Njacko Backo & Kalimba Kalimba
Here Below, Nothing is Impossible – Ici Bas, Rien N’est Impossible (independent release NB2013, 2013)
Cameroonian kalimba virtuoso Njacko Backo is a well-known name in the Canadian African music circuit. He’s been living in Canada for 24 years and has entertained audiences throughout Canada with his mesmerizing kalimba sounds. His latest musical effort, titled Here Below, Nothing is Impossible, features a mix a thrilling kalimba fusion pieces along with French and English-language Afropop for the less adventurous.
Highlights include the beautiful melodic piece ‘Randonée de la Paix’ with a mesmerizing fusion of intertwined kalimba, sitar, flute and brass; the energetic bass-driven ‘Ma Verité’; the unconventional blend of layered kalimba, vocals and bagpipes in ‘Nkoni Meu Nkouou’; the relaxing ‘Kalimba Je T’aime’ with a great combination of kalimba, sitar, udu and dilruba; and the tasty Afro-Celtic jazz in ’Sentier de ‘l’amour.’
“I have finally created an album that puts the kalimba (the long) where I have always dreamed it would be,” says Njacko Backo. “Over the past 24 years, I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the greatest musicians in Canada. Many of those talented musicians have collaborated with me on this album and I am forever grateful for their generosity, sensitivity and expertise.”
The album lineup includes Njacko Backo on lead vocals, kalimba, bass kalimba, congas, djembe, ashiko, cow bells, shakers, shakere, vibraslap, flexitone, African telephone; Celina Carroll on backing vocals; Anne Lederman on violin, accordion, viola, backing vocals; Joaquin Núñez Hidalgo on timbales, udu; Paco Luviano on electric bass; Chip Yarwood on flute, banjo; Altaf “Bwana Moto” Vellani on drum kit, congas, tama (talking drum), cow bells, shekere; and Valery Woloshyn on kalimba, bass kalimba
Guest musicians are Anne Bourne on cello; Jane Bunnett on soprano sax, piccolo, flute; Gareth Burgess on steel pan; Andrew Byerlay on lead vocals; Larry Cramer on trumpet; Mohamad Diaby on jembe; Kassoum Diamoutene on balafon; Colin Dorschuk on grand piano, guitar, backing vocals; George Koller on sitar, dilruba; Todd Martin on balafon; Paul Neufeld on Wurlitzer electric piano, Hohner clavinet, organ, Korg synthesizer, bass; Pat O’Gorman on Great Highland bagpipes, Irish uilleann pipes; Heather Ryan on oboe;
Sahara Sloan on backing vocals; Ken Whiteley on long neck banjo, 5 string banjo, cello banjo, tenor banjo.
Other recordings available include Where is the Love / Où est l’Amour (2009), the DVD Mama Oh (2008), Ba Ba Oh (2006), The Conscience of Africa (2003), Kakoua (2000), Lode Yeuk (1999), Nkoni (1996), Resurrection (1992), Aventure au Desert (1992), Le Destin (1988) and Bamileke Reggae (1986).
On Here Below, Nothing is Impossible, kalimba maestro Njacko Backo brings together the extraordinary sounds of the kalimba with a vibrant collection of traditional and modern musical instruments and engaging world beat rhythms.
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.