Recommended if You Like
Angélique Kidjo Mariam Makeba Native

Genres You Will Love
World: African Moods: Type: Vocal Jazz: African Jazz

By Location
CANADA - Québec

Laetitia Zonzambé and Yoka Souka

aetitia ZONZAMBÉ-YAGNIMÉ uses her gifted and colourful voice to express universal human feelings: «there are no borders for those feelings» she says. Born in Bangui at the heart of Africa (literal translation of Centrafrique in sango language «Beafrika»), Laetitia experienced very deeply how the world is at the same time very open, a space where a common humanity is to be build everyday, and also very closed, borders and behaviours reproducing the fact that some are not part of this humanity.

Sixth of a family of nine brothers and sisters, Laetitia left Bangui when she was two years old for France where her father studied literature. Yagnimé, as she is sometimes called, grew-up in the suburbs of Amiens, a town north of Paris, until she moved back to Bangui as her father was appointed at the University there ten years later. .. Back in Bangui, Laetitia practices hip-hop with her brothers and records two singles on the «Bangos rap» album in 1999. Facing the turmoil of a long military and social discouraging crisis from 1996 to 2003, she gives up sociology studies and decides to commit herself to be a singer at that time. At the same time, being from the ethnic minority, some of her brothers are forced to flee on the other side of the Oubangui river in the former Zaïre.

Nevertheless she carries on being faithful («Manabe» in sango title of one of her song) as those difficult times are contrasted with illuminated musical encounters. In 2001, with experienced musicians, she mixes traditional rhythms and sounds with pop, jazz and RnB influences. This is how the group YOKA SOUKA was born, as a new vision for centrafrican music. In 2002, they perform in Libreville, Gabon and record an album in 2005: «Ma» which means listen in sango, as well as mother. They play in Paris (New Morning) as well as around all Central African Republic and Laetitia discovers the extraordinary musical wealth of her country from the pygmées singing tones (that inspired her «kota kpale») at the south, the Bororos’ tree trumpets in the north, to the popular songs («kaïto» is a classical folk lullaby she adapted).

In 2007, recognized in her country as a popular musician, she represents Central African Republic at the panafrican festival of music in Brazzaville (FESPAM). Author, interpret and composer, Laetitia ZONZAMBE sings in French, English, Sango and other central African dialects. She played with inspiring artists such as Manu Dibango, Pierre Claver Akendegue or Anne-Flore Batchiellilys and now continues her work in Montreal, were she has moved in 2009, collaborating with local and international artists, broadcasting her music on Canadian tv (see concerts page) and performing on recognized stages such as the Place des Arts and internalional recognized venues.