maandag 24 juni 2019


Born March 4, 1974 in Douala, Cameroon, Francois Victor Njoh a.k.a. Njohreur  (Mba-Nu Tiger) began in music when he joined the Music Club at Bonabéri High School, where in 1984 he was awarded the prize for "Best School Singer" by Joe Mboulé, the great Cameroon star of the moment. Two years later, he is director of the high school orchestra, a function that will occupy during 3 years. Convinced of his talent, Njohreur decided to make music his job. Thus begins the artistic adventure of the young Francis Victor Njoh. He starts performing in the cabarets from Douala by covering the repertoires of the most famous artists of the time, such as Eboa Lotin, Douleur, Guy Lobé and Hoigen Ekwalla, to mention a few.

In 1994, Petit Pays called on him to join his group, Les Sans Visas as chorist and animateur. Together with Jojo Moussio and Samy Diko he forms a trio called The Dignitaries. With Petit Pays they record Korta (Les dignitaries) a cd of which thousands were sold in French West Africa. This success led to many concerts across Africa and a national tour in Cameroon. The same year, the band won the Best African Group award at the Consty Eka Awards in Libreville, Gabon.

In 1996 Njohreur was invited by Kotto Bass to participate in the Cameroon Stars 2000 album which was released by Aladji Toure. On this album several promising Makossa vocalists covered classics from artists such as J.R.Nelson, Moni Bile, Pierre Didy Tchakounte and Pierre de Moussy. In this year Njohreur also left Les Dignitaries to form a duo with his fellow singer Sergeo Polo. The new duo creates a new dance craze with their Makossa-Zingue style, which combines Makossa with the popular Congolese Ndombolo. Due to  this success their album Le mari d'autrie is chosen as the best Makossa record of 1997 and the duo itself as the revelation of 1997. The cooperation with Sergeo Polo didn't last long, but in 1998 Njohreur continued his success with the acclaimed first solo album Ka-Byla: Zingue came no go.


 After Ka Byla he releases new albums - always at intervals of a few years - that are doing well: Mbukutu (2001), Harmattan (2003), Mulemba (2007), Statut pas 2 (2009) and Ça donne (2013).
In 2014 Njohreur launches The 12th Player, a musical project to gain maximum support for The Indomitable Lions, who have qualified successful for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. The campaign comprises of a jersey (green and yellow) sold at CFA 5000 and an audio maxi single with three different versions. Several musicians collaborated in the compositions under the patronage of Petit Pays. “The 12th player” refers to Cameroonians of all works of life. We should come out in our numbers to support the Lions, irrespective of our origins. Let us wipe out the spirit of division among supporters, because some players are encouraged while others are usually neglected,” Njohreur explained. After this project Njohreur continued to work on his new album and in december 2014 he launched the titletrack of his forthcoming album Les complexés.




dinsdag 19 maart 2019

Ruth Kotto

Born in Douala, Ruth Kotto was trained as a stylist-modelist. She hails from a family of musicians, was attracted by dance from an early age and started her first dance group  at Cetif College in Akwa Douala. her desire to make music herself grows when she sees the success of her elder brother Kotto Bass as singer and musician.

Without following the usual path through school  concerts, choirs or cabarets as is often the case, the young Ruth makes her debut in the recording studios of Douala ans lends her voice as background singer to many cameroonian artists such as Ekambi Brillant, Bebe Manga, Kotto Bass, Sam Fan Thomas, as well as to African artists such as Monique Seka, Tshala Muana to name but a few.

from 1994 to 1996 she was part of 'The MBC' - The Makassi Band Corporation - the band of Sam Fan Thomas, led by her brother Kotto Bass. This cooperation came to an end when her beloved older brother died unexpectedly.

1996 was also the year in which Ruth Kotto made her debut as soloist in a duet with singer Joly Priso. This duet, a rendition of J.R. Nelson's song L'in attentendu ratatouille was the opening song of the CD Cameroon Stars 2000 a production by Aladji Toure in which a number of young, promising singers such as Joly Priso, Njohreur, Franck Chaleur and... Ruth, performed songs by - among others - J.R. Nelson, Pierre de Moussy and Moni Bile.

L’inattendu ratatouille

Ruth's warm and sweet voice seduced the music lovers in Cameroon and in 1997 the promising singer was chosen as the best female backing vocalist by the CRTC (Cameroon Radio & Television).

