Cameroonian saxophonist, Manu Dibango to perform at the Safaricom International jazz festival 2018

His 1972 classic “Soul Makossa” made him the first African musician to score a Top 40 hit in the US and earned him two Grammy Award nominations.

One of Africa’s most distinguished musicians born in Cameroon and raised in France, Manu Dibango is coming to Kenya again.

Cameroonian saxophonist, Manu Dibango will be the headline act at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival 2018 which marks 5 golden years.

The 84-year-old clean-shaven musical giant will perform at the Carnivore Grounds, Nairobi on May 1 alongside 12 Kenyan bands, including Different Faces led by Edward Parseen, Mwai & The Truth, Afro Sync, Swahili Jazz and the Nairobi Horns Project.

“I have been in the business for about 15 years, and I have so much to learn from an artist of this stature who has spent more than 60 years making music.” The leader of the Different Faces band and fellow saxophonist, Edward Parseen said about sharing the stage with the legendary musician.

The “Lion of Cameroon” with a gravel-voice as he has been anointed is celebrated as the father of modern African music having been at the forefront of the continent’s music since the 1950s.

He is multi-instrumentalist and apart from being an accomplished saxophonist he is also a composer, producer and film score writer.

According to his acclaimed autobiography released in 1994, “Three Kilos of Coffee” he was born in Douala, Cameroon, then in 1994 armed with a dream, a small sum of money and three kilos of coffee he went to study in France, arriving in Marseilles ready to start his first term in a boarding school.

He later settled in Brussels in the late 1950s and grew up watching American jazz performers like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Bassie who later influenced him to pursue music

He would discovered the sexy saxophone at high school student but sadly he could not afford to start a lifetime relationship with the instrument at that time and resigned to playing the piano saving every penny he got for his sexy love.

In 1967, he founded his band, 'Makossa Gang' and released his first ever musical recording in 1968.

Michael Jackson sampled the song’s refrain in 1982 for his hit “Wanna Be Starting Something” off the “Thriller” album and Rihanna also adapted it for her 2007 single “Don’t Stop The Music”.

He created his signature Makossa style by blending blues, jazz, reggae, highlife, and other global musical influences.

He best embodies the phase ‘young at heart’ because despite his advanced age, he has remained energetic and his back-breaking performance alongside his famous backing band Makossa Gang will leave a lad half his age panting.

Throughout his career spanning over six decades, Dibango has worked with and influenced global stars like Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Fela Kuti, Papa Wemba and the late Hugh Masekela.

His last performed in Nairobi at the Koroga Festival, 2016, which will be remembered for a thrilling mix of his wide catalogue of music that cuts across generations.

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