Monday, April 12, 2004
Emmanuel N'Djoké Dibango was born in Cameroon on December 12, 1933. He studied French in the local “white man’s school”, and was theresafter sent to Marseille in 1949. Manu Dibango achieved skills in mandoline and classical piano before taking up the saxophone around 1954. After finishing his studies in Paris he moved to Brussel where he contributed to the jazz music of various groups.
Manu found Amstrong and Sidney Bechet the emblems of jazz. In 1960, he went to perform his saxophone music in the Brussel night-club Les Anges Noirs. In venue for people of repute from Zaire the western music practised by Manu was not in favour. The man of great talents had an opportunity to find his roots again in African music.
Manu’s first success in Africa was gained together with his new companion Joseph Kabasélé. When the concert tours in his homeland reached the end Manu began his own club business where the orchestras played his own compositions.
In 1973 a huge success was gained in USA. Manu was recognizable for showing the Afro-Americans their new path in jazz music. After the New York fever Atlantic Records bought 150, 000 copies of Manu Dibango’s music. The jazz star was nominated for the Grammy Award for the Best R&B Instrumental Performance.
In 1980 Manu began to record reggae music. The new albums “Ambassaador” and “Gone Clear” featured the Jamaican music of Sly And Robbie. Manu Dibango became famous with his avant-funk movements. On March 14, 1986 the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang awarded Manu with the title “the Medaille des Arts et des Lettres”.
Manu Dibango makes up his music of soul, reggae, spiritual and jazz elements. But he never stops to expand in new directions. Although Manu has not been after perfection and success in his cross-cultural works, it has been said that his contribution to music has had a strong influence on every outstanding contemporary jazz artist of the world.