Nandos the Dagbandoo: A Blend of Tradition and the Contemporary

Music is an integral part of everyday Ghanaian life. In recent times, there has been a musical and overall artistic explosion in the Northern Region with artistes like Fancy Gadam and Maccasio making news headlines on a regular basis. In this article, we introduce you to one of the most talented artistes in the Northern Region whose music brings a contemporary twist to griot culture indigenous to Dagbang; Nandos the Dagbandoo.

On Fiila fm’s Real Talk segment of the Daybreak Tamale morning show with Akosua Kwartemaa Boakye on Friday June 23, 2017, Nandos shared his musical journey and creative process with his fans in Tamale and beyond.

Laminu Abdul-Hanan popularly known as Nandos the Dagbandoo in the northern music industry started his education in Yendi, the traditional capital of the Dagbang Kingdom. He proceeded to the Tamale Institute of Business Studies (TIBS) where his professional music career started when he eventually met his Tamale based cousin, Arisky of Zola Music who also happened to be in the music industry.  The Real Rap King revealed “my cousin Arisky inspired me a lot. He gave me instrumentals to start with and kept on pushing and telling me to rehearse, Arisky knew more about studio works. I was a person who had never been to the studio. I used to write my songs but I had never been to the studio”.

Talking about his collaborations so far, Nandos has collaborated with big names in the northern music industry like Arisky, Stone B, Maccasio, Moe Kid, One Naira and the winner of the 2017 Vodafone Ghana Music Award (VGMA) Best New Artiste Award, Fancy Gadam. Internationally and locally, Nandos looks up to Kendrick Lamar and Sarkodie respectively. He also wishes to collaborate with them including Mugeez of R2bees as he targets nationwide popularity in the not too distant future.

Greatly loved by his fans, both the young and old, Nandos’ use of indigenous Dagbang lyrics of historical importance invites people from all walks of life to participate in the celebration and acknowledgment of Dagbang culture and tradition. The Dagbandoo can be accurately described as a modern day griot who comfortably navigates the contemporary by playing the role of custodian of tradition through rap music. When asked how he arrives at such lyrics, he disclosed, “I don’t sleep, I do a lot of research about Dagbang. I named myself the Dagbang rapper and when you claim to be something, you got to be it. It’s not easy but you have to work hard.”

Nandos explained his move from Zola to Real Rap by saying that, “Zola is just a hood where we all sit together, not my record label. Decision making between my hood and my record label wasn’t going on well so I had to choose and I went for my record label which is Real Rap Movement. My management had to put a stop to me using my hood’s name in my music.”

Discussing the challenges in the music industry, he admitted that there are many hurdles, pointing out financial challenges as the bane of the industry.

Nandos told fans to expect mad works from him and promised them he’ll stick to his culture and uphold the dignity of Dagbang. Nandos concluded by urging music lovers to identify and support real talent.


Lukman Mahami Adams is a student of Social Change Communication at the University for Development Studies, Nyankpala.


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