Henri Dikongué

C'est la Vie

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When the subject of Cameroon's modern pop of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s comes up, the styles that immediately come to mind are zouk, makossa and so-called "Bikutsi rock" -- all of them fast, dance-oriented and highly energetic. The big names in Cameroon pop (whether it was Les Tetes Brulees or Manu Dibango) were known for bringing dance floors to life, not providing gentle introspection. Offering an interesting alternative to zouk and makossa, Cameroon's Henri Dikongue favors an introspective, sensitive and ballad-heavy approach on C'est La Vie. Reflective and moody songs like "Na Teleye Owa Ngea," "Bulu Bo Windi Tenge" and "Ndutu" are a long way from Les Tetes Brulees' aggressive, hard-swinging Bikutsi rock, which is exactly the point. Dikongue wanted to bring something fresh and unexpected to Cameroon's pop scene, and he accomplishes his goal quite nicely on this rewarding CD. Henri Dikongue is definitely a name worth getting to know.

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