Voice of Gold" and "The Queen Mother of Bikutsi": these are
the phrases that are used to refer to Anne-Marie. In her late
60s, she still uses her voice to the maximum as she vowed she
would do at a young age. That was when she spent a long period
of time in hospital recovering from injuries sustained when
she fell from a mango tree. Initially she had sung in a church
choir where her father was a pastor in a village in Cameroon.
While in hospital her older brother, later known as Cromwell,
introduced her to Hawaiian music and she decided to make full
use of the gift of a beautiful voice as well as writing songs
and accompanying herself on Hawaiian guitar. After leaving hospital
she and her brother performed together as a duo.
continued to be inspired by pop music and the ancestral rhythms
of Cameroon and by 1968 she was on the international scene,
recording in Paris. After that she performed at many important
festivals in Africa: Algiers, Dakar and Lagos and taught singing
with the National Orchestra of Cameroon. In 1984 Anne-Marie
recorded the successful album Liberte but then wanted
to retire to her village at the age of 50. That was not to be,
because in 1996 she made a welcome return to the stage and received
a standing ovation at the French Cultural
Centre in Yaounde.
appearing at the Angouleme Festival in
1998 she recorded another wonderful album, Beza Ba Dzo.
On it there are some up-tempo traditional
bikutsi rhythms as well as blues,
jazz flavours and Latin beats and
on one unique track Manu Dibango
joins on saxophone and vocals. The final track, 'Ma Bele Na
Muri' is a beautiful hymn. Her
voice can indeed be compared to that
of Edith Piaf. Anne-Marie
has had a long, distinguished career, enriching the world with