MANU, HIS SAX AND LESSONS FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

Manu thrilling jazz lovers

An observer once described a musician as someone who can play at least, one musical instrument. We may argue that there are scores and scores of musicians, some of whom are so renowned, that do not play any instrument, yet sing so well.

Good and reasonable argument may be – but if we reduce music to only singing, then, we are getting it all wrong. Wrong because as it stands, virtually every human being can sing. By that, we mean God created man with music – otherwise, music came along with creation. And so, whatever sound comes from a man, could be considered music – even a hum, a scream and what have you.

Does this automatically make you a musician? Difficult question!

If Manu Dibango became the legend he was and still it, it is largely thanks to his solid attachment and immeasurable skill in the SAXOPHONE. He got married to this instrument and displayed a fantastic knowledge of it for more than five decades. In fact, Manu was synonymous to the saxophone and he caused many people to love this instrument.

The musicians of Manu’s generation displayed a similar behavior towards respective musical instruments. To them, the journey of music started with an instrument. A good number of them started from an instrument before reaching to the microphone to sing.

Who would forget that Prince Eyango, the makossa icon, started his career as a guitarist way back in 1979? Before releasing MAIMOUNA, his first album in 1989, Maurice Njoume had been a dexterous guitarist for Lapiro De Mbanga, himself a talented player of the instrument.

When Manulo, author of FUNDAMEN, San Fan Thomas, author of AFRICA TYPIQUE COLLECTION and Gilly Ndoumbe, author of THINGS LIKE THIS got on the guitar, their fingers ran and smiled on the instrument – just like those of Eboa Lotin, Zamzibar of the Tete Brules band, Ekwe Silo, Kotto Bass, Jean Paul Mondo, all of blessed memory. Mbida Douglas and Marco Mbela sang so well, but their piano skills spoke more.

Over in the DRC, some of the leading singers were also great instrument players. While Diblo Dibala and Dally Kimoko are some of the greatest guitarists the continent ever produced, Mark Macaire created an indelible mark with the drums. Examples abound!

The interesting twist about this discourse, is that these musicians worked with live bands in the studio during recording and produced some of the most complicated tracks in the history of African music, be it Makossa, Zaiko, Soukouss, Bikutsi, Highlife and you name them. They would spend long weeks and at times months in the studio and upon coming out, their products were masterpieces.

Fast-forward to today – in contemporary times, things have changed. Today, the description of a musician, is the one who can do a track faster by just singing a few lines and the computer takes care of the rest. Then, once they have uploaded the single track on YouTube and have had a hundred thousand views in two days, they are superstar.

Superstar with no knowledge of any musical instrument, for, their own guitar, piano, saxophone, trumpet, konga, violin, and other instruments, are carefully programmed digitally. All the musician needs to do is to show up at the studio and sing a few lines or record those lines on their phone and email to the producer and the next day, the track is ready to hit YouTube. No effort, less use of skill, no stress!

In an interview some weeks ago, an artist revealed to this commentator that he recoded his song, a track that won him an award, for just 45 minutes in the studio. What a revelation! But, ainsi va la musique d’aujour’dhui. Should we describe this as laziness? Perhaps, if we do, reminded that times have changed.

Changing times indeed – but those changing times did not deprive Manu Dibango from staying at the apex – if he is still celebrated today the way he is, it is because he turned a musical instrument into a great thing. That was unique, reason why he distinguished himself.

Should our artists today only rely on singing which is so common and everyone noted for? Can’t some of them attempt an instrument and create a different scenario just like the legendary Manu did? Can Manu’s example be worth emulating? Can music return to the days of live performance? Can music be a little be natural once again and not all artificial? Can some artists of this generation step into the shoes of Manu Dibango?

These questions may or may not require answers and without saying young musicians must play instruments but doing so will always remain part of the art, even in the most digitalized era.

May Manu Dibango’s legacy be an inspiration to generations after him!

