Bébé Manga

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Bébé Manga
BebeManga1980s.jpg
Background information
Birth name Elizabeth Bessem Ayamo Manga
Born (1948-11-27)27 November 1948
Mamfe, Manyu Division, Cameroon
Died 1 July 2011(2011-07-01) (aged 62)
Douala, Cameroon
Genres Makossa
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1975-2011
Associated acts Ebanda Manfred, Manu Dibango, Tom Yoms

Elizabeth Bessem Ayamo Manga (27 November 1948 – 1 July 2011), also known as Bébé Manga, was a Cameroonian makossa singer whose best-known song is "Ami O". She is considered one of the most popular makossa singers of the 1980s.[1]

Early life[edit]

She was born In Mamfe, Manyu Division the South West Region. Bebe Manga was lauded by the journalists in Ivory Coast because of her distinctive and expressive voice.

Early career[edit]

She started her career in 1975, singing in a night club in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire called "Son de Guitare" (Sound of a guitar). Her friends impressed on the manager of the club that Bebe Manga had a good voice and could sing. After singing quizas quizas, the manager of the club, lost in admiration for the talented singer hired her on the spot there and then, so began her professional career. From that point on, it was a roller coaster ride. Manga has performed extensively in Africa: Gabon, Senegal, Mali, Zaire, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Benin, Morocco etc. In the Caribbean Islands (Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique), Colombia, USA, France. [2][3]

Rise to Fame[edit]

Bebe Manga rose to stardom and international fame in 1980 when she replayed Ebanda Manfred’s 1962 radio hit, “Amie” (meaning “friend” in French). Bebe Manga’s version known as “Amio” earned her the prestigious “Maracas D’or” award from SACEM, and a firm place in history as one of Cameroon’s greatest voices who has been an inspiration to a new crop of female stars such as Ruth Kotto and Jackie Biho. Most notably, Bebe Manga transformed Ebanda Manfred’s little-known Radio Douala recording into a worldwide hit that has attained cult status similar to Pete Seeger’s Guantaramera, that other iconic song replayed by artists as diverse as Joe dassin and Wyclef Jean.

Later, at the end of the 1990s, she put another world-class song, "Mota Benamaa", deploring the situation of children suffering around the world. Her talents were celebrated at the Top D'Or 2005 in Abidjan, as she was voted one of the best African artists of all time.[4]

She is featured on Manu Dibango's "Manu Safari" album,[5] and partnered with other talented artists like Tom Yoms on several hits. Some of her other songs, (some of which) now feature in an online "BEST OF BEBE MANGA" COMPILATION, are: Aloba, Bele Sombo, Djiya kamba, Alice Agbor, Esele mba, Jemea longo, Muna Muto, Eyiegele Ding and Zipte Men.[6]

Death[edit]

On 1 July 2011 Bébé Manga died on the way to hospital after suffering a heart attack at her home in Douala. She was 62.[7][8] She was buried on 30 July 2011 in her family compound in Tinto, Upper Bayang sub-division of Manyu Division, Cameroon.

Legacy[edit]

In the last two decades, Amio has been replayed dozens of times and in different languages by musicians in Europe, The Caribbean, Latin and North America, and Africa, among them André Astasié, Henri Salvador, star of the French song in 1982, Manu Dibango in 1993, Monique Seka, Nayanka Bell, Fred Paul, Passi and Bisso na Biso in 2000, Papa Wemba and Angelique Kidjo, Jacky Biho, Naima, along with African Connection with Denise and Bloco in 2004 (Summer Hit in France and Gold Plate Record) are among those prestigious artist who played, adapted and interpreted this Hit single and Bébé Manga again (in English).[9]

Discography[edit]

Albums
  • Ami-Oyomiya (1982)
  • Beko (1982)
  • Djoudjou Dada (1982)
  • Temps Futur (2000)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Music of Cameroon January 2007, Peuplesawa.com
  2. ^ Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham & Richard Trillo: World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Rough Guides, 1999. ISBN 1-85828-635-2
  3. ^ BBC, July 2007: Brenda Fassie dies
  4. ^ Meet Bebe Manga The Woman Who’s Married To Music Post News line, 11 August 2005
  5. ^ RFI Musique, 17 December 1998: Happy Birthday Manu!
  6. ^ LATE MS ELIZABETH BESSEM MANGA, SINGER, MUSICIAN, DIVA!, 2014: Sakers Pride
  7. ^ Bonaberi.com, July 2, 2011: La chanteuse camerounaise Bebey Manga est décédée
  8. ^ Top Medias, July 2, 20100: Bébé Manga est morte d'un arrêt cardiaque
  9. ^ last-memories.com, July 2, 2011: Bébé Manga Memorial Website

External links[edit]