Sam Fan Thomas

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Sam Fan Thomas is a Cameroonian musician associated with Makossa. He began in the late 1960s and had his first hit with Rikiatou. His African Typic Collection would be an international hit in 1984 and is perhaps his best known album.[1] Thomas began his career in the early 1970s as a guitarist in the Cameroonian band Tigres Noires. He stayed with that band until 1976, when he decided to launch a solo career.[2]

Sam Fan Thomas was born in 1952 and hails from Bafoussam, the capital of the West Province of Cameroon. The city is also the cultural and economical centre of the Bamilike people. He started his musical career in 1968 when he joined The Black Tigers led by Andre Marie Tala. He stayed with Tala for the next eight years, recording several singles.The band also recorded in Paris and toured Senegal and other African countries. It was during this period that Tala developed his Tchamassi rhythm, a modern music style based on Bamilike folklore. Then in 1976, Sam left to pursue a solo career recording his first solo LP Funky New Bell, in Benin on the Satel label. A second LP, also on the Satel label followed in 1977. On this album Sam was supported by the Black Santiagos from Benin. It was his third release recorded in 1982 in Nigeria, with the hit song Rikiatou, which finally established his reputation in Cameroon. In 1983 Sam Fan Thomas travelled to Paris to record the album Makassi. Makassi is the name of Sam's own music style, a type of uptempo Makossa with blended with a touch of Andre Marie Tala's Tchamassi and other Bamilike influences. The album contained the hit song African Typic Collection. This song builded around the melody of the classic Franco song Boma l'heure became a massive international dance floor hit, with amazing sales all over Africa, France and the West Indies where it was also released as a 12 inch single.Makassi brought Sam a Golden Disc in 1984 and was followed by his fifth album Neng Makassi in 1985. The album retained the sophisticated production of Makassi, without reaching the heights of his greatest hit. In 1986 he came with two albums, Funk Makassi and Makassi plus of which the last one became a big hit.Together with African Typic Collection, two tracks of the Makassi plus album were released in 1987 on a compilation by the British Earthworks record label.Makassi plus was followed in 1988 by the also successful Makassi again that was distributed international by the Celluloid record label. As a result of his successful recordings Sam also toured intensively with his band MBC (Makassi Band Corporation) in West and East Africa, Europe and the America's, to play his hit songs live for his many fans all over the world. from the early 90's Sam Fan Thomas changed his focus from recording his own material, to promotion and guiding of new talented Cameroonian singers and musicians. He gathered a bunch of talented musicians - among who the late Kotto Bass, Ebelle Jeannot, K.Godefroy, Fabo Claude, Guy Bilong and Tala Jeannot - in his own Makassi Plus Studio in Douala and released a string of records from various artists during the 90's. Since the early 90's Sam Fan Thomas released new material on CD in 1993 Emotion and in 1999 No satisfaction. non of these CD's brought him the success of his earlier work. Nevertheless he is internationally seen, still one of the most well known and popular musicians from Cameroon. In recent years he has given successful shows in Nairobi (2007), the US (2009) and Abidjan (2010)

Discography[edit]

Albums (incomplete list):

  • Makassi(1984)
  • Makassi Again (1988)
  • Si tcha (1991)
  • Best of Sam Fan Thomas (1995)
  • No Satisfaction (1999)

References[edit]