WEEKEND ECSTACY: ZOOM ON MANU DIBANGO

Even though departed physically, Manu Dibango lives on. His works provide the coloration of the music icon’s legacy. As the world continues to celebrate his life, Batimu FM adds its voice to the success story of a fulfilled musician. Today, WEEKEND ECSTACY focuses on Manu Dibango – his humble beginnings, career and exit. On the show today, we talk to colleagues of Manu, fans and arts, culture and entertainment analysts. A major contribution on the show will come from Apex 1 Radio’s Ernest Kanjo (Arts and Culture Journalist) and Ken Shally Monnette (Resource Person in charge of arts and cultural issues). Join us at 7pm (in Belgium), 2pm (Eastern time), 1pm (in Minnesota) on www.batimufm.com Take the appointment with host Titus Banyoh (Batimu)!

LOCKDOWN: CHILD AUTHOR OFFERS FROM-HOME EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT

EDITORS NOTE: Stacey Fru is author of five books. At her tender age, she has amassed experience in areas such as writing, conferencing, TV hosting and media interviews. She has been guests on Apex 1 Radio shows a good number of times. While at home, during the lockdown declared by South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, Stacey has opted to use her talent/skills, to educate as well as entertainment people who stay home. Meantime, she will be back on our airwaves in the coming days to throw more light on this latest project.

STACEY WRITES:

Good afternoon,

I have gone through a week of house schooling and it has been challenging and at the same time, exciting. I have made and share videos, but with the When President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a 21-days locked down of the country, I felt the natural need to set to work. do more. I’m a writer, guitarist and public speaker. As such, I have decided to offer my services of reading, writing, music and motivational speaking to everyone and every institution who requests them.

I would like to dedicate time every day for you. All you need to do is make a request. It does not matter where you are based, I will respond to everyone anywhere in the world on stacey@staceyfru.co.za or +27825486385. My effort is to enable us seek beauty and find solace in the smallest things during these periods.

Check me out for the following: live/recorded reading, motivation, writing or guitar/music sessions, free-of-charge. This will start from April the 3rd when my school officially goes on vacation.

Otherwise, follow my social media pages @staceyfru on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see and share in what I will be doing. In this time of isolation, I thought I could help everyone remain positive and find inspiration in what they will be doing. As a child of the universe, my works and pieces of literature will have to give us more than 101 reasons to look after each other, survive, fight for ourselves and most importantly, come together.

For inspiration and the motivation to go viral, you have to help me open my platform to everyone to watch, share and read my work.

Are you wondering why I am doing this?

I have been scared, so are my siblings and parents. Yes, the world is a scary place right now. My aim is to turn this feeling around for everyone and make this difficult experience meaningful. I would like us to flashback on Coronavirus by the words we read, wrote and shared. Let us make them count.

Give me a chance and book online sessions with me.

Stacey Fru, 13

Johannesburg, S.A

 

IJANG

MOVIES: ONLINE PREMIERE FOR IJANG

Unlike fresh vegetables that perish shortly after they are harvested, movies, just like other products of arts, are nonperishable. This is truer for movies whose stories are timeless and universal. Therefore, after its official outing, a movie can always be viewed for several purposes, including education. There are scores of examples of films that have been used as didactic material in schools and informal learning. In the same light, events around a movie can always be organized in so far as the movie is alive.

When the producers of IJANG, a Cameroonian movie, released it in 2018, they certainly had this in mind and were optimistic that as time went on, they would come back to it. Two years down the road, IJANG is being revisited. “Consequently, we are premiering the movie, this time, online,” Mbebang Evodia has announced.

Speaking to Apex 1 Radio, the producer of the movie explained that, it is hardly every film lover who has the opportunity to watch Cameroonian movies, even when they are released. “So, making them available online, is a highly desired option and we think that would satisfy our audience greatly,” she said. The producer of IJANG who also has BOSS LADIES, an upcoming movie to her credit went on: “It’s no longer news that these days, virtually everybody spends their whole time online, so, to capture their attention, you have to provide your content on it.”

