Sally Nyolo an instrumental opus with rustic sounds
Sally Nyolo is one of the most renowned African artist of her time, her first 7 albums, Tribu, Multiculti, Beti, Zaïone, Memory of the World, Night at Fébé, Tiger Run. Are true treats that continue to mark the generations of music lovers around the world. Never before an artist has been able to make such a balanced blend of traditional and modern sounds, former member of the world renowned Belgian band Zap Mama, the musical planet discovered her in 1997 when she was declared the recipient of the Rfi Discovery Award, her album Tribu released in 1996 remains a Masterpiece of reference in the annals of world music, a piece of art which stunned music aficionados of the world by its originality. And the years that followed will simply confirm the talent and originality of this artist whose crucible remains the culture of deep Africa. Introverted and affable she has never hesitated to embark in musical collaborations, with a myriad of artists among the most talented. one of her most recent collaboration Mvet Kora was released in September 2016, she shares the scene with the Guinean Djeli Moussa Diawara, a reference like herself in the vulgarization of the authentic rhythms of Africa. Since Tiger Run released in September, 2014 Sally Nyolo is back with an album produced by Rfi Sony / BMG and Lusafrica. An instrumental opus titled Cameroon, as the name of her country of origin. In the lines that follow she talk about her new ventures , while answering some other question of the time .
Hello Sally we are happy, just like our readers whom several are your fans to have you as the guest star of Flashmag this month. So tell us the years go by and you remain robust artistically speaking what's your secret?
Hello I’m equally happy to be yours this month. For my sturdiness, it is you - the music lovers, the fans, the public - who give the good sap to the tree that I am!
You are indefatigable! Tiger Run came out in 2014 and 3 years later you are back after taking the time to do a collaboration with Djeli Moussa Diawara. How did you manage to release 3 albums in 3 years?
It's above all my desire for creation and music that is insatiable! It is like a desire to breathe, to eat good things ... it never runs out! I often work several projects in parallel, a solo project and collaborative or co-production projects. My social commitments also lead me to make music. Lately, this was the case while advocating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR-Africa), for women's entrepreneurship (network and magazine leaders), against child marriage ( As UNICEF Ambassador) ... The instrumental album Cameroon, made with RFI, is a project that has also mobilized me, because the challenge was to propose instrumental music and illustration that can represent Cameroon and Its richness in audiovisual productions: films, programs, advertisements, etc. These are always stimulating projects and you never get tired ... and besides, I'm used to not sleeping much!
Speaking of Tiger Run if it was necessary to look back at it 2 years after, are you satisfied both with the result of the work and with its reception from the public?
I'm not talking about Tiger Run in the past, because it's an album that I still present to the public. I will defend it on stage until the next solo album release. There are dates scheduled for June and September in France, Cameroon in January 2018. We will probably present it also in October in East Africa. It is a very sensitive and roots album both in its themes and its spirituality. He was awarded the USA Songwriting Competition with the song "Me so sa yen". The song "Kilimanjaro", with the Jamaican Jennifer Barrett, metaphorically focused on Corporate Social Responsibility and has a video clip. We did a lot of press ... But the audience is vast throughout the world, and with each album release, we must take the time to go to see it in each territory ...
In September of last year you released a collaboration album with Djeli Moussa how was this collaboration?
The meeting was very passionate. Both, we are intensely inhabited by the fiber of creation. Djeli in creation mode, is absolutely prolific, and very pleasant! He knows how to propose as well as let himself be led. He perfectly accompanies the rhythms of the forest, which he loves. Family tunes with similar flows have been found in Guinea. For him and me these moments will remain unforgettable. We were like greedy children over the tracks of the album. Djeli and I have known each other for years ... We love our traditions and especially the two leading instruments, the Mvet and the Kora, which speak of these two great traditions Fangs and Mandingo. We both made a super playground, totally new. In addition we had some accomplices, lovers of modern roots sounds at the same time, like James Sanger who came to bring us some of his magic in the treatment of sound. I hope that you will be many to download it, it is available all over the world on the main platforms.
