||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)|
|Birth name||Muntu Valdo|
|Genres||Blues, bossa nova, jazz, afro-cuban, soul, funk|
|Occupation(s)||Guitarist, Singer, multi-instrumentalist, Composer|
|Instruments||Guitar, harmonica, vocals,|
Muntu Valdo, (b. 1977), is a Jazz guitarist, harmonica player and singer from Doula, Cameroon. He has performed on-stage with Ali Farka Toure, Manu Dibango, Richard Bona, Lokua Kanza, Eko Roosevelt, Lionel & Stephane Belmondo, Keziah Jones, and Alpha Blondy, and has played at Womad music festivals.
Childhood and education
Valdo, the eldest of four brothers, is from the Sawa community of Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea coast; his father from the small village of Dibombari near Douala, and his mother from the Malimba Islands. When 8 years old he began playing on a guitar made from plasterboard and fishing wire, and at 15, started writing music, developing a particular musical style called Sawa Blues.
In the early 1990s, Valdo studied Law at the University of Yaoundé. While at university, he was injured and bed-ridden during student demonstrations; part of a political upheaval in Cameroon. On leaving hospital he returned to his parents in Douala, where he occasionally offered tuition to children. His parents had forbidden him to return to Yaoundé, so he began university studies at Douala in Linguistics and History, particularly that of Africa and Ancient Egypt. These studies influenced his decision to pursue a musical career, as did the musician Eko Roosevelt who, with Valdo, performed with the university's orchestra. He later joined Roosevelt's band as a guitarist; this was Valdo's first experience as a professional musician.
After three years playing with Eko Roosevelt's band, Valdo formed his own group, the Muntu Band, later named Mulema (the heart), and began recording, and performing in concerts. In 2000, Corporation Francaise[clarification needed] organized a national tour in which Valdo performed in 10 Cameroon cities. The same year, Cameroon sound engineer Gilbert Moodio played a recording of a Valdo concert to a French producer; after an audition, Valdo was encouraged to move to France.
On moving to Paris, Valdo lived in Belleville, associated with young musicians, and played in jam sessions and concerts in the bars of Rue Oberkampf and Place Chatelet, either solo or with his group. He also played with Manu Dibango, Alpha Blondy, Ali Farka Touré, Lokua Kanza, Cheick Tidianne Seck, Tony Allen, Rido Bayonne, Etienne Mbappe, Stephane & Lionel Belmondo and Richard Bona.
Valdo released his first album “Gods and Devils – Moiye Na Muititi”, in 2005. Following its release, he toured Africa, Europe and Asia, playing festivals and concert halls including the Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), New Morning (Paris), Womad (Carceres, Charlton Park and Singapore), the Théâtre de la Petite Reine (Tbilisi), The Sage (Newcastle), Festival Plein Sud & Festival Africolor (France), and Fespam (Republic of the Congo).
In 2008, Valdo moved to live and work in London, and in 2010, he was the support act for Ladysmith Black Mambazo's UK tour.
- 2004: compilation Auto-prod Jazz produced by LA FNAC (paris)
- 2005: Gods and Devils Produced by Muntu Valdo