Manu Dibango A tribute

Coronavirus global pandemic the international community is currently dealing with have claimed the life of a global celebrity and African legend in the name of Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango. 

The Cameroonian saxophonist, pianist, vibraphonist and songwriter whose over six decades career inspired many generations of artists died from COVID-19 in Paris, France On 24 March 2020 at the age of 86.. 

Manu Dibango was best known for his single “Soul Makossa” which was produced in 1972. 

The song was popular on a global stage in such a way Rihanna and Michael Jackson nicked one of his hooks in their respective songs  Don’t Stop the Music and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin

Manu Dibango was a regular guest in musical performances not only in Africa but all over the world. 

The song “Soul Makossa” that made him popular had actually been commissioned by the African Cup of Nations football tournament that was held in his home country Cameroun. 

Manu Dibango

Manu Dibango

Born 12 December 1933
Place of birth Douala, Cameroon
Died 24 March 2020 (aged 86) 
Occupation Musician, songwriter
Genres Makossa, African Rumba,
afrofunk, afrobeat, jazz,

Manu Dibango an African legend

After “Soul Makossa” success, Manu traveled throughout the world by collaborating with Afro-Caribbean, African and African-American musicians. 

In 1973 for instance, Manu Dibango went to an international tour with the American Salsa band Fania All Stars. 

In 1980 Manu Dibango recorded two albums – Gone clear and Ambassador in collaboration with a number of notable Jamaican reggae artists. 

Since then he went on working on numerous music collaborations and releasing albums in the process. In addition to that he composed music for film and television.

In 1990 Manu published his autobiography, Three Kilos of Coffee, that was originally published in French with Daniel Rouard. 

As a recognition of his role in the development of music as well as his cultivation of cross-cultural dialogue particularly between Europe, Africa and North America through arts, Manu was named the UNESCO Peace Artist of the year 2004.

In 2014 Manu Dibango organised his 80th birthday at Olympia in Paris, France which was broadcasted by TV5Monde. 

Manu’s musical talents became noticeable at a young age while singing at a local church where his mother was a choir leader. The global music icon was born in Douala, Cameroun on December 12, 1933 into a musical Protestant Christian family. 

After being educated in his village school in 1941, Manu Dibango was admitted into a colonial school near his home where he learned French. 

When he visited Cameroon in 1944, French President Charles de Gaule chose Manu Dibango’s school to perform in his welcoming ceremonies. 

In 1949 at the age of 15, Manu was sent to school in Saint Calais, France. After completing high school, he moved to Paris where he started taking classical piano at the age of 17. 

He was inspired by Jazz artists of the time such as Louis Armstrong and began to learn to play saxophone. 

The 86-year-old African and global music icon also nicknamed “Pappy Grove” became one of the first worldwide stars to die as a result of COVID-19. 

When he died his name was trending worldwide on Twitter as high profile personalities from across the globe were celebrating his life and exceptional career. 

Benin’s Angelique Kidjo described him as the “original giant of African music.” Manu Dibango will be remembered for having influenced many musical genres from Congolese rumba in the 1950s, disco in the 1970s or hip-hop in the 1990s. 

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