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(CAMERUN, 1995) @
Henri Dikongué (born 1967) is a Cameroonian singer and guitarist.
Dikongué was born in Douala to a family of musicians. He attended a school music in Paris, where he attempted unsuccessfully to release a first album. He started a music/acting troupe and worked with actor Martin Yog and musicians Alfred M'Bongo and Manuel Wandji, as well as Maranatha, a South African chorus.
After finally choosing to settle in Paris in 1989, he perfected his skills with classical guitar and collaborated with African musicians such as Manu Dibango and Papa Wemba. In 1995 he released his first album, Wa. His music mixes elements from makossa, bikutsi, reggae and rumba. He sings in his native tongue, Duala.
His second album, C'est la vie, was released in 1997 (in the US under the Tinder Records label) and sold about 10, 000 copies. Between 1997 and 1998, he toured Germany and the United States.
His third album, N'oublie jamais, was released in 2000. This album incorporated more musical styles such as reggae and flamenco, but the album wasn't as successful as his previous works.
Henri Dikongué made his worldwide mark with 1998's C'est la Vie, an album of gentle sophistication and sweet pop grooves. He comes from Cameroon but his music is an amalgam of West African folk, reggae, and Parisian pop; a worldly mix that is light and airy, reminiscent of Cesaria Evora or the easygoing side of Tropicalia in Brazil. A gorgeous, high-toned voice with a strong vibrato and an acoustic guitar dominate the whole sound, with flutes, saxophone, and percussion acting more as a cushion than as a strong component of the music. This album, originally released in Europe in 1995, has a slightly better edge than the more recent C'est la Vie, with some stronger vocal deliveries and a bit more groove to it, but either recording would be highly recommend for listeners looking for a little respite from "the big beat" of makossa, soukous, and other more popular styles from Africa.
1. Ho A Muto 2. Alasso 3. Africa 4. Ndolo 5. Ndutam Nya Longue 6. Ndedi Namba 7. Wa 8. Nabolane Wa Mbobe 9. Nama Poula Ndena 10. Missodi