Manu Dibango in London, 2007
|Birth name||Emmanuel N'Djoké Dibango|
12 December 1933 |
Douala, French Cameroon
|Genres||African Rumba, afrofunk, afrobeat, jazz, makossa, traditional|
|Occupations||Saxophonist andvibraphone player|
Emmanuel "Manu" N'Djoké Dibango (born 12 December 1933) is a Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphone player. He developed a musical style fusing jazz, funk and traditional Cameroonian music. He is a member of the Yabassi ethnic group, though his mother was a Duala. He is best known for his 1972 single "Soul Makossa".
Dibango was born in Douala, Cameroon. His father, Michel Manfred N'Djoké Dibango was a civil servant. The son of a farmer, he met his wife travelling by pirogue to her residence, Douala. A literate woman, she was a fashion designer, running her own small business. Both her ethnicity, the Duala, and his, the Yabassi, viewed this union of different ethnic groups with some disdain. Emmanuel had no siblings, although he had a stepbrother from his father's previous marriage who was four years older than he was. In Cameroon, one's ethnicity is dictated by their fathers, though he wrote in his autobiography, Three Kilos of Coffee, that he has "never been able to identify completely with either of [his] parents."
Dibango's uncle was the leader of his extended family. Upon his death, Dibango's father refused to take over, as he never fully initiated his son into the Yabassi's customs. Throughout his childhood, Dibango slowly forgot the Yabassi language in favour of the Duala. However, his family did live in the Yabassi encampment on the Yabassi plateau, close to the Wouri River in central Douala. While a child, Dibango attended Protestant church every night for religious education, or nkouaida. He enjoyed studying music there, and reportedly was a fast learner.
In 1941, after being educated at his village school, Dibango was accepted into a colonial school, near his home, where he learned French. He admired the teacher, whom he described as "an extraordinary draftsman and painter." In 1944, French president Charles de Gaulle chose this school to perform the welcoming ceremonies upon his arrival in Cameroon.
He was a member of the seminal Congolese rumba group African Jazz, and has collaborated with many other musicians, including Fania All Stars, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Sunny Adé, Don Cherry, and Sly and Robbie. In 1998 he recorded the album CubAfrica with Cuban artist Eliades Ochoa.
The song "Soul Makossa" on the record of the same name contains the lyrics "makossa", which means "(I) dance" in his native tongue, the Cameroonian language, Duala). It has influenced several popular music hits, including Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", as well as his re-recording of that song with Akon, the Fugees' "Cowboys", and Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music". The 1982 parody song "Boogie in your butt" by comedian Eddie Murphy interpolates Soul Makossa's bassline and horn charts while "Butt Naked Booty Bless" by 1990s hip-hop group Poor Righteous Teachers heavily samples its musical bridge and drum patterns.
His song "Reggae Makossa" is featured on the soundtrack to the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours. In August 2009 he played the closing concert at the revived Brecon Jazz Festival. In July 2014 he made an 80th anniversary concert at Olympia, France which was broadcast by TV5Monde.
- Manu Dibango (1968)
- O Boso (1971) London/PolyGram Records
- Soma Loba (1972)
- Soul Makossa (1972) Fiesta Records (France), London Records (UK and Canada), Atlantic Records (US)
- Africadelic (1973)
- Makossa Man (1974) Atlantic Records released as Pêpê Soup on Decca Records
- Makossa Music (1975) Creole Records, licensed from Société Française du Son
- Countdown at Kusini O.S.T. (1975) D.S.T. Telecommunications, Inc.
- Manu 76 (1976) Decca/PolyGram Records
- Super Kumba (1976) Decca/PolyGram Records
- The World of Manu Dibango (1976) Decca Records
- Ceddo O.S.T (1977) Fiesta Records
- L'Herbe Sauvage O.S.T. (1977) Fiesta Records
- A l'Olympia (1978) Fiesta Records – a live double album
- Anniversaire Au Pays (1978) Fiesta Records
- Afrovision (1978) Mango/Island/PolyGram Records
- Sun Explosion (1978) Decca/PolyGram Records
- Le Prix De La Liberte (1978) Fiesta Records
- Big Blow (1978) Derby Records – re-issue of Afrovision with a track from L'Herbe Sauvage OST and the extended single version of the song Soul Makossa
- Gone Clear (1979) Mango/Island/PolyGram Records
- Home Made (1979) African Records
- Ambassador (1981) Mango/Island/PolyGram Records
- Waka Juju (1982) Polydor/PolyGram Records
- Mboa (1982) Sonodisc/Afrovision
- Soft And Sweet (1983) Garima Records
- Deliverance (1983) AfroVision Records
- Electric Africa (1985) Celluloid
- Afrijazzy (1986) Enemy Records
- Négropolitaines, Vol.1 (1989)
- Deliverance (1989) Afro Rhythmes
- Happy Feeling (1989) Stern's
- Rasta Souvenir (1989) Disque Esperance – a reissue of Gone Clear & Ambassador
- Polysonik (1992)
- Live '91 (1994) Stern's Music
- Wakafrika (1994) Giant/Warner Bros. Records
- Lamastabastani (1996) Musicrama
- African Soul – The Very Best Of (1997) Mercury
- CubAfrica (Cuarteto Patria with Eliades Ochoa) (1998)
- Mboa' Su – Kamer Feelin' (1999)
- From Africa (2003) Blue Moon
- Lion of Africa (2007) – live album including bonus DVD
- African Woodoo (2008) from tracks recorded between 1971 and 1975 for cinema, TV, and advertising.
- Choc'n'Soul (2010) features Sly and Robbie
- Past Present Future (2011) features "Soul Makossa 2.0" with vocals performed by Wayne Beckford
- Ballad Emotion (2011) (mostly jazz standards)
- Contributing artist
- Unwired: Acoustic Music from Around the World (1999) World Music Network
- The Rough Guide to African Disco (2013) World Music Network
- NYAMNJOH, FRANCIS B.; FOKWANG, JUDE (2005), ENTERTAINING REPRESSION:MUSIC AND POLITICS IN POSTCOLONIAL CAMEROON, African Affairs (Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society) 104 (415): 251–274, doi:10.1093/afraf/adi007.
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. xii
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. 1
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. 4
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. 2
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. 8
- Biography – Manu Dibango, Radio France Internationale, 2007, retrieved 9 September 2008
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. 5
- Dibango, Rouard & Raps 1994, p. 6
- Ernest Kanjo, "Cameroonian musicians seem to have lost their creative acumen in their endless battles over money", Post newsmagazine, Sept 2006 accessed at  5 April 2007
- Manu Dibango designated UNESCO Artist for Peace
- Dibango, Manu; Rouard, Danielle; Raps, Beth G (1994), Three Kilos of Coffee: An Autobiography, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-14491-7, OCLC 29519086
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