Music has genres which hail from culture. Every country in the world has her genres of music with some overlapping based on human interaction mostly common to border nations.
In Cameroon, we have makossa, Bikutsi, Salsa (patchanga), njang, bottle dance etc. Cameroon music and artists over the years suffered global marketing and exposure that led to some of them emigrating to the diaspora for greener pastures. Thanks to people like Jean Pierre Sart (GPS production), people like Sergio Polo exploded and we could see an upgrade of audiovisual makossa products. Petit Pays is self-made and there’s a limit to which he could plough back into his product and elevate makossa to global recognition.
Our brand of music sells itself no doubt but needs some cash to be poured into it to bring it to the world market. This is the problem with Cameroonian music. Today we have disappeared in the music world, not because we don’t do good music but because our brand is suffering the Nokia effect in the android generation.
Like Muna Tay Tay said , Anglophones that love Cameroonian brand of music can be handpicked because we have abandon our own music in favor of foreign products. I have witnessed it first hand meanwhile, my francophone brothers will not trade bensikin or bikutsi over Naija music. That’s why I like going to their parties here in the US. Like Suh Remy said, afrobeat, which is selling brand nowadays have been patronized and monopolized by Nigeria.
Look at it, Naija music has taken over the continent and the world and even put Ghana’s azonto on their knees. Why? Because they invest cash in the product with their large immigrant population, the results speak for itself. Now what’s wrong with Cameroon music; my observation has seen our genre slowly being abandoned in favor of a brand (afrobeat) that’s not ours. Prince Nico Mbarga and Fella Ransome Kuti have been doing afrobeat which the present generation in Nigeria have upgraded.
Now we have our generation of artists abandoning their genres for afrobeat, an area where there are absolutely no grounds for competition. I remember when Stanley Enow came up with “hein père” in 2013 and there was an Internet storm with a “Kamer Taking Over” slogan .We are in 2016, what happened? Mind you that by then it was just a handful popular names like Flavor, Timaya, Don Jazzy, Davido, Wiz Kid…
Now Naija has produced more than a score of new acts that are keeping them on top. Yemi Alade, Techno, Kiss Daniel, Erricson, Mc Galaxy, Iyanya you name them… Where can Magasco and the likes fit in this genre on the international scenes? Like Suh Remmy sighted, these guys are their product and are just so good to be abandoned for our generation of artists in the same hustle.
Meanwhile in other areas, Ivorians are upgrading zouglou which is the soft melodious music done by Espoir 2000, Magic System, Pétit Yodé et l’Enfant Siro and upgrading coupé décalé as well with Arafat and Serge Beynaud on the billboards, we also see La roumba Congolese and Générique(ndombollo ) being upgraded by Fally Ipupa, Férré Gola, Fabregas, Koffi, JB Mpiana and Roga Roga’s extra musica. South Africa’s Kizomba and Zouk are on the same wavelengths. Did we see them abandon their genre for afrobeat? Mark Bareta you can answer that question.
I have been called stuck in the past and retarded when I vocally express my views and opinions on the way forward of Cameroonian music. I am that person you will hear some makossa soft echoing from my window on weekend mornings, I listen to Henri Dikongue and Beka Tobi even while working.
I am impressed by our current bikutsi ladies(Lady Ponce, Coco Argenté et Mani Bélla), they have upgraded a faction of our brand, that’s why you can hear their music playing in a foreigner’s car, that is where I think Makossa failed. I met a man from Haiti last year in Minnesota and when I told him I am from Cameroon he said “oh how is San Fan Thomas” I was amazed that makossa has once been a worldwide music.
My take is, let’s encourage and invest in our own brand, I mean we already have a readymade product that needs upgrade and marketing strategies to bring to world recognition, why are we abandoning for another country’s product that we can barely stand a chance? A few people can be anointed to make it pass a mediocre level but let’s not be fooled, when reality check sets in, we do not stand a chance!
By Leonard Lekefua for BaretaNews