Wow. Wao. Wouaou. We rang in July 4th this year in style with very special guest Henri Dikongue who was in town for a gala concert right here in Takoma Park. Our good friend Joseph “Kobo” Mouliom brought us into the band’s rehearsal and we were delighted to invite Henri on the show the next day. Henri Dikongue is a bonafide superstar of Cameroonian music, based in France but finding success back home and around the globe.
Henri emerged on the global music scene in 1997 with his first hit, “C’est La Vie”, off his album of the same name. He has since released three more albums and worked with the likes of Manu Dibango and Papa Wemba. Henri’s latest release is entitled “Diaspora” (2016, Buda Musique) and showcases his unique and wonderful blend of Cameroonian roots and cosmopolitan experience.
We got a late start on the interview and were translating between French and English as we went but Henri’s warm spirit and thoughtful, collaborative approach to music shine through. We talked about his creative process, about what to expect at his live shows and more. The real highlights of the visit though, were the three songs Henri played and sang live on-air, all of which are included in the interview below. His voice is inimitable, a lovely blend of Cameroonian phrasing with French chansonnier tonalities.
But the fun didn’t end at the radio station. Henri and Kobo came back to our recording studio for a little jam as well. Cameras were rolling at the rehearsal, radio station and in the studio so we’ll have some fun video coming soon. But for now we invite you to sit back and listen to Henri talk, sing and play. It’s a real treat!
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[Click play at the top of this post to hear our interview and Henri’s live performances]