Iconic Nigerian musician, DanMaraya Jos, is dead

Danmaraya Jos

One of the most respected Nigerian musicians from the north of the country, Adamu Wayya, best known as Danmaraya Jos, is dead, his friend and close associate, Ladan Salihu, has announced.

He was 69.

“Inaa Lillaahi Wa Innaa ilaiHir raaji’un. One of Nigeria’s foremost Hausa musicians, poet, philosopher and philanthropist, Dr Adamu Danmaraya Jos has answered Allah’s call about an hour ago,” Mr. Salihu, the Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), announced at about 4P.M Saturday on his Facebook page.

Mr. Salihu continued, “He died in Jos after a protracted illness. When I visited him two weeks ago, he spoke passionately about the Unity of the North and of one Nigeria. I remember when he insisted that my late father gave out the his (Danmaraya’s) adopted daughter’s hand in marriage some 15 years ago.

“We shared many moments. He was to me a brother and a friend. I am devastated. But I am proud he lived a very useful life, transforming society through music and silently through Islamic endeavours. May Allah grant him Aljannatul Firdaws. Amin. For the record he was a recipient of the National Honours of MON, OON and United Nations Peace Medal.”

DanMaraya is known for performing at key events across the country. His last known public performance was at the Peoples Democratic Party’s fund raising dinner in Abuja before the 2015 general election.

He performed brilliantly that Dec 20, 2014, and shook hands with then President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries at the event after his performance.

His death has thrown a lot of his fans into deep mourning, with some taking to Facebook to mourn his departure.

Liz Asabe Ikilama, a lawyer, wrote, “A couple of days ago, I was telling Dami my son about him and his songs. I said to him ‘Dan Adam mai wuyan gane hali, ‘in anyi rana yace anyi, in anyi dare yace anyi dare’! I said when you are given hot potatoes and carrots,you’d say why is it too hot. If you are given the cold one, you’d complain too.

“I told him how philosophical Dan Marayan Jos Songs were! He asked if I have met him, do I know his house? I said when we were kids, he was staying around/off Bauchi road? I wasn’t too sure. But I told him that I met him when I was in Law school Lagos at 1004 housing estate in Uncle Ladan Salihu’s house.”

“A colossal loss to the whole of art, entertainment, and humanity in general. He was a musician with a unique character and talent,” another fan, Mukhtar Abubakar Usman, wrote. “His was unparalleled.”

Below is Wikipedia entry on the late musician.

Dan Maraya Jos (born Adamu Wayya in 1946 – 20 June 2015) is a Nigerian Hausa Griot best known for playing the kontigi. Dan Maraya Jos, whose name means “The Little Orphan of Jos”, was born in 1946 and Died Saturday, 20 June 2015 in B’ukur, near Jos in Plateau State, Nigeria. His Islamic name is Adamu, but his father died shortly after his birth and his mother died while he was still an infant, hence the name by which everyone knows him. Dan Maraya’s father was a court musician for the Emir of Bukur, who took Dan Maraya under his care when his parents died. Dan Maraya showed an early interest in music and came under the influence of local professional musicians. During a trip to Maiduguri while he was still a pre-teen, he was impressed by musicians there and made a kuntigi, with which he has accompanied himself ever since.

The kuntigi is a small, single-stringed lute. The body is usually a large, oval-shaped sardine can covered with goatskin. Dan Maraya and other kuntigi players are solo performers who accompany themselves with a rapid ostinato on the kuntigi. During instrumental interludes they repeat a fixed pattern for the song they are playing, but while singing, they will often change the notes of the pattern to parallel the melody they are singing.

Like most professional musicians, the mainstay of Dan Maraya’s repertoire is praise singing, but Dan Maraya singles out his personal heros rather than the rich and famous. His first, and perhaps still his most famous song is “Wak’ar Karen Mota” [“Song of the Driver’s Mate”] in praise of the young men who get passengers in and out of minivan buses and do the dirty work of changing tires, pushing broken down vans, and the like. During the Nigerian Civil War, he composed numerous songs in praise of soldiers of the federal army and incorporated vivid accounts of scenes from the war in his songs.

Many of his songs incorporate social commentary. These include the songs on marriage in the study here, which probably date from the early 1970’s. One might argue that they are really one large song, and in performance, Dan Maraya incoporates lines from each of them. However, the recordings that serve as the basis for this study have three distinct musical settings, and the songs themselves have three different themes. “Jawabin Aure” [“Discourse on Marriage”] lists the problems attendant in divorce and admonishes married couples to try to patch up their differences. “Auren Dole” [“Forced Marriage”] decries the practice of families arranging marriages for their daughters rather than letting them decide on their own mates. “Gulma-Wuya” [“The Busybody”] describes a neighborhood gossip who works in collusion with a boka (a practitioner in casting spells, removing evil spirits, etc.) to disrupt marriages by sowing dissension between women and their husbands. The latter song is amusing in that Dan Maraya performs it as a drama, imitating the voices of the different characters as they speak, a technique that he has used in other songs as well. [Compiled by Aliyu Badeggi].

Coronavirus factsheet


PT Mag Campaign AD

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application