Tag Archives: Equatorial Guinea

Artist Profiles: Hijas del Sol

Hijas del Sol

Piruchi Apo Botupá and her niece Paloma Loribo Apo began singing and performing in their home town on the island of Bioko, off the coast of Equatorial Guinea in western Africa. Having achieved all that they could in their native country, they moved to Spain in 1993. Their home, their culture, their traditions, and equally the sense of alienation arising from being in a strange land, and the problems of modern life, strongly color their lyrics.

From the time they began singing, Piruchi and Paloma strongly emphasized the importance of their Bubi traditions. Bubi is the native language of Bioko, one of four hundred dialects of Bantu spread across central Africa. Because of the Spanish colonization, Spanish had become the official language during their parents’ childhood, and not only language but also the traditions of storytelling, dancing, and singing, among others, began to disappear. Fearing that in another generation, all the traditions, whether arts or ways of raising children, would be completely gone, Sibèba included traditional fertility rites and invocations in their material, and used traditional music with their contemporary lyrics about the importance of maintaining their own culture in their performances.

In an interview, Piruchi pointed out that they have no intention of attacking modernity. “What we are attempting is to make people understand that you can’t destroy what others have done before in order to be modern. How can you have an identity without culture and tradition? No matter how far you’ve gone, you can’t lose sight of who you are and where you came from.”

Discography:

Sibeba (Nubenegra, 1995)
Kottó (Nubenegra/Intuition, 1998)
Kchaba (Nubenegra/Intuition, 2000)

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Obama – Déjenlos Hablar, the Sounds of Equatorial Guinea

Obama – Déjenlos Hablar

Madrid, Spain – After having worked with most Equatorial Guinean artists in the fields of production and arrangements, Obama now presents his first solo work. Déjenlos Hablar (Let Them Talk) on Kelson Music (kel-104) is a CD full of warm and “danceable” rhythms of the Africa that surrounds the Gulf of Guinea, a melting pot of cultures. For that reason, Obama mixes several languages (Fang, Bubi, Spanish, French, Bisio), and the musical styles of the area (Crushing, Aziko, etc. ) with Latin beats. His lyrics tell  stories of love and nostalgia from his homeland of Equatorial Guinea, without forgetting social issues.

The album Déjenlos Hablar is dedicated to his grandmother Anita Etunu, who became famous with her group Mebana Asang. Obama learned the first percussion rhythms thanks to that group, whose instruments were always around him until he entered the Etofili Revolución Fiesta orchestra in 1976, in Malabo.

Born 10 kilometers from Malabo –the capital of Equatorial Guinea–, Obama began his career as supporting drummer for the Etofili Revolución Fiesta Big Orchestra, while attending high school. He won his first award in the Festival-Contest of the French Song in the category of vocal percussion and carried up musical training in: sound, trap drums, percussion and acoustic guitar.

In order to continue his education, Obama moved to Paris, where he deepened his musical training in several instruments, like piano and drum kit, and in musical computer science at the prestigious CIM Ecole de Jazz et Musique Moderne, a school frequented by well-known musicians like Angelique Kidjo, Lokua Kanza, Zap Mama, etc. Obama was the composer and producer of the song Valencia,
with which Hijas del Sol and Besosso entered the OTI Festival in 1992.

Obama took part in Brazzaville Congo 96 in the framework of a symposium for the development of African music, FESPAM 96.

Obama has worked in musical productions and concerts with the following artists: Eko Roosevelt, Bessoso, Maele, Efamba, Eu Ma, Pina Bessosa, Phillip Selam, Aldo Romano, Sydney Thyam, Baron ya Buk-lu, Djambutou, Africa Lisanga, Diengoz, Moana Sinepi, Mastho Ribocho, etc. He also performed the song Kulu Ngile, which appeared in one of the recent Carlsberg commercials.

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