Manu Dibango, the Cameroonian musician celebrated for his blend of jazz, funk and traditional West African styles, has died aged 86 in a Paris hospital after contracting Covid-19. A message on his Facebook page announced the news with “deep sadness”, and added: “His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organised when possible.” Dibango was born in 1933 in Douala, Cameroon. He attended high school in France and began learning instruments: first the piano, then saxophone – for which he became best known – and vibraphone. “The blacks that we saw [in France] were either boxers like Sugar Ray Robinson – or jazzmen,” he remembered in a 2018 interview. “So, we ended up going down to the cellars in Paris, where we could see the [Louis] Armstrongs and the Count Basies with whom we identified.” He blended the cosmopolitan styles from Africa and Europe into his own fusion, resulting in his biggest hit, Soul Makossa, with a blazing saxophone line over a breakbeat and Dibango’s spoken vocals, originally written for the 1972 African Cup of Nations football tournament.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN