Gambian mbalax legend Mam Tamsir Njie dies

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Gambian music legend and cultural icon Mam Tamsir Njie has died. He was 64. The news was confirmed by the Musicians Union of the Gambia (MUSIGAM) on 10 February.

“It’s with profound sadness that I announce on behalf of the executive of the musicians union of the passing of Mr Mam Tamsir Njie,” a statement signed by MUSIGAM assistant general secretary Lamin Jammeh reads. “We extend our condolences to the family and the entire Gambian music fraternity in this sorrowful moment.”

The cause of death of the mbalax star, who died on Wednesday morning, is currently unconfirmed.

A teacher-turned-musician who was a lifelong advocate for the education of girls, Njie was also a former senior education officer at Gambia’s Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. He began singing in the early 1960s during his days as a student and maintained a ubiquitous presence in the local music scene in the 1990s, touring internationally on a regular basis.

Njie released many albums and was the recipient of various awards. He was given an award in 2010 by then president Yahya Jammeh during the fifth Kanilai International Cultural Festival for his role in promoting Gambian music and culture.

Until his death, Njie was also the host of the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources’ weekly forum on GRTS TV.

The news of Njie’s death has been met with an outpouring of condolences from GRTV, the music fraternity and the general public.

“The Gambia has lost a great musician,” the Gambia Association of Music Producers and Promoters said. “Mam Tamsir Njie was an educator and an artist who contributed immensely to the development of arts and culture in the Gambia for decades.”

“Gambian music lost a great legend today [Wednesday],” broadcaster DJ Gah said. “Mam Tamsir Njie music lives on.”

“Mam was a talented artist,” Gambian Talents Promotion said on Facebook. “He wrote and produced several songs addressing different subject matters such as women empowerment, the importance of education, etc. He will indeed be missed.”

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