Music of Gabon

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A student from Belise Elementary School dances to music from members of the Africa Partnership Station band US Navy 080116-N-1429M-001 A student from Belise Elementary School dances to music from members of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) band.jpg
A student from Belise Elementary School dances to music from members of the Africa Partnership Station band

Gabon's music includes several folk styles and pop. Gabonese pop artist Patience Dabany, who now lives in the US, produces albums recorded in Los Angeles with a distinctively Gabonese element; they are popular throughout Francophone Africa. Other musicians include guitarists Georges Oyendze, La Rose Mbadou and Sylvain Avara, and the singer Oliver N'Goma. Imported rock and hip hop from the US and UK are popular in Gabon, as are rumba, makossa and soukous.


National music

The national anthem of Gabon is "La Concorde", written and composed by Georges Aleka Damas and adopted in 1960 upon independence.

Traditional music

Gabon's population, estimated at 1,640,286, of whom 42% are minors (July 2013 est.), include four major Bantu groupings; the Fang, the Punu, the Nzebi and the Obamba. [1]

Gabon, to the French ethnographer Barabe, "is to Africa what Tibet is to Asia, the spiritual center of religious initiations", [2] due to the sacred music of the Bwiti, the dominant religious doctrine of the country, variously ascribed to the Fang and the Mitsogho, which involves the use of iboga. [3]

Gabonese folk instruments include the obala.

The history of modern Gabonese music did not begin until about 1974, when the blind guitarist and singer Pierre Akendengué released his first album. He was classically trained in Europe, and his compositions reflect the influence of Western classical music. Akendengue's European career started after being treated for eye disease at a hospital in Paris. He stayed, and studied at the Petit Conservatoire. By the 1970s, he was at the forefront of a wave of popular Francophone African music stars, beginning with the release of Nandipo in 1974. Akendegue was supported by Pierre Barouh, a powerful man in the French music industry, responsible for launching the careers of Brigitte Fontaine and Jacques Higelin, among others. Akendegue came to be seen as a spokesperson for the Gabonese people, and for the poor and dispossessed of all Africa . After spending twenty years in France, Akendegue returned to Gabon despite concerns over government censorship of his music. He wound up being appointed a government advisor.

The 1980s saw the formation of Africa No. 1, a radio station devoted to African music, and the opening of the first Gabonese recording studio, Studio Mademba. Musicians from across Africa and even in the Caribbean travelled to Libreville to record.

Though Libreville was producing enough pan-African hits in the 80s to rival cities like Abidjan and Johannesburg for popular music, the end of the decade saw the music scene die out.

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Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 2.1 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.

Telecommunications in Gabon include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Despite Gabon's small population, this West African country is home to many different Bantu tribes and a small pygmy population.

<i>Tabernanthe iboga</i> Species of plant

Tabernanthe iboga (iboga) is a perennial rainforest shrub native to West Africa. An evergreen bush indigenous to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Congo, it is cultivated across West Africa.

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Léon Mba 1st President of Gabon

Gabriel Léon M'ba was a Gabonese politician who served as both the first Prime Minister (1959–1961) and President (1961–1967) of Gabon.

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Languages of Gabon languages of a geographic region

There is an official language in Gabon, however 32% of the people speak Fang as a mother tongue. French is the medium of instruction. Before World War II very few Gabonese learned French, nearly all of them working in either business or government administration. After the war, France worked for universal primary education in Gabon, and by the 1960-61 census, 47% of the Gabonese over the age of 14 spoke some French, while 13% were literate in the language. By the 1990s, the literacy rate had risen to about 60%.

Pierre Akendengué Gabonese musician

Pierre-Claver Akendengué is a musician and composer from Gabon. In 1997, he received his country's "Prix d'excellence" at the Africa Music awards in Libreville, honoring his body of work. He also serves as a cultural advisor for the government of Gabon.

Khadja Nin Burundian musician

Khadja Nin is a Burundian singer and musician.

Fang people ethnic group

The Fang people, also known as Fãn or Pahouin, are a Central African ethnic group found in Equatorial Guinea, northern Gabon, and southern Cameroon. Representing about 85% of the total population of Equatorial Guinea, concentrated in the Río Muni region, the Fang people are its largest ethnic group. The Fang are also the largest ethnic group in Gabon, making up about a quarter of the population. In other countries, in the regions they live, they are one of the most significant and influential ethnic groups.

Paulin Obame-Nguema is a Gabonese politician who was the Prime Minister of Gabon from 2 November 1994 to 23 January 1999. He is currently a Deputy in the National Assembly of Gabon.

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Religion in Gabon

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Dimitri "Mobengo" Mugianis is a drug policy activist, Bwiti N'ganga, poet, and musician.


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