Keynote Address Delivered at the ITMM Award Ceremony to Celebrate 20 Years of Kanywood and Establishment of Iyan-Tama Multimedia company, Kano 25th November 2010, at Mumbayya house, Kano. It gives me great pleasure and pride to be asked to give this keynote address on this very important day when we are gathered to celebrate our homecoming. This is more particularly so as we are gathered here today to celebrate not only 14 years of Iyan-tama multimedia film production company, but also celebrate the larger canvas of 20 years of the establishment of the Kano-based Hausa video film industry. Before I address the main issues of Iyan-Tama Multimedia company, let me provide the audience with a brief review of the Kano-based Hausa video film industry and why today is significant.
If there is a single person who can be credited with the creation of Hausa video film industry as a commercial venture, then it was Alh. Aminu Hassan Yakasai, who died in a tragic accident in 2000. Aminu Hassan was not only a writer of Hausa reactive fiction (Mudubi, 1993), he was also an actor (Sabon Bakan Gizo, 1988), pioneering director and producer of Hausa TV soap operas. It was his foresight and vision that led to the eventual commercialization of films produced by the pioneer drama group in Kano, Tumbin Giwa, and which released its first video feature, Turmin Danya (ruckus) in march 1990 the film was directed by another pioneer director, Salisu Galadanci.
The moderate acceptance of Turimin Danya in kano encouraged the tumbin giwa drama group to release Rikicin Duniya (Troubled World) in 1991, and Gimbiya Fatima (Princes Fatima) in 1992 – all with resounding success. Gimbiya Fatima, Featured Adamu Muhammad, a novelist (Kwabon Masoyi, "Lover's Penny), and one of the most successful and innovative television Drama actors from CTV soap operas.
By now it was becoming clear to the pioneers that there seems to be a viable Hausa video film market, and it was this viability that laid the foundation of the fragmented nature of the Hausa video film industry. For while organized groups formed to create the drama and film production units failed to sustain the initial tempo, individual Members of the groups decided to stake out their own individual territories and chart their own future.
Thus Adamu Muhammad, the star of Gimbiya Fatima decided to produce his own video film, independent of Tumbin Giwa group in 1994. The video film was Kwabon Masoyi. based on his own novel of the same name, and outlined the road map for the future of the Hausa video film, and at the same time sounded the death knell of the drama groups. This was because Aminu Hassan Yakasai who created the very concept of marketing Hausa video films—and thus created an industry—also broke away from Tumbin Giwa and formed Nagarta Motion Pictures. Others followed suit, and thus the competitive Hausa video film industry was born.
Another landmark in the history of video films in Africa was recorded in August 1999 edition of Tauraruwa magazine—the first magazine in Africa devoted to indigenous African video films—edited by Sunusi Shehu (Bankwano da Masoyi, Farewell to a Lover) that Sunusi created the term Kannywood to refer to the Kano-based Hausa video film industry. It is significant that the term 'Nollywood' to refer to the Nigerian English language video film industry was created by Norimitsu Onishi, in an article titled "Step Aside L.A. and Bombay, for Nollywood published in The New York Times on September 16, 2002. This was almost three years AFTER Sunusi Shehu created Kanywood.
Of further significance was the fact that Turmin Danya, released in 1990 was released two years before (living in Bondage) — the video film generally acknowledged as the first film in English-language Nollywood film industry. So either way, the Hausa video film industry—both in terms of an industry as well as a label—is the first full-pledged video film industry, not in Nigeria, but in Africa. lyan-lama Multimedia A series of chance encounters, rather than deliberate marketing strategies, shaped the presence of song and dance routines as core defining elements in Hausa home videos from 1996— and led to the establishment of lyan-Tama Multimedia Company. Even the name, with its focus on "multimedia" was revolutionary, coming at a time when the very concept of multimedia was still strange to many audiences. In early 1996 Dan Azumi Baba, a novelist (Rikicin Duniya, 1990; Amintocciyar Soyayya, 1991) and also a band/ri musician and poet, wrote a love song he called Badakala. In an innovative move, he decided to create a soundtrack for the songs with handclaps, hands beating a wooden bench, and eventually empty plastic storage jars ('jerrycans').
When he heard Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino's soundtrack for In Do So Ga Kauncz, he immediately got the musician, Nasir Usman Ishaq Gwale, to set the words of Badakala to music. The resultant audio tape was meant to be sold in the markets as an independent new music production.
In a chance encounter with Hamisu Lamido lyan-Tama, a merchant with a boutique in the bustling Sabon Gari market, Dan Azumi Baba convinced lyan-Thma to start in his first film, Bakano'amiyar Rikicin Ouniya. Dan Azumi was struck by the chiseled 'movie-star' looks and humility of Hamisu lyan-Tama and instantly saw him as a future movie star. Hamisu lyan-Tama decided to first seek the permission of his mother—even though he was even then an adult with his family— before accepting the offer—a fact that explained his spectacular success because he entered the industry with full blessings.
Dan Azumi also played Badakala audio tape for him. This caught lyan-Tama's imagination which promised a more lucrative sideline in keyboard music for other modern Hausa musicians, and thus a company, yan-Tama Multimedia was born in 1996. On his next trip to the Middle East where he usually buys his wares, lyan-Tama brought a Yamaha keyboard organ, PSR-220 which was used by Nasir Swale, a consultant-employee at lyan-Tama Multimedia Studios, to compose the soundtracks for the early Hausa videos films. Badakala was remixed at the studio by Nasir Gwale and the tape was taken to cassette dealer, Rabi'u BK at K/Wambai cassette market.
However, since the song contained a line with the praise of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the dealers refused to market it, claiming that it was blasphemous to sing the name of the Prophet accompanied by the sound of a pianol It was then that Dan Azumi and Hamisul Lamido decided to create a story around the song, and the result was the home video, Badakala. They decided, of course, that the audio soundtrack of the tape should accompany the video, but with the addition that the characters in the video will mime the songs to be played in the background — thus creating the first music playback miming of its kind in Hausa video films, The turning point for the company, however was in 1999 when yan-Tama studios acquired Yamaha PSR-730 keyboard. With a vast expanded range of Country, Jazz, Dance, Latin, Rock, Soul and Waltz, the PSR-730 opened up the doors to revolutionizing Hausa "film" music. The first playback song to benefit from its superior range of sound samples was Sangaya. The song was written by Musbahu Muhammad in September 1999 and in October of the same year, it was composed at lyan-Tama Multimedia Studios by Alee Baba Yakasai. It was released on tape, before the film was shot—similar to the strategy adopted in releasing Badukala. It turned out to be a successful marketing move because before the film was even released, the tape of the songs alone, especially Sangaya title track, was a massive hit. The film itself, from Sarauniya Film productions, was released in 2000. To date, Sangayu remained the definitive reference point for the successful Hausa video film industry.
lyan-Tama Multimedia subsequently became a film production outfit, among other ventures, and adopted a distinct style of production guided by a group of almost Bohemian novelists which included including Alkhamees D. Bature, a vocalist with the studio; Bala Anas Babinlata, author of best-selling Dc ko iikc., and freelance director with the studio; and unorthodox mix of Islamic scholars containing a mixture of radical Islam with rebellious Islam which included Ahmad Salihu Al-Kanawy, a Muslim scholar and preacher, and Sunusi Shehu Daneji, a novelist (Bankwana da Masoyi). These Hausa public intellectuals migrated into the visual arts and gave lyanTama Multimedia studio its distinct focus and sermonizing direction (Gashin Kumo, Failasa, Ha/ak, Bun, Hakuni, Wata Rana, Rashin Sani, Tsintsiya, Aisha, Dawayya I, Kin Gaskiya, Mara gaskiya, Alkawari etc).
The films released by the lyan-Tama Multimedia company were not only technically superior to their peers of the time, but also on a higher level when it came to their storylines. Centered principally around domestic dramas, and driven by a script— mainly written by Sunusi Shehu and Ahmad Salisu Al-Kanawy— which is sensitive to its religious and cultural public sphere, the films provide an ethnographic study of a typical Muslim Hausa household situations and the tensions that are resolved in the complexities of the relationships of such households. This does not mean, however, that they were stale and repetitive; for once in a while, the studio produces films that challenge the paradigms of domestic dramas as core focus of Hausa video film. Kin Gaskiya, for instance, was based on a court drama, and uses, for its stage, inside shots of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Abuja. The permission to use the actual court was based on the personal intervention of Chief Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais (Chief Justice from 1995-2006) who was captivated enough by lyan-Tama's earlier films and graciously gave permission for the film to be shot in the court — a unique and first time experience in Nigerian filmmaking.
Despite the recent troubles the company and its Chief Executive went through, he emerged more victorious and stronger than ever with a strong international backing 4 that sees international recognition from Canada and United States for lyan-Tama Multimedia as a credible focused African film production company.
Consequently, no history of popular culture in northern Nigeria would ever be complete without noting the following first from lyan-Tama Multimedia:

