Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Mystique Of The Kakaki

The kakaki is a ten-foot royal trumpet utilized in traditional African music. It is referred to as a "kakaki" in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, but called a "waza" in parts of Chad and Sudan, and a "malakat" in Ethiopia. The kakaki is blown by only by men in Hausa societies, and it is generally reserved for specific occasions, such as a ceremony at the emir's palace.

It originally comes from Songhai cavalry around 15th century when the once-imposing empire founded by Askia Muhammad ruled over the Hausa states of Kano, Zazzau, Katsina and Gobir. The kakaki sound is associated with royalty and it is only played at events at the palace of the emir or chief in Hausa societies. It is used as part of the sara, a weekly statement of power and authority, usually on Thursday nights.

The kakaki alongside other side-blown ivory or horn instruments such as algaita, farai and kaho transmit verbal praises of chiefs and emirs. All these instruments fulfill this role in combination with drums.

During coronations and high-caste ceremonies, the kakaki is blown as a talking trumpet at the palace to herald the arrival of some senior council members, district heads, princes and top palace officials or serve for signaling the entry of the emir and his retinue.

Ostensibly, this metal instrument which is a bequest from Songhay to the people of northern Nigeria over six centuries ago had found its abode in the ancient city of Zaria, the headquarters of Zazzau Emirate.

News Royale learnt that the Kakaki quarters, an enclave within the ancient city, has been existing for over six hundred years, nearly as old as the city itself. It was originally the place of residence for Sarkin Kakaki (chief of the trumpeters) and other royal trumpeters and praise singers during the reign of Habe dynasty.

But Kakaki quarters witnessed a huge transformation after the settlement of Madakin Zazzau Albarka, son of Muhammadu Makau, and Malam Ibrahim Mai Borno, a Kanuri man, who came from Kukawa via Kajuru, shortly after the jihad in 1805. The area where they settled came to be known as Albarkawa. From the lineage of Malam Ibahim Mai Borno, popularly known as "Tsoho" came some illustrious sons of Zazzau such as Waziri Umaru, Salanke Iyal and Ma'aji Isyaku among others.

There had been at least five Sarkin Kakaki (chief of trumpeters) before a certain Abubakar was appointed Sarkin Kakaki by the Habe ruler of Zazzau, Muhammadu Makau in 1804. Sarkin Kakaki Abubakar lived in the Kakaki quarters with his family and begot a son named Muhammadu Kauran Busa.

But Abubakar was succeeded by one Sama, who came from Katsina and was appointed by Emir of Zazzau Malam Sambo. When Sama died he was succeeded as Sarkin Kakaki by Tanimu, a grandson of Abubakar through Muhammadu Kauran Busa. However, Tanimu was not followed to the title by his son, Madakin Kakaki Muhammadu Qaniyati rather by Ibrahim, son of Sama.

At the emir's palace in Zaria, the kakaki and farai are sounded as the emir enters the inner royal chamber. The royal trumpeters led by Sarkin Kakaki will herald the arrival of the emir with the epithet: "Bijimi! (thrice). Ga shi a fili, ga shi a sarari. Allah Ka taya maka. Annabi ka taya maka. Kai kadai ka ke Sarki; kai kadai ka ke Bijimi; ga adalin Sarki!"

A succession of council members, princes and courtiers approach him, now seated on his throne, to pay their respects. The trumpeters will greet each dignitary with a particular appellation. Like in the case of Waziri, the kakaki would sound: "Chediyar da babu kaya, Waziri babban gwadabe, Waziri ka fi mai abu iko!" or, as for Galadima, "Babba! (thrice). Daudu Galadima, shawaran gari wuce kunya. Babba sha guna guni. Daudu karfin birni, Daudu rana da hazo!" For the Madaki, the sobriquet is: "Goje uban fadawa, kaura rabin gari!" while others like Sarkin Fada and Sarkin Yaki have "takuma gigita maza, takuma ko gidan mutm kafi shi!" and "Kura ba jini zuba, kaure goma, zabuwa goma!" as their epithet.

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