GAMBIA MOURNS THE DEATH OF A RENOWN DRUMMER

By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
Gambians at home and abroad mourn the sudden death of one of theNyaw Nying
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. He passed away on Tuesday morning at exactly 1a.m andthe sad news spread quickly on the social media which attracted
numerous condolences from friends and fans of the renown
percussionist. Believed to be in his early 50s, Nyaw is survived by
two wives, three sons and three daughters.
During this reporter’s visit to the family compound in New Jeswang
recently, many visitors were seen, paying their condolences to the
bereaved 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 cordial relationship with everyone around him. They labeled
their loved-one’s death as “untimely”, saying he was 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, Bai Janha expressed how sad it was to suddenly lose Nyaw. He said Nyaw’s
mother, Ya Binta Ngum, gave Nyaw to 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 Chilel 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 with 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 the 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 him. 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 in 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 and respectful gentleman
whose demise is strongly felt by the family and all those who were
fortunate 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, Pap Touray, Badou Jobe, Karamo Sabally and others in
developing a unique artistic style that hastens their various
successes. While praying for his gentle soul to rest in perfect peace,
Bai Janha concluded that Nyaw is an asset that is worth remembering as
he is one of the country’s greatest drummers of all times.
The elder sister of the late Nyaw, Sireh Beegay Nying, who is a wife to
Bai Janha, tagged his beloved brother as a peace-loving man whose loss
means a great thing to not only the family and relatives, but the
country as a whole.