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Cameroon

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  Overview... About Cameroon
The music of Cameroon has a diversity similar to that of its geography and culture: Makossa from Douala, Bikutsi from the Centre Province, Makassi and Tchamassi from the West... Although these modern electric music styles were influenced by latin and congolese music, they are nontheless rooted in various traditional rhythms. Also, the influence of christian chorals can sometimes be heard in the way of singing.
From early contributors as Lobe Lobe, Ebanda Manfred and Nelle Eyoum, music developed differently in Douala and Yaoundé. In Douala, makossa emerged from a traditional Douala rhythm, in Yaoundé balafon based bands such as the Richard Band de Zoétélé were popular. Other Cameroonian music styles are even more rooted in traditional rhythms, such as the Asiko, a folkoric rhythms of the Bassa people, the Ambasse Bey, and the Mangambêu. The Makossa style has been the most successful, and is internationally known through Manu Dibango's Soul Makossa, although his music is more fusion and jazzy derivation of pure makossa.

Makossa remained popular at least until the end of the 1980s. The 1990s brought about more (and renewed) attention for bikutsi music (due to changing political circumstances) from the Yaoundé area, but also the Bend Skin from the West. From the second half of the 1990s on, the Cameroonian music scene felt the competition of the Congolese ndombolo vague. Since then, makossa music can be considered as a music style in crisis, not the least because its modernisation was not done successfully. New talents have made their appearance using jazz and folk music as a starting point. Examples are Richard Bona, Etienne Mbappé, Sally Nyolo or Coco Mbassi.


Cameroon flag Official name: République du Cameroun / Republic of Cameroon
map Cameroon Region: Central Africa
Capital: Yaoundé
Official language: French, English
Main ethnic groups: More than 200, main groups are Beti/Bulu/Fang, Bassa, Fulfulde, Bamileke, Bamun

Flags courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.

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