In 1998 she settled in France where her career soon took off. She worked with several artists from Cameroon and beyond as background vocalist, but made her fame with her contributions to the various Le Testament du Makossa volumes, revisiting the 'Golden Age' of makossa.

Once in Paris, she is soon invited by Manu Dibango to record a duet for his 2001 album Kamer Feeling (track 1 Bolingo City).

 In 2003 it's finally time for Ruth Kotto to release her first solo album entitled   'Dame de Coeur'.

She says the following about the choice for this title in an interview with

(...) I decided to give the title 'Dame de Coeur' to this album to express all the feelings that animated me at some point or other of its realization. The album as a whole is only a sum of messages, joys, fears and apprehensions that I wanted to share with music lovers. So I realized that I had a lot to give, a lot of massages to share that we had to find a title that could be a sort of summary of all the feelings that I feel through the twelve titles that make up the album. Moreover, as a woman, I could not remain long insensitive to the problems that women encounter in their daily lives. So I seized the opportunity here to express my solidarity to all these battered women in their homes, to all those single women to suffer the wordt attrocities. I offer them my heart. That's the only thing I could do for the moment (...).

In addition, the title Dame de Coeur also refers to a kind of rose that bears this name. The album was quite successful, and she has a few hits, notably Ton Pied Mon Pied.


The years after that, it becomes quiet around Ruth, family life must have kept her busy, she gave birth to two children. But in 2009 she is back with the single Nyambé in which she tells a beautiful story about the lonelyness that can prevail in some people in difficult moments of life.

That same year there is also a successful tour to China on the side of colleague singer Prince Ndedi Eyango.


Once back in Paris she starts to work on songs for a new album. entitled Bonam which she finally released herself in 2013. Bonam, which is produced by Toto Guillaume contains eight songs in various styles from jazz and bossa to rumba and pure makossa. One of the songs Folo-Folo is a reprise of one of her brother Kotto Bass his big successes. With this album, Ruth Kotto remains true to the high quality of her debut album and proves that she is among the top of Cameroon female vocalists. After the album Bonam she released several singles with which she scored hits such who became hits, such as in 2016 with  Nyong'a Muto and recently with O Makossa.


woensdag 4 april 2018

Jacky Doumbe (Kape)

Jacky Doumbe (1954), nicknamed Kape was one of Cameroon's foremost Makossa singers during the 80's. In 1980 he released his first album Africa 80 together with Moise Doumbe.
♫ 1980 Audio: Jacky & Moise – Malo Malam
This album was followed by at least five solo albums which contained several hit songs like Mum'a Kwala, Tonton A Meya and Diba La Bobe (Ina Ndo).
♫ 1983 Audio: Jacky Doumbe – Tonton A Méya
♫ 2012 Video: Jacky Doumbe live à Sarcelles – Diba La Bobe (Ina Ndo)
During the 90's not much was heard of him until 1999, when he came back with the strong CD Aiyo Oh on the JPS label.
♫ 1999 Clip: Jacky Doumbe – Mbola Mba Bisous
♫ 1999 Audio: Jacky Doumbe – Petit Jeune Homme
Since then not much has been heard of him. Until 2016 when he appeared all of a sudden in Montreal as SAPEUR.

2016 Video: Arrivée de Jacky Doumbe à Montréal pour La Nuit De La Sape


vrijdag 2 februari 2018

Benji Mateke


 ♫ Clip:  2013 Bebey d'amour
"Big" Benji Mateke a.k.a. "Le Sorcier Bantu" was born July 11, 1969 in the city of Souza, but  spent his childhood in Nkapa, Department of Mungo region of the Littoral Cameroon. He comes from a family with four girls and six boys. As a young boy he travels several cities (Loum, Nkongsamba Mbanga, etc.) alongside his father David Mateke Miyanga, employed at the National Railway Authority. The latter, who in his spare time is a singer and guitarist, certainly inspired the junior Mateke to become a musician.
Unlike many Cameroonian artists, Benji Mateke developed his first musical skills in school bands.Between 1985 and 1988 he was conductor of musical training colleges Saint Jean de Mbanga and Lele Nkongsamba. Thanks to his talent and his boundless energy, he is quickly spotted and in 1988 he joins Tara System, the group founded by the late Lapiro de Mbanga. This is an important moment in his development as an artist. With Lapiro as his mentor, Benji  becomes an accomplished musician during the next 4 years. In 1992 he is ready to face a new challenge and participates in the national song contest organised by Mutzig Breweries Cameroon.  He reaches the finals, but the next year in 1993 he wins the competition.
In 1994 his first album "Sorcerer Bantu" is released. The track "Fifion Ribana" inspired by a famous radio character broadcasted by Radio Africa Number One, propelled him to the front of the Cameroon music scene. His second album "The match" released in 1997 brought him a second hit with the track "Rosy Muna". With his third album "Makossa Cellulaire" (2001) Benji Mateke proved definitively that he was not a one-day fly, but had become one of the top-makossa singers of the new millennium.
♫ Clip:  1997 Rosie Muna

