Wandji Manuel

(Website)

With a father from Cameroon and a French mother, cross-culture is at the very roots of his creative talent. A musician (percussionist, drummer, singer), composer and producer, Manuel Wandji was born the 5th of April 1961 in Nancy (France), where his father was studying. 1970, as a small boy, Manuel discovers his second homeland when the family return to Cameroon, settling down in Yaounde. A time of real musical education begins as he opens himself to the world and sounds of the equatorial forests and to traditional music. Much later, in his adolescence he is drawn to the slum areas to hear groups playing live music. The atmosphere is hot! Irresistible! Manuel begins beating out rhythms with his school pals. This leads to a band – “Z”, the first concerts, his first drum set. At 18 Manuel feels the need for a change tempo and takes off for France. 1980, while continuing his studies in Besançon, he discovers new musical styles and obtains further experience in artistic conception (studio management) with the groups EMBALLAGE PERDU (jazz-fusion) and ZAMAL (reggae). 1984, He encounters the world of dance, for which he continues to compose modern, African and contemporary pieces. In 1986, he creates “METISSAGES” Dance Company and trains as a dancer while creating music for their shows. 1987, he meets Alfred M’BONGO and Henri DIKONGUE for the stage show “MASQUES & TAM-TAM”. 1988, Moving to Paris, Manuel Wandji meets Ray LEMA and tours with PAPA WEMBA. In constant search of new experiences and sources of inspiration he works with groups playing Blues, Rock and Jazz and tours with Geoffrey ORYEMA (1993-94). 1992, a cherished dream comes true – he creates his own recording studio and business – WAMBO Productions was born. 1994, with Alfred M’BONGO he brings out the album “RADIO TROTTOIR” and also the album “PORTRAITS”, (creations for dance – vol. 1). 1994/95, invited on prime-time TV show “Nulle part ailleurs” on CANAL+ to accompany artists such as : Manu DIBANGO, Tom JONES, KENT, Ben HARPER and many others. 1995, Manuel produces and arranges Henri DIKONGUÉ, “WA”, and tours with him for 4 years all over the world. 1996, album “EN ATTENDANT LA PLUIE” (creations for dance- vol. 2). 1997, he produces and arranges the second Henri DIKONGUÉ album, “C’EST LA VIE”. Tours with JAMBO MAMBO (Acrobats from Kenya)1998/99, album “RHYTHMS OF LIFE”, a cross-cultural blend of percussions, voices and electronic sounds. 2000, album “JUNGLE TO CITY” (creations for dance- vol. 3). 2001, tour with the Madagascan accordeonist Régis GIZAVO. 2002, album “SPIRIT OF ROOTS”- a cross-cultural blend of percussions, vocals and electronic sounds. 2003, Pierre AKENDENGUÉ came from Gabon to record his new CD in the WAMBOLAND studio recording with Manuel WANDJI on percussions. 2002, album “SPIRIT OF ROOTS”- a cross-cultural blend of percussions, vocals and electronic sounds. 2003, Pierre AKENDENGUÉ came from Gabon to record his new CD in the WAMBOLAND studio recording with Manuel WANDJI on percussions. 2005, First album as author composer who will go out under the pen name of WAMBO.

Albums

Planet Groove

Label: Wambo Productions - MW011
Distribution in France: Codaex
Release date: September 22, 2005

After ” Rhythms of life ” and ” Spirit of roots ”, Manuel Wandji is back with a new, poly-rhythmic production.

A subtle mix of urban and traditional sound, “Planet groove” is an album that is rich in colours and in timbres. Wandji, who is an excellent percussionist and composer, creates music particularly for hip hop and African based dance companies and choreographers. These 16 titles are dedicated to movement: “TEOU” with its tribal groove (co-written with didgeridoo player Lionel Béchir) contrasts with “AMATCHI” a rhythmic ballad based on sanza and the rural chants of Africa. “LA ROUE” pulls us into a explosive march, “BISSO NA BISSO” revisits the famous kwasa-kwasa (urban beat from the Congo). The melodic percussionist develops the art of poly-rhythmics dear to his African heritage : Djembes, balafons and other percussion instruments mix and incite movement- an irresistible call ! But this album also leaves a big place for the vocals: in addition to Manuel Wandji’s own voice (listen to the airy “LONGUE DI DODI” sung in the Douala language), we discover the singer from Cameroon Charlotte Dipanda on “DI MENGUELE OA”. A pure acoustic sound with a sophisticated electronic style mix ; Manuel Wandji opens wide the doors to a Continent of Africa that is modern, positive and forward looking.

Wandji Manuel  - Planet Groove

Spirit of roots

Label: Wambo Productions - MW009
Distribution in France: Night&Day
Release date: January 01, 2002

Wandji Manuel  - Spirit of roots

Rythms of life

Label: Wambo Productions - MW007
Distribution in France: Night&Day
Release date: January 01, 1999

Wandji Manuel  - Rythms of life