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Tune In: Barhama Cham

My Magazine 2023/08
10 min
Ebrima Cham, popularly known as Barhama Cham, is amongst The Gambia's finest singers. He is a singer, a songwriter, an instrumentalist, an actor and an activist who has spent much of his life making music whilst using his diverse talents to entertain, educate and spread information and awareness.

Barhama is 30 and was born in Sanchaba Sulyjobe, The Gambia. Since he was little, Barhama had a passion for singing, which came to light when he was just 13 years old. However, his family did not encourage this as they wanted him to concentrate on schooling. He put his passion for music on the back burner, and when he turned 16, he began writing and recording songs on the side, although his primary focus was his studies. Honouring his parents' wish, he continued to study, and after graduating from Nusrat Senior Secondary School, he then went on to do a course in Travel and Tourism.

Barhama had a special love for music but had never considered it a full-time job. He began his musical career in 2013 after much motivation and encouragement from the people around him. He became the lead vocalist of a household musical group, the Kerr Gi Family, where he began his musical journey.

Barhama is amongst the musicians who shaped The Gambian music by introducing diverse cultures in his productions. He mixed local and international instruments to create entertainment for his audience in The Gambia and beyond.

The young artist is known for his humble and peaceful nature. His love for peace is evident in his behaviour and can be heard in every song he sings. This helped him to earn the title of Ambassador of The Peace HUB Gambia Association. According to Barhama, ˝I was born and raised in a peaceful family. Being peaceful is easier than being angry and violent.˝

Barhama does not only sing to entertain but also uses music to create awareness on crucial matters, significantly changing people's lives. This includes but is not limited to songs and performances about Female Genital Mutilation, Gender-Based Violence, Peace and Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Employment, etc.

In June 2019, he represented The Gambia at the UNFPA Summit in Dakar, Senegal, which was held for the protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of women. The same year, he went on his first European tour, where his golden voice and great performances brought him into the international limelight, attracting new fans, well-wishers and labels.

After over half a decade of perfecting his talent and making a place for himself in the Gambian music industry, Barhama finally launched his first solo album called "I am Barhama", which means "I am the Bringer of Peace" on October 13, 2021, at Qcity. The album intended to use music to spread peace and show the world that The Smiling Coast of Africa is all about Peace, Love and Unity. His concert was a smashing success, with a turnout of around 8,000-10,000 people. Encouraged by the response he received from his fans, Barhama decided to embark on a countrywide tour to promote peace through his album called I am Barhama. It was his first solo concert featuring prominent figures in the Gambian music industry.

As per Berhama, "This was a night where we used music to entertain, educate and advocate for peace.˝

In 2019 he went on his first European tour, where he performed in Sweden at the Selam Festival and also in Germany and Italy.

In 2022 Barhama was selected to represent The Gambia at a musical festival in Kazan, Russia. The same year, he was chosen to be the National Brand Ambassador of SOS Childrens Village in The Gambia, and he continues to hold this important position.

In April 2023, Barhama launched an event with his sister Mariama Cham called The Classic. The theme of this event was to revive Gambian culture and to remind young people about the importance of embracing our culture. The event also highlighted respect for elders in our society and encouraged people to use their voices to fight violence against women and promote women's empowerment and all the beautiful sounds that The Gambia has to offer to the world.

Barhama's vocal power allows him to amaze crowds in live performances, making him one of the country's finest live performers. He won the award for the Best Afro-Fusion Group in 2016. He sings solo and with groups and can sing with or without instruments.

Some of his biggest hits are ˝Aljannah˝, ˝Jongoma˝, "Enjoy", and "Kaano", and ˝Na Mansa Musso˝Just to name a few. Barhama's music career continues to rise today, putting him amongst the top artists in The Gambia.

Barhama's message is, "Let's celebrate peace, sing for peace and dance for peace. Together we can create a better world.˝

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