Manu Dibango, one of the symbols of African music, has detailed his life in the book Three kilos of coffee: the life of the father of Afro-Music, also translated into Italian (by EDT).
Summed up in a few lines it sounds like this: he was born December 12, 1933 in Douala, Cameroon; in 1949 he went to France, Marseilles, then to Reims and Paris where he studied and started playing in jazz clubs; in 1960, following the wave of independence movements, he visited several African countries; in 1969 he began to collaborate with the singer-songwriter Nino Ferrer; in 1972 he recorded “Soul Makossa”, an authentic fusion between tradition and modernity which sold millions of copies.
From here on follow albums, tours around the world and Manu Dibango rises to stardom: musical success comes with many institutional awards, honorary citizenships, knighthoods, until the appointment, in 2004, as “Artist for Peace” by UNESCO.
In short, Manu Dibango is a personality that fears few rivals for his charisma. In 2019 the “Lion of Africa” will celebrate 60 years of an extraordinary musical career that has seen him record seventy albums, collaborate with many international artists, African and non (from Fela Kuti to Fania All Stars, from Don Cherry to Peter Gabriel, from King Sunny Ade to Angelique Kidjo, from Youssou N’Dour to the South Africans Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and also Jovanotti).
Jazz is part of his background of which he has always been a reference point: years ago he paid tribute to Sidney Bechet and more recently he has recorded a ballad album, Ballad Emotion.