However, since it’s a gain-gain business, Team IJANG thinks viewers of the movie online can support the project by paying an affordable price, tagged on it. “For the premiere therefore, we will expect viewers to procure tickets, 1.000FCFA for the ordinary ones and 2.500FCFA for the VIPs,” Mbebang revealed.

“We think if valorized, the online premiering of our movies could be a way, not only to have producers recover the cost of production, but would encourage them to make more movies,” Mbebang explained further.

Details on the premiere will reach our newsroom soon, according Team IJANG.

Meantime, IJANG exploits the theme of community development which illustrious sons and daughters, according to the story, must always consider seriously. The movie presents the case of the Oshie people. IJANG was shot on locations in Douala, Tiko and Mondoni, starring Adambi Mbango, Nchifor Valery, Godwill Awantu, Rapha Obi Tambe, Konfor Lisette, Ngato Brian, Lina Ikechuju, Dinga Noella, Ndukong Joel and King Kombe Richard Ndike.

IJANG Technical Crew

Producer: Mbebang Evodia

Director: Musing Derrick

D.O.P: Takong Delvis

Make-up artist: Chinonso Sunshine & Princess Diamond

Editor:  Tamambang David

Production Manager: Bankz Banter

COVID-19 CLAIMS SOUKOUSS LEGEND

The African music community has been blown into shock, following the passing on of Aurlus Mabele. Reports say the Congolese Soukous legend passed on Thursday, March 19, in a hospital in Paris, France, where he had checked in. The said hospital, a family member disclosed, informed them that the artist suffered from Coronavirus.

Aurlus Mabele, 67, has been suffering from effects of a stroke for years now. He is also said to have been battling with throat cancer and was recently seen in a video beckoning on the Congolese government to come to his aide.

A founding member of Loketo, the legendary Congolese Soukouss band, Mabele crisscrossed the world to perform the art he knew best – singing and dancing. He released scores of Soukous masterpieces in solo and within Loketo. Some of his tracks with Loketo that held fans across Africa, Europe and the USA spellbound are Extra Ball, Isabelle, Keba, Zenab, Choc a Distance, Femme Ivoirienne, Evelyne, Embargo, Betty, Asta-De, Liste Rouge, etc.

Born on October 26, 1953, Aurlus Mabele whose real name is Aurelien Miatsonama he created the Les Ndimbola Lokole band in 1974 with Jean Baron, Pedro Wapechkado and Mav Cacharel. He later relocated to France to create Loketo with Diblo Dibala and others.

Mabele’s music has been a prominent on Apex 1 Radio since the inception of the station. We shall develop this story here as well as on the radio airwaves.

COVID-19 AND WORKING FROM HOME

Fred has been working at a renowned fashion store as a senior computer network engineer since he graduated from college. The store has branches in all States in the mid-western regions of the United States. At the store’s Eastside Columbus branch, Fred has a well-equipped office, from where assists other personnel and store installations in troubleshooting networks hiccups. The network technician also helps in repairing hardware. “Before training as a network engineer, I had worked as a hardware technician,” he told Apex 1 Radio.

Interestingly, Fred’s very spacious office and properly equipped office is for formality. “What I require to do my job is just a workstation which is my laptop,” he mentioned, when Apex 1 Radio sort to know how the network engineer was working from home.

According to Fred, he usually works from wherever he is at any given moment. “I built the network architecture of my company, so I access it at anytime from my workstation and do whatever needs to be done on it,” he said.

Fred explained that on his on-call days while at home, he receives calls. “Once the user provides me with the password of his desktop, I remote into it, get in the Vlan and fix the issue without going to their office in person to do so,” he told us.

For less serious problems, he assigns a junior staff in his department to handle it by calling or texting them. “Why would I stay in the office when I can operate this way,” the technician asked rhetorically.

