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Lapiro de Mbanga from Cameroon.  Frantic desperate as if he is trying to get every note out before it’s too late.  Guitar arpeggios spilling forth like marbles on a drum skin, and drum skins slapped like the snap of a string.  He sings like there is no other choice, if he didn’t sing he would explode.

And do you know why?  He had to!  He had to be as quick to scold as he was to sing.  Because he sang truth to power.  Cardinals, imams, and especially Grand Pablo, his name for Paul Biya, president of Cameroon since 1982 – no enemy of democracy escaped Lapiro’s lashings.   And for his truth, Grand Pablo and a kangaroo court buried him in prison for three years.  Listen!  Dance!  Rare is the courage that drives a musician to pay such a price for his art!

Lapiro de Mbanga.  Ndinga Man Contre-Attaque: Na Wou Go Pay?  Label Bleu/Indigo, LBLC 2506 (1992).  Artistic Direction – Frank Tenaille; Graphic Design – Jacques LeClercq-K.