It was worth the wait. For years, Martino Atangana, one of the most talented African guitarists today, has played on albums of artists from three continents. Finally in 2003, he has rewarded our wait with Oyenga Fam, his first album as a singer, writer, composer, and producer. A blend of traditional and modern sounds, Oyenga Fam offers a wide variety of African rhythms expertly interpreted by African Blue Note.
1. OKANG'ALIMA. Let's go greet Okang'Alima. A mixture of Cameroonian Enyengue and Congolese Soukous, with lyrics in Ewondo.
2. OKON MAKON. "My illness". According to all the doctors I consulted, my illness is called love and my medication is the woman I love. Bitkusi rhythm from south Cameroon with lyrics in Ewondo.
3. TUTU YEAH. You have been in my heart. Congolese Soukous with lyrics in Lingala.
4. OYENGA FAM. "The Man' scream", usually expressed by Beti males in rejoicing times. Afro-Jazz based on Bikutsi rhythm.
5. NNAM AFRICA. Stop wars in Africa, the beautiful land of my ancestors. Afro-pop music with lyrics in Ewondo.
6. MADJOBAN. "I'm sorry" grandma, that I went abroad without getting your blessing first". Bikutsi with lyrics in Bulu.
7. MOUVEMENT BANTU. Medley. Assiko rhythm from south Cameroun with lyrics in Ewondo and Bulu.
8. OKANG' ALIMA. This is a short version of track 1.
9. DANA. This song is dedicated to Dana, a drummer I worked with in Nice, France in the late 1980s. Afro-jazz based on juju rhythm from Nigeria.
African Blue Note: Martin Atangana (Guitar, Vocals); Todd Horton (Trumpet, Flugelhorn); Azouhouni Adou (Keyboards); Mamadou Ba (Bass); Jojo Kuo (Drums)
Rich Nichols (Trumpet); Sylvain Leroux (Tenor Saxophone); Aaron Heick (Alto Saxophone - 5); Francis Mbappe (Background vocals - 3,6,7,9)
One of the most talented African guitarists today, Martin Atangana, also known as "Martino" Atangana, was born and raised in Cameroon, Central Africa. It was there that he began his musical career in the late 1970s, playing with church and high school bands. In the early 1980s, he started performing with professional artists such as Betty BETTY, Dyna BELL, Ali BABA, Ben DECCA, "Ange" EBOGO, Emile KANGUE, Théo-Blaise KOUNKOU, Pierre de MOUSSY, Elie-Martin MBA, Anne-Marie NDZIE, MEKONGO PRESIDENT, and Johnny TEZANO, to name a few. In 1986 he toured with Manu Dibango of Soul Makossa fame.
During the same year, Martino moved to France to pursue graduate studies. While there, he played on Paul Simon's album The Rhythm of the Saints in 1990, and worked with Jean-Luc Ponty from 1991 to 1993, recording two of Ponty's albums, Tchokola and No Absolute Time, as well as touring with him in North America and Europe. During his stay in France, Martino also performed with Sorry BAMBA, Mony BILLE, Sam FANTOMAS, Teta LANDO, Daddy MIMBO, ZAO, and many others, and recorded with J.B. AKAMBA (Mbazoa), Uta BELLA (Eyong), Henri DIKONGUE (Wa), Sissi DIPOKO (Munam), Douglas MBIDA (Cameroon, and Za më yën), Georges SEBA (Freedom), Manuel WANDJI (Radio Trottoir), and Brice WASSY (N'ga Funk).
Martino left Paris in 1994, settling in New York. He began working with Ndedi EYANGO, Nahawa DOUMBIA, Kasse MADY and many New York based bands. On numerous occasions he played at Disney World (Orlando, Florida) with WASA and WASSALOU. Since moving in New York, he has recorded with Emperor ADICHIE (Funk in the Jungle), Henri DIKONGUE (C'est la vie), EDIMO (Moudiki), Graham HAWTHORNE (Mbalafunk), Shannon JACKSON (What Spirit Say), Sylvana MAGDA (Enzila), C.K. MAN (Timeless Highlife), Francis MBAPPE (Need Somebody), and Meg MONTGOMERY (Le Collage). In 2003 Martino released Oyenga Fam, his first solo album which he recorded with African Blue Note.
For the past few years Martino Atangana and African Blue Note have been "wowing" New York metro area audiences at venues such as BAM Café, Brooklyn Museum of Arts, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Lincoln Center, Lion's Den, Mondo Cane, Museum for African Art, New Jersey Performing Art Center (NJPAC), Central Park, Queens Public Library, Riverbank State Park, and York College of the City University of New York. They can be seen at the Zinc Bar (90 Houston St. in Manhattan) the last Friday of every month, and Makeda ((338 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ) the second Friday of each month.