"Lapiro de Mbanga Ndinga Man e mandat don bolè today for Etaz! Erreur or no erreur die na ndos! Waka nayo Ndinga man. We go di follow ya 4 chapters di listen ya mutumbu until we own mandat bolè. We go di mimba you tara! All man must go one day ... RIP." Sarli Sardou Nana.
Singer and musician Lapiro de Mbanga from Cameroon – the “unceremonial sheriff of the backyards” – has died, 56 years old.
Lapiro de Mbanga was a musical “freedom fighter” who articulated the daily injustices he witnessed in his songs – and was punished hard for his right to express them.
On 16 March 2014, Lapiro de Mbanga died of cancer in USA, the country which gave him asylum in 2012 at a time when he had to leave Cameroon under dramatic circumstances.
“Authorities in Cameroon continued to harass and threaten Lapiro even after he was released. He needed to get out of the country, and we needed to find an urgent solution,” told Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. With the help of Freedom Now, Lapiro was given refugee asylum in the United States.
“Lapiro said that Freemuse ‘saved his life’. He often told us that he ‘was ready to die’, but we never felt we were ready to loose him,” said Ole Reitov. “His songs will never die. He will always be remembered as ‘the people’s voice’ against corruption and power abuse.”
Who was the founder of Black Styl, the greatest Makossa group of all time; Emil Kangue or Nkotti Francois? How did Makossa maestro Ben Decca look and sound like when he released Nyonga Mulema, his debut 12 inch 45 rpm maxi single, back in 1981? The cover of the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed "Black Styl à Paris" album (1978)
Can you still remember the cover of Mbemba' Iyo, the 1980 album that confirmed Dina Bell as a bona fide Makossa star, and which included classics such as Nginya Mulema and Nyuwe?
During a tour of Cameroon in 1975, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, met Tala Andre Marie, a budding Cameroonian blind singer and guitarist who had just released a funk number titled Hot Koki. Tala gave him a copy of the record "to give him an insight into the kind of music being made in Cameroon". According to the Boston Globe, “Two years later, Brown dropped “Hustle!!!’’ – with the same melody, beat, and arrangements, only with English lyrics.” Tala and his music label, Fiesta Records, gathered a team of lawyers who filed a law suit in the United States. After a drawn out battle that lasted four years, an American court concluded that James Brown had indeed used Tala’s song without authorization. Tala says there was very little financial fallout from the case, with the bulk of the money going to the lawyers. Tala nonetheless contends that it was a huge moral victory and good PR.
Composed in 1960 by Joseph Kabasele Tshamala (Grand Kalle), the father of Congolese music, Independance Cha cha, became the anthem of not only the nationalist movement in the Belgian Congo, but also the newly independent states of Africa. The song was was first played at the Hotel Plaza in Brussels on January 27 1960 during the round table talks that set the date for Congolose independence.
Today we can opnly look back wistfully and that golden age of buoyant optimism and hope of a better future for Africa...
Indépendance cha cha tozui e Oh! Kimpuanza cha cha tubakidi Oh! Table Ronde cha cha ba gagné o Oh! Dipanda cha cha tozui e
(Independence cha cha, we've won it Oh! Independence cha cha, we've achieved it Oh! The round table cha cha, we've pulled it off Oh! Independence cha cha, we've won it)
For two decades, she was known as Josephine Bongo, the revered First Lady of the Republic of Gabon. Then in 1986, she and President Omar Bongo divorced. Josephine moved to Los Angeles and reinvented herself as a musician under the name Patience Dabany, collaborating along the way with the likes of Quincy Jones and James Brown.
Here is the former First Lady and mother of Ali Bongo, Omar's heir apparent, singing "C'est pour la vie”, one of her most popular songs which is a throwback to the golden era of Zairo-Congolese music of Pongo Love, Mbilia Bell, Abeti Masikini and others.