 Benji Mateke  is not the type of artist who releases two or more albums a year. He is a perfectionist who takes his time and puts high demands on the production of his music. This explains why his fans had to wait 4 years until his next CD produced by Jean-Philippe Tamba  came out. The title track - "Boulot c'est boulot"-  became a big hit in 2005/6 in Cameroon and the African clubs in Paris.
 In late 2009, another four years later "Boulot c'est Boulot" is followed by the album "Emotion". With Toto Guillaume taking care of the arrangements and vocal guest appearrances by Ben Decca, Jacky Kingue, Charlotte Dipanda and Joly Priso among others, "Emotion" is an album with many and varied sounds.
 And now Big Benji is back with "Sensationnel". Again supported by several recognized singers such as Jean Pierre Essome, Jacky Kingue, Sergeo Polo, Annie Anzouer, Joly Priso, the Nigerian Dom Tom and special guest, the great Manu Dibango, Benjy celebrates his 20 years long en rewarding career.

 That the new album is doing very well I experienced when Ivisited Paris last week. In all the African record shops in Rue Poulet (Rythmes & Musiques - PPCM -Oviation) "Sensationnell" was sold out. Fortunately I finally found my copy in the shop of the Malinese label Camara Production in Rue Marcadet.
 ♫ Clip:  Medley Big Benji
The albums "Le match" and "Makossa cellulaire" are still available at:
 $ (Web) shop: Amazon UK

donderdag 4 januari 2018

Petit Pays

PETIT PAYS was born on the 5th of June 1967 in Douala. he was brought up entirely by his grandmother. He was named Petit Moundy Claude Adolphe. Moundy in the Douala language literally means pays in French what explains the origin of the nickname he chose as his stagename.

As a teenager Petit Pays thought of commencing a professional football career, but his passion for music appeared stronger. During his secondary school he took guitar lessons and started to stay away from school, spending sleepness nights te rehearse vocals and instrumental interpretations of populair songs.

Against all odds, despite family pressure, Petit Pays gradually abandoned his study to dedicate himself to his future musical career. In the 80's finding a local producer was an incredible challenge for artists. In those days for many of them emigrate to France was the only possibility to achieve their dreams. In 1985, with the support of his understanding mother and his uncle Jaba, the future African music star flew to Paris.

Upon his arrival, he immediately started to search for a producer. Unfortunately in 1986, during the Giscard government, with Charles Pasqua as Minister of Internal Affairs, the official studies of Petit Pays stopped. Soon after Petit Pays finds himself with handcuffs in an airplane direction Yaoundé.

His expulsion from the French territory inspired him to write the song 'Ca fait mal' in which he describes his administrative detention and deportation. This and other songs drew the attention of producer Joseph Eyabi Kwadi and in December 1987 Petit Pays released his first LP 'Ca fait mal' on Eyab's Production. With this album het set his first step towards the top.

A year later in December 1988, he came with his second album 'Ancien parigo' which established him as a young talented Makossa singer, appreciated by the majority of his compatriots with songs like 'A mumi' and 'Salamalekum'. Very proactive, he did a lot of free services for associations and Afro-Caribbean clubs to confirm his talent and enhance his brand awareness in the Cameroon and Paris music-scene. He released his third album 'Trouver la vie' in 1990.

♫ audio 1990: Trouver La Vie 

Petit Pays having conquered his homeland Cameroon, now had the ambition to conquer the rest of Africa, Europe and North America. To reach his goals he developed the concept of Makossa-Love - a mixture of Makossa, Zouklove and Congolese styles - and founded his own orchestra Les Sans Visa. The name of this orchestra refers to his expulsion from France to Cameroon in 1986.

