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Manu Dibango

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Le 12 décembre 1933 naît à Douala au Cameroun Emmanuel N`Djoké Dibango. Son père est issu de l`ethnie Yabassi, sa mère est douala. Cette différence est importante dans un pays qui vit selon les rites ancestraux. Chez lui, le jeune Manu parle essentiellement le douala. Son père est fonctionnaire. Sa rigueur morale est un exemple pour son fils. Sa religion n`y est sans doute pas étrangère. En effet, les Dibango sont protestants. Le soir, Manu va au temple et sa mère s`occupe de la chorale.

 Métier:    Musicien
 Pays D'origine:    Cameroun
 Pays:    France

Who knows ? If he had not been born under the star sign of Sagittarius, he might never have had the temperament of a nomad and the taste for adventure.. Having been sent to Europe at the age of 15, he would have come back an academic success.

As it was, he was affected by musical grace in the very first years in the protestant temple. Little Manu on the road between Paris and Brussels , thanks to the masters he discovers (Armstrong, Ellington, Young, Parker…), wandering in places where jazz rips the nights apart voluptuously, a musician’s soul was being formed.

Then the famous singer Kabasele arrived in Brussels from Zaïre (Democratic State of Congo), and proposes he join their group “African Jazz” to play Congolese music ; Manu takes up the challenge. He features in around forty records, then goes on tour near Kinshasa . This was to be a decisive step.

An idea was gradually taking shape during his life as a well-known musician : to invent a patchwork made up of rich and spirited conversations between jazz and African styles of music. Being of an eclectic mind, listening to the sounds of his era – in 1972 Soul Makossa was the first “French” hit to conquer the States – Manu takes secret pleasure in breaking the musical chapels, building bridges between continents and throwing passageways between tradition and the sounds of future.

The first in France to clear the land where the African wave was well established ; he produced albums and went on tour endlessly with warm, passionate enthusiasm and committed himself to humanitarian causes, giving a hand to young talents along the way. He used his time to create musical scores for African music and ever to write his own autobiography.

Time to call it a day ? Definitely not ! Manu is nearly 70, but he’s not yet ready to put down his saxophone.

In the spring of 1949, when Manu was just 15, his parents sent him to Paris to prepare for a professional career. After twenty-one seasick days he reached Marseilles. He waited for hours until his sponsor showed up and they boarded a crowded train for Paris where he was enrolled in a technical school at Saint-Calais where he finshed his second and third years of high school. Before he came to Saint-Calais the locals there had never seen a black person, thus he became an object of curiosity.

Soon Manu met Francis Bebey, another African expatriate, and together the two began to explore the jazz scene in Calais. They started a band before they really knew how to play the instruments and learned as they went along. Bebey explained twelve bar blues to Manu and finally he began to understand the music of a favorite artist, Duke Ellington. Manu studied classical piano before taking up the saxophone around 1954. Two years later he moved to Brussels and played sax and vibes with various jazz bands. Once in Brussels Manu began to take off as a musician. He met Coco and within a year they decided to stay together, Manu still regards her as his "eternal guardian angel."

Le 12 décembre 1933 naît à Douala au Cameroun Emmanuel N`Djoké Dibango. Son père est issu de l`ethnie Yabassi, sa mère est douala. Cette différence es

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