Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango known as ‘Manu Dibango’ was born 12th  December, 1933. He is a Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphone player. A vibraphone is  a percussion instrument with electrically driven resonators beneath a set of metal bars that are struck with small mallets or sometimes played with a bow, causing vibration.



Manu Dibango

He developed a musical style merging jazz, funk and traditional Cameroonian music. He is a member of the Yabassi ethnic group, though his mother was from the Duala region in Cameroon. He is best known for his 1972 single ‘Soul Makossa’.

The song ‘Soul Makossa’ on the record of the same name contains the lyrics “makossa”, which means ‘dance’ in the Cameroonian language, Duala. It has influenced several popular music hits, including Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Startin Somethin’, as well as his re-recording of that song with Akon, the Fugees’ ‘Cowboys’, and Rihanna’s ‘Don’t Stop the Music’.


Manu Dibango

He was a member of the seminal Congolese rumba group African Jazz, and has collaborated with many other musicians, including Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Don Cherry, and Sly and Robbie. In 1998 he recorded the album CubAfrica with Cuban artist Eliades Ochoa.

Soul Makossa 2.0

The 1982 imitation song ‘Boogie In Your Butt’ by American comedian Eddie Murphy includes insets of Soul Makossa’s bass-line and horn charts while ‘Butt Naked Booty Bless’ by 1990s hip hop group Poor Righteous Teachers heavily samples its musical bridge and drum patterns.

He served as the first chairman of the Cameroon Music Corporation, with a high profile in disputes about artists’ royalties. Dibango was appointed a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2004.

Dibango’s ‘Reggae Makossa’ is featured on the soundtrack to the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours. In August 2009 he played the closing concert at the revived Brecon Jazz Festival.

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