BBC Africa — In a country where desert dominates the landscape, Niger’s popular music scene has lacked development as well. So, it was great to hear from Barakina on This Is Africa, a man with big ambitions for his country – and the continent.
“I’ve been passionate about music for as long as I can remember. I live and breathe music morning, noon and evening.
“In the music scene in Niger we have our great artists who inspired us but sadly they didn’t build a music industry so that’s what we need to do now. We are putting together a little team and we have a small label which is growing.”
A trap-influenced rapper and producer, Barakina has been busy, putting out two albums in two years.
“At the moment I would say the music scene is doing well because there is the young generation which understands professionalism and I think in a short time you’ll hear about the music of Niger everywhere. With work and courage, and lots and lots of effort, we can lift this music out of obscurity.”
Work ethic was a theme Barakina returned to several times in his interview with This is Africa, possibly because of the obstacles facing modern musicians in his country.
“In Niger, before I got on the scene, I saw the difficulties our big brothers had because it’s a society which is 90% religious, so it is a society that blocks you. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy environment.”
Anger at those putting up the barriers is evident in Barakina’s music. The language can be abrasive, to the point and sometimes offensive. The track which made his name, Allah Ya Isa, translates roughly as ‘curses on you’ and is a polemic on bad governance.
“I took my courage in both hands and spoke out on the reality of the country. Everything that wasn’t working. And people really appreciated it.
“Life isn’t easy. The proof comes in crying. I believe Africa is trapped, and for Africa to get out of the trap, Africans have to love each other. We are the foundation of humanity and we still haven’t reached the position we deserve.”
Barakina’s call to arms stretches far beyond the deserts of Niger.
“My message to all Africans is to stand up and fight hard, hard, hard.”