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Photo by Francis Apesteguy/Redferns via Getty Images.

Manu Dibango.

10 Essential Manu Dibango Songs

A giant has fallen. We pay tribute to Manu Dibango by highlighting some of the best songs from the Cameroonian jazz legend's extensive discography.

Cameroonian jazz legend Manu Dibangopassed away earlier today at a hospital just outside Paris, France. The 86-year-old musician had been in a state of recovery after having tested positive for the coronavirus.

A giant has fallen.

Dibango, who was born in Douala, Cameroon in 1933, became one of the foremost pioneers of Afro-jazz and was known for his fusion of funk with traditional Cameroonian sounds. His six-decade career saw him performing all over the world and collaborating with the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, Fela Kuti and several other music heavyweights.

Following his 1972 hit song "Soul Makossa," Dibango serenaded audiences for years to come with his inimitable mastery of the saxophone. In many ways, Dibango was to Cameroonians (and the world over) what Masekela was to South Africans, what Fela was to Nigerians and what Oliver Mtukudzi was to Zimbabweans: legendary.

And so, while the world now mourns the loss of a legend, amid the uncertainty of an outbreak that continues to steal so much from humanity, we've selected just ten essential songs from Dibango's extensive discography to pay tribute to his indelible contribution to not only jazz, but music as a whole.



"Soul Makossa"

"Soul Makossa" was undoubtedly the career-defining song for Dibango. Released in 1972, the hit song inspired both Michael Jackson and Rihanna to reference the lyrics in "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "Please Don't Stop the Music" respectively—reportedly without Dibango's permission. Dibango went on to settle a lawsuit with the artists over their use of the track's hook.

"Emma" feat. Salif Keita

"Emma" is an upbeat and vibrant track that sees the meeting of legends. Dibango collaborated with veteran Malian musician Salif Keita to create a bold and vocally-rich classic that has remained a favorite among many fans till today.

"Ah! Freak Sans Fric"

Released in 1979, "Ah! Freak Sans Fric" has an undeniably nostalgic feel to it that transports the listener back to the 70s, a time where many people turned to music as a source of strength and hope especially after the colonial era which, for Cameroon, came to an end in 1972.

Biko feat. Alex Brown, Peter Gabriel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Geoffrey Oryema

While rock musician Peter Gabriel originally composed this song, it was Dibango's rendition featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Geoffrey Oryema that was arguably more popular. The track is an anti-Apartheid song, and musical eulogy of sorts, that was inspired by the South African struggle hero, Steven Biko, following his death.

Echos Beti

"Echos Beti" is a quirky number that exemplifies Dibango's seamless fusion of Afro-jazz with elements of funk and traditional sounds with the consistent use of drums making the rhythm of the song infectious.

"Africadelik" 

"Africadelik" leans towards a more classic Afro-jazz feel and while originally released in 1973, certainly has a contemporary feel to it especially in Dibango's 2018 performance at the Jazzwoche Burghausen in Germany.

"Bao Bao"

In "Bao Bao", Dibango manages to achieve an exquisite balance of vocals, traditional sounds including the marimba as well as use of guitar, woodwind instruments and saxophone.

"Ekedi"

Released in 2006, "Ekedi" is a soulful and mellow track with a consistent mid-tempo rhythm that allows Dibango to showcase his mastery of the saxophone—a markedly simple yet powerful number.

"Wilderness"

Dibango ditches the vocals in this purely instrumental track and goes wandering in the wilderness. It's a contemplative piece, as most jazz numbers often are, that manages to do so in a lighthearted manner.

"Ngolowake"

"Ngolowake" makes for easy and enjoyable listening with almost lazy-sounding instrumentals which give the track an overall relaxed feel.

Music

Listen to a Fela Kuti Tribute Album Featuring D'Angelo, Questlove, Nile Rodgers​ & More

2002's Red Hot + Riot albumis available on streaming platforms for the first time.

Red Hot has made the their Fela Kutitribute album Red Hot + Riot available for the first time on all streaming platforms to mark its 20th anniversary.

Red Hot + Riot features notable contributions from an all-star guest ensemble that includes D’Angelo, Questlove, Femi Kuti, Talib Kweli, Sade, Tony Allen, Macy Gray, Nile Rodgers, Jorge Ben Jor, Baba Maal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead Prez, Kelis, Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp, and many others.

The updated 20th anniversary version includes bonus material including a remastered version of the entire project. The project also includes a cover of “Sorrow Tears & Blood” by Bilal, an acoustic version of “Trouble Sleep” with Baba Maal accompanied by the legendary kora player Kaouding Cissoko and an extended version of Sade’s “By Your Side” by Stuart Matthewman.

