COVID-19 claims Manu Dibango


COVID-19 claims Manu Dibango

Observer senior writer

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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MANU Dibango, whose Soul Makossa was an international hit in 1972, recorded with Jamaican musicians in Kingston during the early 1980s.

The Cameroonian singer/ saxophonist, a pioneer of the World Music movement, died on Tuesday from COVID-19 in Paris, where he lived for many years.

His 1981 album, Ambassador, was produced by Jamaican Geoffrey Chung and partially recorded at Dynamic Sounds in Kingston and Compass Point in The Bahamas.

A number of Jamaican musicians worked on the six-song set which was distributed by Mango Records, a subsidiary of Island Records.

Chung's older brother, Mikey, on guitar, Rad Bryan, Willie Lindo and Wayne Armond (guitars); Robbie Lyn (keyboards); Val Douglas (bass); Mikey “Boo” Richards (drums); percussionist Uzziah “Sticky” Thompson; and Sly and Robbie were some of the musicians who worked on Ambassador.

Dibango's blend of African beats, jazz and funk endeared him to artistes like Fela Kuti of Nigeria and American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, both of whom he worked with.

Soul Makossa contains the memorable phrase, “mamasay mama-sa ma-ma-coo-sa” which was used by Michael Jackson and Rihanna for Wanna be Startin' Somethin' and Don't Stop The Music, respectively.

It set the tone for an explosion of music from Africa during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, dubbed world beat. Among its leading exponents were Youssou N'Dour of Senegal and Majek Fashek of Nigeria.

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