1. The first to create an independent modern sound music for commercial sale (Badakala) in 1996

2. The first to popularize the use of piano synthesizer in Hausa entertainment with the release of Sangaya soundtrack in 1999, thus creating an industry in 'modern' Hausa music.

3. The first to coin the term 'Kanywood' when Tauraruwa magazine under the editorship of Sunusi Shehu Daneji, a resident scriptwriter with the company in August 1999 issue of the magazine.

4. The first to produce meaningful films that appeal to all categories of viewers.

S. Despite pioneering music in Hausa video films, the first company to STOP using song and dance in its films

6. The first film to be sponsored by diplomatic initiative, Tsintsiya 2008, which is based on a reading of Westside Story, making it the first remake of an American film in a traditional African Muslim society.

7. The firsu Kanywood film production company to have its film (Tsintsiya) premiered at the Toronto International Film festival.

8. The first company with more national (including four from the Kano State government) and international awards, numbering up to 35.

9. The first Kanywood company to receive collaborative support from Canadian filmmakers targeted at taking the quality of production of already excellent filmmaking process at the company to the next level.

10.The First company to Produced Eight Audio Production Studios and Three Film Production Companies, Including SARARI MERCHANDISE AND CLASSIC FILM KANO.

11.The First company to celebrate Kannywood at 20th celebration event.

12.The first company to established social networking for Youth.Youth communicating changes for peace and daevelopement,Targeting yout Orieantation,awareness,complict resolution,and know law and

13.The first company that provides and creat morethan 10,000 jobs within among youth, dowan kano and Northern part of this country Nigeria.

14.The First company to be organising Youth annual event,{TOWN HALL YOUTH MEETING}. In order to promote peace and stability among Nigerians.

It is only right, therefore that today, we gather to celebrate the birth of Kanywood 20 years ago, as well as the immense contributions made by lyan-Tama Multimedia in the shaping of the character of that film industry. We are therefore here to celebrate our homecoming.