When the COVID-19 scare swept the United States and companies sought to reduce its spread by advising employees to work from home, Fred was comfortable with the arrangement. “It’s not new to me, so I found the approach normal and meaningful,” he revealed. “In fact, I was going to make the suggestion to my company, if it wasted time to take the decision,” he added.

Like Fred, scores of other employees in the Information Technology and other fields work from home. Internet connection makes it possible to troubleshoot hitches, have meetings, assess orders and serve customers. With COVID-19 in the air, these employees have simply continued working as though nothing happened. The only difference would surely be the eminent increase in workload, in some cases.

For one thing, COVID-19 would have served a lesson. On its heels, working from home could be valorized to brace to any such circumstance in the future. However, even without such a crisis, digital technology is gradually and steadily keeping people and jobs away from physical settings, in favor of virtual ones. Who says working from home, is not the next biggest thing?

COVID-19 AND SUMMER UNCERTAINTIES

Unlike in tropical parts of the world, places situated in the Northern hemisphere, have a very solid cultural attachment to weather. In fact, life in these places largely depends on weather conditions. That explains why weather reporting is and has always been an integral part of news, not only in the news media, but all other types of media.

In this part of the earth, Winter, the coldest (roughly from October to February) season, is naturally the most dreaded. During Winter, life is somehow grounded. Life is reduced to school, work and movement from one place to the other for necessary business. Fewer recreational activities happen and dwellers who neither go to school nor work, stay home most of the time. Most activities that happen in Winter, take place indoors.

Even when people would have loved to interact socially, cold weather wouldn’t permit them do so. Perhaps, snow which is Winter’s commonest biproduct, makes life so miserable during this time. “It’s worthless marching in snow just to go and attend an event,” one Columbus, Ohio city dweller told Apex 1 Radio. She questioned rhetorically: “What’s the point in doing that?”

With this, the hot season is the only option to make up for months of inactivity. In a typical African diaspora community mindset, the hot season is the period that covers Spring and Summer. Long before this time, organizers schedule events of all sorts – weddings, ordinary meet-the-friends parties, music concerts, community park walks, barbeques, pool parties, excursions and the list is endless.

Usually, Fridays and Saturdays are the peak days, but in places such as Maryland in the United States, everyday in Summer is a party day. Months earlier, organizers book and pay for event venues and start sending out invitations, everyone, struggling to get the highest number of attendees to their event. By the end of every hot season therefore, an event calendar of the next one is full – the scenario every year.

Spring and Summer of 2020 were not different. Virtually all Saturdays from March to August had been marked for events at an event venue Apex 1 Radio sampled for this report. “My venue had been booked for three weddings since 2018,” the owner of a renowned party hall in the Columbus’ Northside told us. “There is one taking place on June 13, the next on June 27 and another one on August 15,” he revealed further.

The event venue owner explained that had the organizers not come for the hall in 2018, they wouldn’t have been sure to have it at the time they needed it. “The rest of the Saturdays and Fridays for the season are all book, equally,” he told Apex 1 Radio.

Other event venue owners we have talked to, have similar stories.

Now, will these events take place? “It’s the most difficult question to answer,” EN responded. EN, as the young African preferred to be called for identity protection purposes, planned his wedding for April this year. “We are confused – after putting in so much in terms of preparation and getting up one morning to have to face a health crisis that puts everything on a hold, is inexplicable,” he regretted.

“As at now, it’s clear that my wedding cannot take place as planned – it’s shutdown everywhere and when things will return to normal, is still a mystery,” EN said. EN went further: “My fiancée and I feel terrible about this, but what can we do, other than hope things get better and we are able to reschedule.”

Like EN, there are scores of other event Summer event organizers with the same feelings. No one knows exactly when the Coronavirus will be a thing of the past, neither can they conjecture the posture of Summer 2020. Suspense, isn’t it?

COVID-19 FALLOUTS: URBAN JAMZ AWARDS POSTPONED

The 2020 edition of the Urban Jamz Awards, UJA, has been postponed. Originally scheduled for Friday, March 20 in Douala, Urban Jamz Awards 2020 will take place on a later date to be announced.