The original album had to be heavily edited to fit the time limit of a physical CD. This new version includes a vast amount of bonus material that includes an extended versions of many tracks, including early mixes, acapellas, instrumentals and more.

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Africa In Your Earbuds
Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Kizz Daniel Performs At The FIFA World Cup

Nigeria's Kizz Daniel recently thrilled fans when he performed at the FIFA World Cup.


Renowned Afrobeats singer, Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, also known as Kizz Daniel recentlymade his debut performance at the World Cup to raving fans. The singer performed songs from a selection of some of his well known smash hit records at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which is still ongoing.

Some of the songs that he performed included: 'Buga', 'Cough', 'Lie', 'Pour Me Water', 'One Ticket', 'Eh God', 'Good Time' and many others.

The singer performing at the World Cup was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy because earlier in June, he had shared on social media that he wanted to perform at the World Cup this year.

His tweet read: "God I want to perform 'Buga' for World Cup with a mass choir. Help me say amen."

During his performance, he was greeted by over 50,000 fans, who excitedly chimed in as he delivered some of his heavy-hitting songs. The 28-year-old also featured a live-band show during his performance.

Kizz Daniel is one of the many African artists that are leaving their mark on the global music scene. When he released ‘Buga,’ he received massive recognition from the record and it quickly became an anthem in Nigeria. To many, the song was one of the most prominent African songs of the year.

Kizz Daniel's recent performance at the World Cup marks the rise in global popularity that many of his peers are also receiving.

According to Sports Brief, Kizz Daniel's performance was a part of the FIFA Sound, which had at least five international artists in it's lineup who performed on the main stage during the famed sports event. Sports Brief also shared that all of the performances were an extension of FIFA’s entertainment strategy, which is an initiative that is created to establish solid relationships between the world of soccer and music.

Following his performance, a thrilled Kizz Daniel took to social media to show some of the excited reactions that fans had during his performance.

VADO OF AFRICA 🌍 on Instagram: "AS A NAIJA 🇳🇬 BOY I SAY THANK YOU AFRICA 🌍 THANK YOU WORLD 🌎 #fifaworldcup2022 #qatar2022 ‼️"

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Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Travel Diary: The Warmth & Beauty of Senegal is Unparalleled

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, Nigerian photographer and storyteller Sope Adelaja heads to Senegal to learn what it's like to embrace the "Teraanga" lifestyle.

After about 10 hours of flying and stopovers I landed in the city of Dakar, Senegal at about 11pm. I approached immigration to have my passport stamped and then proceeded to get my luggage. I immediately noticed that almost everyone spoke French and very few people understood English. I understand little French, so I knew then that it was going to be a struggle. With the help of Google Translate, I was able to then negotiate and hire a cab to drop me off at my residence for the night.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

The language barrier was not as much of as an obstacle as I thought it would be. This largely had to do with the generosity and warmness shown by the community during my visit.

Senegal is known as the “ Land of Teraanga." Teraanga, which is a Wolof word, is often defined as meaning “ hospitality." But that is a very loose way of translating it. It's so much more complex than that. It is a process of discovery and expression. It is a way of Life. Teraanga is aimed at showcasing a narrative of hospitality and beauty that exists across different cultures.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Unity over adversity is a running theme of Saint-Louis, a town located on an island at the mouth of the Senegal river. It is an outstanding example of a colonial city by its natural setting and colonial architecture which gives it a distinctive appearance and identity. (These features are why the island is on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.)

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Saint-Louis is a city that will charm you. Beyond tourism, this community has come to embody its resourceful spirits. A big part of the way of life is fishing. It is the main occupation of people living in Saint-Louis, also known to the locals as Ndar.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

When shooting in Africa, it’s easy to lean on visual crutches — like ornate jewelry or bright, striking clothing. But that’s only skimming the visual surface of the community of people. Digging deeper requires an extended stay, as well as collaborating with locals who have grown up in the area.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

In the course of digging deeper, i discovered Ndar had a lot more to offer beyond beautiful aesthetics, very rich culture, and history it holds strong remains of past colonial times.

Next up was Gorée Island and the destination is an exceptional testimony to one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity: slave trade. Even with its complicated history, Over the years, Gorée Island has become a well known destination, with figures like Nelson Mandela and even Unisted States President Barack Obama and his family visiting the island.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Storytelling is so powerful. And as a photographer, it's my intent to show the warmth, beauty, and hospitality of Africa across different regions. I strongly believe we as people of Africa have a responsibility to further shape the narrative of Africa’s unique culture and people.

See more photos from Senegal below.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja


Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Music
Photo via Mavin Records

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Mavin Records, Asake, Stormzy x Amaarae x Black Sherif, Fally Ipupa, Pheelz x French Montana, and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

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