One of Gambia’s finest musicians, Barhama Cham, has preached that originality is key in music and wholeheartedly believes that artists should be ambassadors of their culture. This philosophy of his shines through not only in his music, but also in his message.
Sitting in the lounge area of Gaya Art Cafe in Senegambia, ‘the bringer of peace,’ as he shares to be the meaning of his name, details his journey with music. Born in Sanchaba Sulay Jobe, Cham was first inspired by his friend: “I had this close friend of mine who was really observant, so he was the one who was telling me that ‘boy do you know that yow nyi yalen daha woii’…the first day he told me that he put something in my mind then I started checking in myself and tried to dig deep and understand what exactly he was talking about. Later, I realized that in real sense I can do this thing and then started writing my own lyrics and doing the thing”. However, the solo artist did not start to do music professionally until 2014 when he made the decision to quit his full-time salaried job to focus on his music… “Just one day, I decided to leave it…I was seeing something that none of them were seeing.”
A well-rounded and cultured artist, the young Gambian star has distinguished himself as more than just a singer due to his ability to write songs, poetry, his acting skills and more particularly, his role as a cultural ambassador. “…your culture is your civilization so you should represent it irrespective of where you go. Originality is the key”, Barhama states.
Coming off the heels of the recent Gambia-European Tour along with fellow Gambian acts such as Gee and Jizzle, Barhama said the tour made a phenomenal impact on his music and his views. “The Salam Show Festival [in Sweden] has opened my eyes to a new level and Gambia was well represented.”
A skilled musician with a gilded voice, Barhama has successfully created and compiled a sound and style for himself. Having released an array of singles, along with well-noted collaborations, including his most famous one with fellow Gambian artist, Bai Babu, “Fahass”, the artist is now ready to release his debut album. “I am currently working on two projects and I am trying to fuse my culture and foreign cultures so that anyone that listens to my music will feel that they belong”.