San Francisco (California), USA – The latest production by Cameroonian singer Sally Nyolo is Studio Cameroon. Nyolo worked for many years in Europe and became a familiar name to world music fans after she joined the seminal group Zap Mama. In 1998, Nyolo returned to her native Cameroon. With her skills as a producer, she had the idea of recording some of the best new artists in her country.
She opened a modest studio in Yaunde, the capital of Cameroon. With help from the local media she put the word out about her intentions of recording musicians who play music based in Cameroonian traditions. Many musicians answered her call and the result is the rootsy and intimate Studio Cameroon, an album with 14 songs. As Sally says, ‘these artists came with a lot of magic and I wanted to inject this into the recording. It was more down to them than me. I just heard the beautiful things they brought me.’
Amongst the musical finds on the album are Gueyanka, who contributes the hypnotic and funky, ‘Souris – Moi.’ Sally says of Gueyanka; ‘There is something about her that reminds me of Miriam Makeba.’
Gisele Mvo Anji was recommended to Sally after one of her TV broadcasts and her track ‘Djim Miadje’ also features her brother, the brilliantly named Gervais Mango. The Bidjoï Sisters are students from the school in Sally’s old village. Their song ‘Chantea’ is a poignant and captivating song about their deaf sister – a gentle combination of street vibes and delicate chanting.
D’Embazo Star De Nkometous is an alias of musician Mbassi Emmananuel. He was tracked down by Sally in a small village after his music drifted into her room as she tried to sleep one night. She admits to ‘falling in love with the sound’ and persuaded him to commit his lilting balafon, guitars and vocal’s to tape.
Mandeng was recommended as a great talent by the chief of his village and was sent to see Sally. He demonstrates his hypnotic use of ancestral sounds on the track, ‘Mote Atane.’ This track, like Orchestre D’Essono’s highlife-influenced, ‘La Vie’ is a reflection on manners and correct behavior, with the call-and-response vocals bringing the whole room into the debate.
Buy the CD from Amazon UK: Studio Cameroon (not available in North America until November)