For his fourth album he teamed up with the successful Cape Verdean keyboard player and arranger Manu Lima, who was responsible for the Afro-Zouk success of the Gabonese Oliver Ngoma (Bane) and the Ivorian Monique Seka (Missounwa). This collaboration proved to be a hit because the album 'Les morts ne sont pas mort' made Petit Pays a household name in the whole of francophone Africa. In March 1992 the uptempo song 'Eyamoyo' went number 1 in music charts in Abidjan, Lomé, Ouagadougou, Libreville, Niamey, while the Caribbean were madly in love with the Makossa-Love song 'Ca ne va pas'. His band 'les Sans Visa' now came in handy, because the success of the album 'Le morts ne sont pas mort' led to extensive tours in Africa, North America, The Caribbean and Europe.

Petit Pays cashed the momentum by coming directly in 1993 with a sequel album titled 'Avant gout' in the same Makossa-Love style. Songs like 'Mulema' , 'C'est bon' et 'Mumi' were widely played and the album reached the top of many radio hit parades. It was in this period of Pan-African success that Petit Pays coronates himself as Le Turbo d'Afrique. He could not be stopped anymore and the hit songs followed each other in quick succession with 'NioXXer' from the album 'Les meilleur des meilleurs' in 1994 and 'Muto' from the album 'Korta' in 1995. Even school kids sang his refrains like "A Abidjan ca nioxxe, a Etoudi ca nioxxe, nioxxer, nioxxer" and "Chop my mob, I buy you Solex".

In May 1966, he released his seventh album 'Class F/ Class M', which was the most mediatised of Petit Pays albums. In less than a week more than 50.000 copies were sold only in Cameroon. Soon after the release of the album he was declared "wanted" by the Cameroon National Security because he was enacted as "a fool" who violated modesty by posing nude on the cover of the album.He hastely left Cameroon and his mother was imprisoned for some time.

Petit Pays lets the tornado to pass away before returning to Cameroon and continued producing more albums, sometimes solo and sometimes with his band 'Les Sans Visa'. The band became a breeding pond and career machine for new talents like Njohreur and samy Diko among others, who are now established artists. Today Petit Pays has a net worth of 1.2 biljon FCFA and has diversified his activities with construction projects. In the past decade he has carried out at least three projects in different districts to improve local road connections.

Although he is seen by everyone in Cameroon as a very successful man, he remains an unpredictable rebel, who still manages to shock the Cameroon community regularly. For instance in 2005 when he dressed like a woman on the cover of his album 'La Monako'. Or in 2007 when he relased 'Frotambo' which contains the song 'Les pedes'.

Very few African artists have dared to break the taboo on subjects like travesty and homosexuality. In Cameroon, a country where homophobia is exacerbated, Petit Pays did it in his song 'Les pedes' singing: "Love has no borders, I'm crazy about you, you're crazy about me, friends, why do you mind us, we love each other" - and then - "everybody is against us, we do not care".
Two years later he surprised the Cameroonians again, as he was seen at T.B. Joshua's Synagoge Church of All Nations in Lagos on Emmanuel TV. He declared he has given his live to Jesus Christ and born again. Later that same year Petit Pays released the album 'Caiman' as elected president of the Caiman Football Club in Douala, followed in 2010 by the album 'God go pay'.
♫ videoclip 2010: - God go pay 
June 11, 2011 Petit Pays represented Cameroon at the African Night at the Stade de France. He was accompanied by his band 'Le Sans Visa' and his famous group of dancers 'Les Turbines'.
live 11/6/11 Stade de France  
♫ live 2017: Essen Germany
To date he has more than 40 albums to his name. Unlike many other successful African music stars Petit Pays decided to live in his native country. He lives in his self-built 'palace' in Douala Makepe neighbourhood, which has a street bearing his name. In 2015 he launched his own reality TV series titled 'Ma vie de Super Star' where he lets his fans into his private life as the superstar who has sold by now more than 35 million albums worlwide. Despite his provocative, seemingly often contradictory behaviour, all Petit Pays rebelliuos expressions seem to serve a common purpose, namely to contribute to more tolerance and mutual understanding.
♫ videoclip 2015: Classe supérieure
♫ videoclip 2016: Peur dans la cité