Paps Touray as barking vocals. The Challenge of the Congo authored by Dr Osegefo Kwame Nkurumah, the Gambians was sensitized by this book about events in the Congo and the African liberation struggle. The events in the Congo were called the crises in the Congo and were demonstrated in protest marches and newspaper editions throughout the Gambia.

The Gambia music bands sang songs of African protest and they sang unity Africa which Edu was at the apex as Gambia’s number one compatriot with progressive Congolese music in solidarity with the pro Pan African leader Patrice Lumber, first prime minister of Congo.

The sad news of Lumumba’s assassination cold blooded The Gambia into silence; as the events unfolded day by day through the music and air waves in our living rooms.The Gambia and the Congo were partners were partners for the unity of Africa and our music spoke same language with dynamic songs of unity for one Africa.

Edu still has the charisma and discipline but he is physically unable to perform his musical and artistic duties due to the illness that griped him for many years.

Eventually Edu is (was) self medicating until his DEATH without professional medical attention due to the fact that he is unable to meet the cost of medical care and doctor’s attention cost.It is a sad situation to see a cultural ambassador not being cared for. He has given all his life to Gambian music as a self supporting artist in his role for national advancement.

He gave a lot to make Gambia the champion of African music especially with his all African Unity anthem, song called ‘Viva President Kaunda / Gambia- Zambia’, calling on all African presidents’ to unite for one Africa.

“How long shall they kill our prophets, exile our prophets, and sideline our prophets while we stand aside and look?” Wake up Everybody.

Author: Oko Drammeh

Oko Drammeh's photo.
Oko Drammeh's photo.
Oko Drammeh's photo.
Oko Drammeh's photo.
Oko Drammeh's photo.

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