Music in Cameroon.
Basically, there are three kinds of music in Cameroon. They are church music, popular music and traditional music. They all contain a special unique style, you could not miss it when you hear them. We have not heard once, since we came, any classical music played in public places. It's void in that whole area.
All music here are recorded by Tom with a Sony minidisk recorder. They are all mono and certainly not professional. Hopefully they will give you some taste of Cameroon music. Tom feels that church music development is the worst among the three --- this is only one person's opinion --- do not take it too seriously. Putting western sacred music in Africa style is by definition a conflict, there is just no place for either to compromise. When you hear them together, you will feel that they are neither western nor Africa, which of course they are, rather than a blend of splendid treats! Western sacred music emphasizes on using harmony to create a peaceful, holy, dignified atmosphere; while Africa music derives from disharmony to reveal its vitality and its dynamic, energetic nature. Tom does not feel that there could be a good combination, at least he has not yet heard or seen one.
Traditional music is great! The one you heard earlier was recoded live at the Cameroon Universities' Arts and Culture festivals last December. We have thoroughly enjoyed that experience. The music was used to accompany traditional dances, the combination of these two just makes you feel that you are wonderfully soaked within Africa !
When you go to the corresponding picture page this time, click the Hover button will bring you one popular song. The singer or the group is Longue Longue, which means "live on, live alive"! He was the singer of the year, 2001 in Cameroon. While he sings some typical popular type of love-hate songs, he also sings some songs to make people think and strike some resonances among all Africa people. He sings songs to joke about their customs too, for example, he has a song describing how people usually bring a lot of food to the funeral, but the same persons do not like to visit a dying friend in the hospital. The name of the song played for you at the picture page with wild flowers is " Ayo, Africa". It is sung in a combination of French and native Douala tribe language. It says:
Ayo, Africa, where are you heading?
You see all the problems ahead of you!
You see dying every where,
you see dictators, you see wars,
Africans are working, Europeans are eating in Africa,
they have joy, you see
And here in Douala, we have Bonamosadi ( a joint in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon )
a place for whites only!
Since Tom does not know neither French nor Douala, this is not his translation, just the idea behind the song! He got them from a couple of people.