Artist Profiles: Njacko Backo

Njacko Backo
Njacko Backo

Njacko Backo is a percussionist and singer. He was born in 1958 in the hillside village of Bazu, Cameroon. After studying under his village elders for many years, Njacko Backo left his life and family in Bazu at the age of sixteen, in order to investigate the world beyond. He traveled through over 15 African countries, learning, playing and performing with musicians from the diaspora. He arrived in Amsterdam, ten years later, and it was there that he began to record the sounds he had gleaned from his diverse experiences in Africa.

Njacko put two albums to press during a four-year stint in Holland. He recorded an album entitled Le Destin, as well as a 45” single called Bamileke Reggae, at Amsterdam’s Weekland Studios. These recordings gave him the inspiration and the desire to seek out North American possibilities.

In 1989, Njacko arrived in Montreal, where he collaborated with Canadian and Afro-Canadian artists. In 1992, he recorded Aventure au Desert with his group, Kalimba! Kalimba! In 1996, he released his first CD titled “Nkoni,” followed by the newly released compilation CD, Resurrection, which came out in November 1998. All of his Montreal recordings were produced in Morris Appelbaum’s Silent Sound Studios. Njacko lived in Montreal for a few years and then he moved to Toronto with his family.

Njacko Backo is one of the rare Kalimba players in the western world. Poet, writer, composer, performer and accomplished choreographer, Njacko Backo makes his own instruments, including the Kalimba, the Zaa Koua (African harp) as well as a wide variety of drums and small percussion instruments.

Discography:

Bamileke Reggae (1986)
Le Destin (1988)
Aventure au Desert (1989)
Nkoni (1996)
Resurrection
Lode Yeuk (1999)
Kakoua (2000)
The Conscience of Africa (2003)
Ba Ba Oh (2006)
Ou est l’Amour [Where is the Love] (2009)
Ici Bas Rien Nest Impossible (2013)

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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