Celebrating Cameroon's Unification Day (marking independence from the UK) and continuing the Afri-love interview series that began this week, today – featuring Cameroonian musician, Muntu Valdo. Writing his own music since the age of 15, Muntu has developed a unique style he calls the Sawa Blues. Here's a little about the man behind the enchanting, sincere, soulful music …
What's your passion?
Music is my passion.
What inspires you to create music?
Almost everything is my inspiration: the lives of people, the scene I'm witnessing, people's stories, mine, my dreams, my aspirations, beauty, nature, human behaviour, a piece of art or science, a sports performance, a special achievement, well … almost everything.
What has been the greatest challenge in being a musician?
Nothing so far has been an obstacle for me as a musician. The only thing which could prevent me to be or do music is freedom or death. I do music a bit like I breathe. I sing, I use my voice, my hand, or any kind of instrument around me or anything that could produce a sound. l live with music inside and outside me. As I talk, I do music.
But, to entertain people is a different matter. Then, you need to prepare a decent show for people who take their time and sometimes their money to come and see you.
How have you dealt with/overcome it?
To entertain people or to earn a living as a musician, I just need to do, to the best of my ability, what i need to do: be a good musician, a good performer, a good entertainer, a good producer. This involves working (hard sometimes) every day on my music because, this is my life anyway. You can not overcome your life can you? You just live it. So, I just do music.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Every time, at the end of a concert, when I see that so many people are happy, I think that I achieve something. So my great achievement is almost a monthly meeting or a weekly meeting with an audience somewhere on our planet where people are gonna enjoy my music and my show.
But in that respect, I'd also talk of the release of my first album which allowed people who can not share a live show with me, to listen and enjoy my music by buying a CD or buying a digital copy of the album or the song. Producing albums and live shows are the greatest achievements in my life so far, in the sense that they give happiness and positive thoughts to people.
Where will you be in 10 years?
Somewhere on the planet, which is a global village now, achieving what I'm here for: to give happiness to people and positive thoughts about our common life on this earth.
How does Africa inspire you?
By its people, its nature, its stories, its diversity. I grew up in Africa, so my memory is full of stories that could take me two lives to tell. But I learnt a lot about nature on the continent.
Anything else you'd like to share?
My next album is coming soon. It is a whole program entitled: THE ONE AND THE MANY. It is about you, me, us and every single thing that's part of us and that surrounds us. Please spread the news, THE ONE AND THE MANY is out in January 2011 … very very important.
To prepare the coming of that great project, THE ONE AND THE MANY, I'll be playing around the UK, France and Spain, every week from next week till the end of January when the album will launch. Please go and check dates and venues on myspace.
[You can also check Muntu out on Facebook.]