Plus d'options Langue disponible : anglais Pierre Akendengue is one of the most outstanding African artists -- a musician, poet, philosopher, and visionary. In his native Gabon, he is considered to be a musical genius, in the francophone world, he is at least reasonably well-known, but outside this diaspora his work has remained almost unnoticed and many of his recordings are not easily available -- most of them one has to hunt down. This is a shame, as -- like Bebey and N'Dour -- he was already active when the term "world music" was not even coined yet, and the work of this innovator belongs on the shelves of the timeless and great music of our era and should therefore be widely known. Akendengue started composing as a child, and when he was a teenager, his songs were already broadcasted on Gabonese radio stations. When he was in his twenties he came to France to study literature and psychology.

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By the late '70s, Akendengué was frustrated with being pigeonholed as merely a protest singer and begin to focus more on composing and instrumental arrangements. In he also founded his own label, Ntche Homeland , and began to focus on behind-the-scenes aspects of the business and developing young new artists. But the label went under in after releasing only three albums.

Released in , the album was produced by French visionary Hugues de Courson and featured over thirty session musicians and some of Akendengué's most incendiary lyrics to date sung entirely in the Myéné language of Gabon. He toured extensively following this record before returning to Gabon in There, despite increasingly serious health and vision problems, Akendengué continued to record sporadically, compiling a greatest hits album Passé Composé and an anti-apartheid album Espoir à Soweto as the '80s waned.

In the early '90s, Akendengué once again teamed up with Hugues de Courson to record his masterpiece, Lambarena, an ambitious, groundbreaking musical tribute to Dr.

Albert Schweitzer that set J. Bach's "Passion of St.

John" to the accompaniment of traditional folkloric ensembles from Gabon. Recorded in Paris in a marathon session that lasted almost one hundred days, de Courson and Akendengue teamed up a European classical choir and orchestral players with ten different Gabonese ensembles as well as a battery of soloists, including Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos.

The result was one of the most sublime and intricate fusions of European art music and African traditional music ever recorded, and it remains a touchstone for African music aficionados to this day. When he was in his twenties he came to France to study literature and psychology.

During this time he was confronted with quickly deteriorating eyesight which eventually led to his blindness.

After his studies in Orléans, Caen, and Paris, he shortly returned to Gabon, but due to his critical attitude towards the Gabonese government, he was forced into exile to France in the beginning of the '70s. In he released his debut Nandipo, which solidly established his reputation as a witty songwriter with philosophical depth. Since then, he has released a steady stream of excellent recordings: His third album, Eseringuila, released in , won him the Maraccas d'Or award as Best African Record in His release Piroguier is considered to be a classic of African music.