Like Manu Dibango, Ekambi Brilliant was a jewel on Cameroon’s music scene

“Mama se mama sa mama makossa ….” –  The infectious Manu-Dibango hook which Michael Jackson and Rihanna sampled for “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and “Don’t Stop the Music,” respectively, testify how fab rhythms from Douala (Cameroon) rocked their way to the most envied studios of the world.

For the records, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ was track 1 on MJ’s 1982 Thriller opus which was certified platinum 34 times, while Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna struck platinum 4 times since its 2007 release.
Like Jackson in June 2009, Papa Manu left the stage in March 2020 due to COVID-19, but their music has outlived them. No less, are the acts of iconic showman Ekambi Brilliant who died on Monday December 12, 2022. Mot’a Muenya (meaning “celebrity” or even “super star” as he liked to be called) did Cameroon proud on the musical scene from the 70’s to the 2010’s.
As a first-time listener to Mot’a Muenya’s uniquely light hoarse voice, you could wonder if he’s “some guy trying to sing”. But once you stay on for a good 15 seconds and let the mellow alchemy between his voice and his roll-to-crescendo rhythm waft through your head, your heart is pampered, and your mind is hooked!  And like Oliver Twist, you’d ask for more.
From immersive slows such as Elongi, Ida and Musungedi to soulful beats as Aboki and Ekila, Mot’a Muenya makes you realise Cameroon is home to more than one rhythmic master. And heaven knows many of them, from Ebanda Mamfred (whose early ballad – Amie/Amio got the reprise of the 20th century from wonder-woman Bébé Manga and, later, a score of others around the world), through Lapiro de Mbanga, Messi Matin, Anne Marie Nzie, the poetic Etub’ Anyang to Zanzibar, kept the Cameroonian stage alive and bequeathed their pricey instruments to yet another generation of signature artistes. The artistes, 50 of whom are listed below alphabetically but non-exhaustively, are as alive today through their works, as never before.
1.     Achalle
2.     Ali Baba
3.     Anne Marie Nzié
4.     Avenir Ava
5.     Axel Mouna
6.     Bébé Manga
7.     Bebey Black 
8.     Bella Njoh
9.     Betti Betti
10. Charlotte Mbango
11. Claude Ndam
12. Ebanda Mamfred
13. Eboa Lotin
14. Ekambi Brilliant
15. Etub’ Anyang
16. Fhish
17. Francis Bebey
18. Francis Dom
19. Geo William Masso
20. Guy Lobe
21. Jacob Nguni
22. Jean Bikoko Aladin
23. Joe Mboule
24. Kotto Bass 
25. Lapiro de Mbanga
26. Liza T
27. Maurice Njoume 
28. Mbarga Soukouss
29. Mekongo Président 
30. Messi Matin
31. Mystic Djim
32. Ngea Laroute
33. Nkembe Pesauk
34. Nkodo Sitony
35. Nkotti François (Grand Desto)
36. Ntoumba Minka
37. Manu Dibango (Papa Manu)
38. Pierre de Moussy
39. Prince Nico Mbarga [Nigerian mother, Cameroonian father]
40. Roger Bekono
41. Sala Bekono
42. Sammy Mafany
43. Samson Chaud Gars
44. Tchana Pierre
45. Tino Mbarga
46. Tjap’s
47. Tom Yom’s
48. Vincent Nguini
49. Wes Madiko
50. Zanzibar 

By Abel Akara Ticha;

a cultural/development communication and advocacy professional with two decades of combined experience from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Capacity Building Foundation, the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the Cameroon Radio Television.
Ekambi Brilliant  by Geugeor from wikimedia commons
Ekambi Brillant by Max MBAKOP, Wikimedia Commons

Elvis Teke

Journalist, Online Reporter, News Presenter, Programme Anchor, Peace Advocate, Geo-strategist,

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