According to its founder and President, Valery Atia, the decision comes on the heels of the Coronavirus outbreak which has clipped the wings of the world. “And the subsequent lockdown by the government to reduce and manage its spread,” he adds, in a press release, Wednesday, March 18.

In a considerate tone, the Urban Jamz Awards boss insists that the safety of participants, including artists, music fans and organizers, is primordial. He however advises potential UJA 2020 attendees to hold on to their tickets and reservations till that time when the event will take place. “Information regarding the new date will be announced,” the release reads on.

Created in 2016, the Urban Jamz Awards has become the leading music recognition platform in the Central African sub region. The annual event identifies and rewards actors who display excellence in music production including singers, dancers, managers, music video directors, bloggers, etc. All had been set for the fifth edition with expected performances from frontline artists such as Daphne, Salatiel, Charlotte Dipanda, Mr leo, Magasco, Blanche Bailly, Locko and Blaise B.

SUMMY SIDE OF COVID-19

Except heaven, there is no other utopian place. Literally translated, life is not and will never be a bell off roses. From ordinary observation, there are more undesirable moments that happy ones. Entertaining sadness would therefore be tantamount to succumbing to fate. In the days of yore, this mindset occupied enough space in the lives of people who accommodated it. Disturbing, isn’t it?

Today, things have changed, perhaps thanks to the new ICTs and social media. Not to say it has banalized everything, social media has played a positive psychological impact on people, to the point where in the face of adversity, they relax.

Just like the case with other prominent events/circumstances, COVID-19 has had its own fair share of social media memes. For the past weeks and still running, citizens have embarked on all sorts of Coronavirus-related memes. They are either motionless designed or motion pictures, brilliantly crafted to beat out the terrible feelings people have had to harbor since the pandemic came calling.

As days go by, comedians are increasingly pouring out COVID-19 skits, shared on social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. “Each time I come across a Coronavirus skit, I quickly forget about the virus’ ravaging effect,” Ferline, a Columbus, Ohio resident told Apex 1 Radio. To her, more of such memes and skits are required, at least, for the therapeutic role they play. “We may be underestimating their role, but those comic relief content help in keeping some people alive,” she said. And added: “In the absence of these, belief me, some people who be so badly damaged psychologically.”

What has not been noticed more, is music. One would have expected situational artists to produce songs on the pandemic as rapidly as it is spreading. Perhaps, this has not been the case because COVID-19 took the world by storm and no one is yet to understand the nature of the pandemic. That notwithstanding, there have been a handful of tracks on COVID-19 released, including “Believe Love Will Triumph”, an anthem, sung by Chinese.

One of the most prominent music works on COVID-19, is We’ve Got This – Fight Against Coronavirus/COVID-19, authored by the South African Ndlovu Youth Choir. Released on March 11, the track is gathering YouTube views by the day. The thematic song cautions people against habits that could cause the virus to inhibit in them. The track makes it clear that avoiding face touching and regularly washing hands are the best way to go. Its video is a display of great artistic performance.

Hopefully, upcoming memes, comedy skits and songs would be addressing COVID-19 in the past tense. For now, let’s help ourselves fight it.

Moi Moi On The Move

Moi Moi Nigerian cuisine is an enviable aspect of the country’s cultural heritage. Apart from epic movies you would watch religiously, hugely supplied by Nollywood and the mouth-watering pieces from the country’s music outfit, Nigerian food is by every ramification, the best thing you’d take back home after a visit to continent. One delicacy that is never absent in restaurant and home menus, is Moi Moi. Moi Moi is a Nigerian steamed bean pudding made from a mixture of washed and peeled black-eyed peas, onions and fresh ground peppers. It is a protein-rich food that is a staple in Nigeria. It is also called Moin-Moin or Moyi Moyi and also served at parties. Bonne appetit!