Bagui Bouga, co-founder of Etran Finatawa, died 2 August in Switzerland after a heavy attack of asthma.
Bagui co-founded Etran Finatawa to bring together his nomadic Wodaabe heritage and musical culture together with the other nomadic people of Niger, the Touareg. Bringing his distinctive Wodaabe polyphonic singing and mesmerizing percussion together with the Touareg ichumar guitar style, Bagui was central to Etran Finatawa's vision of a fusion of desert nomadic styles.
Striking in his traditional Wodaabe colourful dress, yellow face paint and ostrich feather, Bagui was an unforgettable presence in live performances. As well as being a musical innovator, he was also a nomad philosopher, bringing his reflections on the nature of the Wodaabe way of life into his songwriting for Etran Finatawa.
Etran Finatawa have issued the following statement:
We have no words for our pain and sadness! We send all our compassion to his family, his wife and his children.
Bagui has been a philosopher, a nomad. He knew so well his culture and he enjoyed sharing his knowledge of his cultural heritage with many people.
We will miss him for his music, for his art, his inspiration, intellectual exchange. His capacities, his compassion, his sensitivity were unique.
He left us too early. Hopefully “gaynako”, our herdsman will find there we he wanders to plenty of rain and nice and green pastureland with plenty of cows and peace for his soul!