MP3 Wax - African Dream
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12 MP3 Songs in this album (54:09) !
Related styles: URBAN/R&B: Soul, WORLD: World Beat
People who are interested in Joan Armatrading Richard Bona John Legend should consider this download.
Wax has donned the ribbon on his best work yet, the semi-biographical album âAfrican dreamâ, to be released in July 2009. In the album, he tells stories of love and war, drawing blood from afropessimists, celebrating love with beautiful urban soul rhythms, and strengthening his appeal as a humanitarian activist. Listeners can expect to experience a Wax again reinvented, delivering a conservative yet universal urban sound that will entrance listeners for ages to come. The first single from the album, âMiss Real, Mr Regularâ is quickly becoming a sing-along in many parts of the world: it defines Waxâ unique vocal charm, and is sure to mark the rise of one of the worldâs finest soul singers. Think Joan Amatrading meets The Cure. With a youthful, contemporary touch of Africa.
"My new album is African Dream, and that is what itâs all about. The fact that you could see a child on TV and this child is desperate and hungry. Yes the child does need food, but it doesnât end there, that child, has a brain that could produce a business idea like Facebook, that could build a plane, that child could be anything because a child has that ability," he said. (The Sowetan Online, 9 June 2009)
Born in the politically radical city of Bamenda in Cameroon in 1981, Wax, aka Nde Ndifonka, has made a mark across the African continent as one of Africaâs influential youngsters, excelling as a social activist, humanitarian, renaissance writer and musician.
In 2006 world music specialist, Richard Nwamba declared that Cameroon had found a youngster capable of walking into the shoes of Richard Bona or Sally Nyolo.
The profoundness of Waxâ artistic disposition was evident when he first appeared on TV as a dreadlocked youngster singing passionately about the plight of Ali Abbas of Iraq, a kid who had lost his limbs and entire family in the Iraq war. Ali was fitted with new arms after a media commotion. In the song, Ali Gets His Arms, Wax protests âAli gets his arms, but he has no one to run toâ. Lines like this have endeared him as a writer and a musician to listeners across the continent and the world.
âAfrican Soulâ, his 2008 release propelled Wax to the stature of a respected afrosoul icon. âAfrican Soulâ is a musical journey through a penniless youngsterâs bold move from Cameroon through, several international borders, to South Africa where he finally gets a chance to pursue his African Dream. It is a story that has been adopted by the City of Joburg in their latest international ârealityâ tourism campaign, a campaign that uses Waxâ image and achievements to attract other entrepreneurial youths to the City of Gold.
But Wax represents more that a new generation of thoughtful young African artists who take pride in the African music artform. Wax has simultaneously achieved success in different challenging fields within six years of his arrival in South Africa, establishing himself as a media entrepreneur, humanitarian activist, and even as a university tutor, while investing in the cultural development of youths like himself across the continent.
Wax has donned the ribbon on his best work yet, the semi-biographical album âAfrican dreamâ, to be released in July 2009. In the album, he tells stories of love and war, drawing blood from afropessimists, celebrating love with beautiful urban soul rhythms, and strengthening his appeal as a humanitarian activist. Listeners can expect to experience a Wax again reinvented, delivering a conservative yet universal urban sound that will entrance listeners for ages to come. The first single from the album, âMiss Real, Mr Regularâ defines Waxâ unique vocal charm, and is sure to mark the rise of one of the worldâs finest soul singers. Think Joan Amatrading meets The Cure. With a youthful, contemporary touch of Africa.
The Early Days
Wax was born, and grew up in the politically radical city of Bamenda in Cameroon. His love for music was spurned by a VHS tape which his father bought during his early childhood, Motown 25. This tape of the 25th birthday reunion concert of the Motown greats was used by the family to clean the player when the needle got dirty, and so it was that Wax grew up watching and listening to Marvin Gaye, Smokie Robinsin, the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and many more. This early influence will mean that Wax lost touch for a while with the traditional rhythms of Cameroon. However, the beauty of Waxâ music has always been that the soul and pop influence has only seeped through his Cameroonian identity, never redefined it.
To sing or not to sing
Even till date, pursuing a career in music is not always a very socially acceptable thing in certain parts of Cameroon, especially in the grassfields where bright children are expected to study hard to become doctors or architects, or some form of professionals. This partly explains why Wax, who emerged the best Arts student in his country during his Aâlevel exams, has been a committed academic, and ventured into several professional fields. However, his love for music was nurtured by his parents. His mom, a strict disciplinarian, always encouraged him to exploit his musical talents, and even registered him for music classes which never happened because the teacher turned out to be a perpetually high artist who was to be avoided. In fact, it was her own brazen determination to learn the guitar at some stage that spiked his interest in the instrument, after which his father, a guitarist and pianist of sorts himself, taught him three chords on the guitar. Over the next few years, Wax would play the guitar by ear intermittently, learning a bit each time. Perhaps this background defines Waxâ unpredictable and unique guitar style â he still composes by ear, making up his chords as he goes along. The liberal atmosphere provided by his parents would let this talent nurture, slowly but surely.
