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Jazz Music Thrills Yaounde Population 

By Jude Fuhnwi — An atmosphere of ecstasy gripped the Cameroon Cultural Center, CCC, in Yaoundé, as jazz music lovers and singers converged to celebrate the second edition of the International Jazz day. Celebrated on Friday, May 03, it was also an occasion for the Ministry of Arts and Culture, MINCULT, to reopen the CCC which hosted the event.


Dubbed “Jazz Nite”, the event witnessed the performances of both local and international artists from the United States of America and France. Cameroonian artists like Boma and the band “Vibration” amongst others, transformed the atmosphere to a buzz with their scintillating performances. The Cameroonian international musician, Julie, shook her audience to fanfare with her afro-tropical jazz music.

Julie had worked in Cameroon as an engineer before travelling to France, Switzerland and other countries where she embraced a career in music, thus it was the first time for her to hit the stage back home. Another artist who attracted loud applauses from the audience is the Cameroonian born, US-based jazz musician and guitarist, André Manga. His perfect mastery of the guitar left the audience shouting and clapping impulsively to his rhythm.

“It is an expression of my passion about who we are, and I’m happy to come back to my homeland and serve my people with music,” Manga told The Post. The big surprise of the show came when the all star female jazz band known as “Jazz in Pink” from the USA took the stage. The group of six radiated talent, beauty, power and feminism, as it embraced the stage with pomp and pageantry. Their undisputed mastery of jazz, pop and orchestral instruments virtually shook the crowd off their feet.

High personalities like the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Robert P. Jackson, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Ama Tutu Muna and the Vice Prime Minister, in charge of Relations with the Assembly, Amadou Ali, looked overwhelmed by the ladies’ performance and could not help expressing their joy, either by applauding or swinging to their rhythm. “I loved everything about the show,” said Minister Ama.

Jazz in Pink’s perfect combination of the acoustic and electric guitar, saxophone, drum kit, strings and the piano could not, but crown “Jazz Nite” in what Miles Dewey Davis will describe as “a set of skipped heartbeat”. “We are having so much fun in your wonderful country. Thank you so much for inviting us.” said Darlene Moreno, a member of the band. “I love the weather, the people, and the food. You people are just wonderful,” added another.

The origin of Jazz music could be traced to New Orleans, where Black American slaves created the genre and played what they termed “songs of freedom” to relieve themselves of slavery.
According to MINCULT officials, the genre has been declining in Cameroon from the sixties. Thus, initiatives like “Jazz Nite” are expected to revive the music genre in the country. Some prominent Jazz artists in Cameroon are Manu Dibango, Richard Bona and Luis Armstrong.

First published in the Post print edition no 01429

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