Sam Fan Thomas

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Sam Fan Thomas
Born1952 (age 66–67)
Bafoussam, Cameroon

Sam Fan Thomas (born 1952, Bafoussam) is a Cameroonian musician associated with Makossa. He began in the late 1960s and had his first hit with Rikiatou. His African Typic Collection was 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 launched his solo career.[2]


He started his musical career in 1968 when he joined The Black Tigers, led by Andre Marie Tala. He stayed with Tala for eight years, recording several singles.The band also recorded in Paris and toured Senegal and other African countries. During this period Tala developed his Tchamassi rhythm, a modern music style based on Bamilike folklore.

In 1976, Sam's first solo LP was Funky New Bell, recorded in Benin on the Satel label. A second LP, on the same label, followed in 1977. On this album Sam was supported by the Black Santiagos from Benin. His third release came in 1982 in Nigeria, with the hit song "Rikiatou", which established his reputation in Cameroon. In 1983 Thomas travelled to Paris to record Makassi. Makassi is the name of Sam's own music style, a type of uptempo Makossa 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 built around the melody of the classic Franco song "Boma l'heure" and became an international dance floor hit, with sales across 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 matching his greatest hit. In 1986 he came with two albums, Funk Makassi and Makassi Plus. The latter became a hit. Together with "African Typic Collection", two tracks off Makassi Plus were released in 1987 on a compilation by the British Earthworks record label. Makassi Plus was followed in 1988 by Makassi Again that was distributed internationally by the Celluloid record label. Thomas also toured with his band MBC (Makassi Band Corporation) in West and East Africa, Europe and the Americas.

From the early 90's Thomas changed his focus from recording his own material, to promotion and guiding new talented Cameroonian singers and musicians. He gathered talented musicians, including the late Kotto Bass, Ebelle Jeannot, K.Godefroy, Fabo Claude, Guy Bilong and Tala Jeannot, at Makassi Plus Studio in Douala. He released a string of records from various artists during the 90's. Thomas released new material in 1993's Emotion and 1999's No Satisfaction. None of these CD's brought him the success of his earlier work.

He performed successful shows in Nairobi (2007), the US (2009) and Abidjan (2010).

Famous for a genre of music that captivated several parts of Africa to mention Kenya, Uganda, Congo. The music followed the unique but familiar flow of Bantu lingo that encompasses most of Africa. A true African musical legend


Selected albums[edit]

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