Sacred Heart College
For seven years (1990-1997), Wax went to boarding school at Sacred Heart College Mankon. This phase was one of the most influential in his musical life. The college had the most popular choir in the city of Bamenda, and in his last years in the school, Wax took to playing guitar for the choir, after several years of not playing the instrument. Sacred Heart College was also the place where Wax would write his first song, Faraway Child, a song which became an anthem among his classmates. However, he was not regarded as an outstanding musician among his peers, and his arrogant declaration that he was the best songwriter that the school would produce was widely condemned. The music of the song Faraway Child would later win runner-up prize in the state-sponsored Pay-your-tax song competition. The melodious nature of Waxâ music, and even many of his chord progressions are till date, reminiscent of many of the songs they were taught in the Sacred Heart Choir, by Marist Brother Joseph McKee, brother of Gospel great Mary McKee and himself an adept musician.
Wax conquers UB
Wax got into Law School at the University of Buea in 1997 at the age of 16. The university was culturally moribund, but he and a handful of ex-Sacred Heart College mates were soon to turn things around. He wrote a musical âPolitical Showdown in UBâ staged by these mates â it became an instant hit, and marked a revolution of life at the university. With friends like Ndelle Kevin (Ice), Enow Kingsley and Nsame Gideon (King), Wax would create a new culture of show business in the small university town, changing the face of the university. He became known as a performer and concert organizer, organising sell-out shows like Divas 99 and LahSound Music Awards in 2000, and even the Law Society Concert in 1999, during his term as President of the Law Society. The years between 1997 through 2001 are still regarded as the Golden Years of the University of Buea, marking an unprecedented boom in social life, musical events and grand parties. It was during this period that Wax began his first studio recordings.
A Cameroonian in South Africa
But Waxâ exploits at his former university did not all ignite good tidings. He fell out with university administrators during one of his concerts; he was president of the law society and the law department was thought to be at the forefront of a teacherâs strike. While advertising one of his concerts, university administrators suspected he was calling people to the venue rather as part of the strike, and soon troubles began. He appeared before a disciplinary committee and recommendations were made for his suspension. He was even accused of political sedition. However, he was able to fight his way through with the help of a progressive lawyer and lecturer, Mike Yanou, and soon after graduating, he fled to South Africa for postgraduate studies and also to start a new life. So quick and unprepared was his departure that he arrived at the then Johannesburg International Airport with nothing but 20 dollars to his name.
Ali gets his arms
While studying, Wax began performing to pay his bills. He wrote a story for DRUM magazine, for which he was paid 500 rand. That he used to buy a second hand guitar, and began playing at private parties until he found an agent, Lara Patrocino, who introduced him to corporate gigs. It was Lara's belief in Wax that first made him think of himself as a real musician, but a career only kicked off when veteran producer, Neill Solomon, brought Wax together with Zulu crooner, Shaluza Max at Passage One Music. The duet, African Lady, done in French, English, Zulu and Duala caught the attention of Dan Chiorboli, who invited Wax to perform at the Awesome Africa Music Festival in Durban in 2003. There Wax met Gito Baloi of Tananas fame, who fell in love with his music and arranged to record a CD with him. Less than a week before they were due to start recording, Gito was viciously murdered.
Determined to carry on the project, Wax roped in other co-producers, and began recording Ali Gets His Arms. The product is a 14-track album that summarizes the effervescent personality of this young musician. âAli Gets His Armsâ the last recorded song, was written in the studio. It brings to light the plight of Ali Abbas, the Iraqi boy who lost his arms when US invaded Iraq. It is one of the most touching socio-political commentaries ever sung.
On the album, Ali gets his arms (released by Olimit Records which was co-founded by Wax), Waxâ unique guitar style sets him apart and his distinctness remains evident even as he explores different genres. His themes are captivating and the music enigmatically beautiful.
The album sources from different cultures to explore African music. Wehim wo, featuring Nigerian Kora-award winner, Kunle, is done in Yoruba and English and explores some deep folk rhythms. Another level fuses Mabghalum, a traditional Cameroonian dance, with hip-hop, to render one of Gospelâs treasures. It features Zolile, gospel singer from Joyous Celebration giving it a local South African feel.
But Wax knew that a positive response is not enough to establish an artist. "Ali gets his arms" is an illustration of his raw talent, and many of his fans swore that he would not produce anything better. Wax knew better.
In the search of his own musical identity, Wax relocated to Cape Town, the famous Jazz sanctuary of South Africa, in January 2007.
There he met different musicians, and explored new sounds while connecting with different musicians from across the globe.
After performing countless live shows with differnet musicians, Wax broght together his dream team (South African drummer, Simon Annett, Congolese bassist Simon Valouveta, Congolese pianist Nelson Malela, Cuban perussionist Jospeh Averjel, and ocassionally Congolese guitarist Chris Bakalanga), and after a week in the studio with engineer Paris Zannos, he emerged with the highly acclaimed "African Soul".
Ali gets his arms (Olimit Records, 2005)
African Soul (Lolhiphop Records/SHEER Sound, 2008)
African Dream (Lolhiphop Records, July 2009)
Peggy: by artist "Peggy" (Producer, Executive Producer) (Lolhiphop Records, 2007)
1. The Chosen One (play), Ditlou Publishers
2. Faraway Child (Southern African Short Story Review)
3. On the Bridge (Southern African Short Story Review)
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