Ibrahim Yamu Baba, popularly known as Yamu Baba or Angon Sambisa is a Kannywood actor, musician and dancer who has risen to popularity since he featured in Liyaliya’s famous music video Sambisa. In this interview, the Jos-born artist said he hopes to succeed in the industry and open a foundation to help the less privileged.
HHow did you get the name Yamu Baba?
My real name is Ibrahim Yamu Baba. My parents are from Biu, Borno State. My father was a civil servant, so he was posted to Jos, where I was born and raised. It was at Jos that I entered Kannywood.
On how I received the name Yamu, a man called Lawal in the area where I lived in Jos called me Gangare, because I am fair-skinned. Growing up, the name evolved into Yamu Baba.
When did you start your career in Kannywood?
I think I have 20 years in the industry. I have acted in many films and appeared in music videos.
Despite all these years, people didn’t know each other until after Sambisa’s clip, why?
I have been featured in many other music videos which are also hits. Like ‘Suwaiti’ and ‘Kauna’ and many others which are also popular. You know, in everything you do, there is a specific moment for your activities to be highlighted. So I think mine is Sambisa’s music video. I became very popular after the first episode of the series. It was like a miracle. I thank God.
After Sambisa, you also starred in another hit clip “Jarumai”. Do you like acting in music videos more than in movies?
Jarumai is another music video in which we featured. The music, just like Sambisa written and recorded by Sani Liyaliya, is written and recorded by a certain Nakabala and Adamu. They only invited us to appear in the video because they believe in our ability to achieve what they want.
We also made other music videos such as ‘Mai corona’, ‘Matar soy’ ‘Mai ciki’ and many more which are also popular.
You started with movies before music; can you tell us in which films you have acted?
I have acted in many films. Among my films, the most popular are ‘Rabin Raina’, ‘Bakin Mulki’, ‘Ana Musulim’, ‘Gaushi’, ‘Sarkakiya’ and many others too huge to mention.
Of the music videos you’ve been in, which is your favorite?
I don’t think I can pick one. I love them all. Maybe my fans will choose for me. My ambition is to always entertain my fans and give them what they want and enjoy.
Do you also sing, or do you only appear in other people’s songs?
I am also a musician. I compose and sing songs at wedding ceremonies, for politics, etc.
So I do all kinds of music except maybe movie songs that I’ve never done before. But I’m more into comic music. People knew me more as a musician long before they started seeing me play.
I listen to all genres, and to God be the glory, I can sing any type of music.
But I focus more on themes around politics through comedy, so I can make my own contribution to raising awareness about politics and governance.
I also appear in other people’s music because I am an actor. So, as an actor, I can be in any music video if asked.
Between music and cinema, what are you most comfortable with?
I am comfortable doing both. But I can say that music and music videos make me more money now. I’m not saying that the cinema does not bring me money, if I say so, I will be lying. Cinema was the base, and it brought me money and fame. But currently, music brings me more money, especially with the release of the clip ‘Sambisa’. We got over a million views in a very short time, and since then all the videos we make get lots of views and positive comments.
What are your role models?
To be honest with you, I don’t have a role model in music because I learned music by trial and error. I started to learn because I spent a lot of time in the studio, watching what the musicians were doing. I started to develop interest, and I started to practice it, and that way I learned it.
But in the movies, I have Ali Nuhu as a role model. I love him and I love everything he does in the industry.
Can you share your success story so far since joining the industry?
I thank God for the successes achieved so far. I received a lot of recognition, awards from many organizations including Itel. And because of this industry, I now own a lot of worldly things. Looking at how I got into the industry and what I’ve achieved so far, I can only thank God. I rarely wander freely in any state in northern Nigeria without being recognized. That alone is a great achievement that someone should be happy about.
What’s next for you?
My next goal is to be more popular and famous. I want to be more famous because I have the ambition to create a foundation that will meet the needs of the less privileged and the most vulnerable.
I’m happy whenever I see happy people thanks to me. So my next big goal in life is to help make life easier for people with the money I get from movies.
Tell us about the Sambisa clip that made you popular?
It shows me asking a woman (Zainab Sambisa) to marry me. After much persecution, she later agreed that she would marry me, but the wedding would take place in the Sambisa forest where she said she was from.
Hearing this, I started giving her excuses such as I have three wives and I used to beat women and so on, but she persisted saying she would marry me anyway. It was a comedy in musical format.
I played and sang for a long time, but this ‘Sambisa’ video made me more popular. People now call me Angon Sambisa more than Yamu.
Isiyaku Muhammed is a researcher, blogger and multimedia journalist certified by the Press Association of London.