It seems that you make music research or music that is always quaint. Your very authentic repertoire is inscribed in the African crucible you are a pioneer at the world level in Central Africa. Why do you think artists who come from your part of the continent do not always do that kind of music, and even when they play African rhythms they refuse to play traditional instruments like your counterparts in West Africa?
Personally, as a musician, I always assume that music is around us and that all sound can be music. I have this ability to hear music all the time and it makes me a researcher of sounds ... It takes me to the discovery of new instruments with a totally playful approach of different instruments. I also have the ability to divert utensils from everyday life for their sound. This makes a sound universe that is personal to me while being constantly in recomposition ... In Cameroon, musical diversity makes it difficult to take one instrument more than another as a collective symbol. It is true that this diversity should arouse a little more interest of our own artists. This is part of the musical resources like drum machines or the sounds they are already working on. But there are still quite a lot of traditional techniques that have adapted well to modernity, such as the guitar-balafon, the use of the Nkule which is more and more frequent. I also note that the work on the Mvet is also done. It may be less visible, but all that is still alive.
Why did you decide to name your new opus Cameroon?
The title Cameroon is a proposal of RFI, producer of the album, because the album is part of a collection of instrumental titles, classified by countries
During its creation what inspired you?
The album Cameroon is an album for the audio illustration of audiovisual productions. It was therefore necessary to imagine sequences, atmospheres, highlights as for a film. The various emblematic instruments have been sources of inspiration, as well as the geographical places, the ambiences of everyday life, spaces, rites ... The album is an instrumental played with several traditional and modern instruments.
Have you created some new instrument outside of your reviewed and corrected Mvet?
Apart from my revised and corrected mvet, I had fun with everything: ballets, iron plates, pebbles, boxes, bottles ... all kinds of everyday objects that I hijack for music.
Where is this opus available?
It is available for downloading from the RFI Instrumental online platform (https://www.rfi-instrumental.com/en/albums/cameroun) . For professional use, read the operating instructions carefully.
In which category do you place this new album, in the development of your career, it represents what?
It is a great opportunity offered here by RFI, that see the music of Cameroon enter all the layers of music creation and consumption. Because it could be used to public spaces as commercial, author's films, reportages, fictions ... It is the possibility for our sounds, to penetrate other spaces. That's wonderful! In my career, it is a recognition to be called on other production grounds.
If you had to talk about the goals you want to achieve with this new production what will you say?
The Album Cameroon will be used in very beautiful films or even in advertisements used massively!
You have been seen engaged in other domains such as women's leadership and the status of women in general do you think it is important for artists to become more and more aware of their weight in the influence of Society and this goes in both directions the positive as the negative?
Everyone uses his notoriety as he (she) wants and therefore with a sensitivity that is personal to him (her). My commitments are linked to the themes of my songs. They reflect what I see, what I observe and what I think. They are another duplication. Outside the scenes, I do not like mundane life too much ... I always agree to do it to defend specific causes.
Last month we received a Malian artist who felt that African musicians had everything to gain by remaining authentic rather than copying others. Fatoumata Diawara estimated That respect is acquired with authenticity and reference to one roots. If I assume that you should probably share this opinion, I would like to know if you have taken some steps to inculcate these cultural and authentic values to the new generation some of which seem to be content to copy what they see elsewhere.
Being authentic ' Is to be oneself. I think we should encourage the younger generation to work on its cultural identity, with some referents with a vision for the future. Because it is constantly evolving. Traditional resources must be reinvested in several ways so that young people can rediscover them and take them on their own modern journey, so that they can also have fun with ... For years I have been supporting young artists who experiment, notably in the disc, original forms of dialogue with the traditions. I have a number of projects in progress on this subject, and I will tell you more about them soon ...
As we are closing this talk Sally Nyolo Flashmag and its readers thank you for this cordial and open exchange. But before you leave, do you have some hot dates that would allow the fans to discover your new opus on stage?
I thank Flashmag and all its readers, friends and fans. It was a great pleasure for me to come and talk with you. I’m looking forward to see you on stage soon, for the heritage days in September in France, and at the IFC in Yaoundé in January. For information on the water trail , follow me on Facebook or on my web site www.sallynyolo.com !
Interview by Hubert Marlin E. Jr.