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.
The national anthem of Gabon is "La Concorde", written and composed by Georges Aleka Damas and adopted in 1960 upon independence.
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.
Gabon, to the French ethnographer Barabe, "is to Africa what Tibet is to Asia, the spiritual center of religious initiations",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.
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.
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.
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.
Bwiti is a spiritual discipline of the forest-dwelling Punu people and Mitsogo peoples of Gabon and by the Fang people of Gabon and Cameroon. Modern Bwiti incorporates animism, ancestor worship, and Christianity into a syncretistic belief system.
Gabriel Léon M'ba was a Gabonese politician who served as both the first Prime Minister (1959–1961) and President (1961–1967) of Gabon.
Articles related to Gabon include:
Jean-Hilaire Aubame was a Gabonese politician active during both the colonial and independence periods. The French journalist Pierre Péan said that Aubame's training "as a practicing Catholic and a customs official helped to make him an integrated man, one of whom political power was not an end in itself."
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-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 is a Burundian singer and musician.
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.
Léon Mébiame was a Gabonese politician who was the 2nd Prime Minister of Gabon. From 1975 to 1990, he served as the longest-serving Prime Minister in Gabonese history, at 15 years and 17 days.
Major religions practised in Gabon include Christianity, Islam, and traditional indigenous religious beliefs. Many people practice elements of both Christianity and traditional indigenous religious beliefs. Approximately 88 percent of the population practice one of the denominations of Christianity; 6 percent practice Islam ; the remainder practice traditional religion or other religions.
Dimitri "Mobengo" Mugianis is a drug policy activist, Bwiti N'ganga, poet, and musician.
The mvet is a stringed musical instrument, the harp-lute of the Fang people of Gabon, Cameroon, São Tomé and Equatorial Guinea. Somewhat resembling the Mande kora, but larger and simpler, it consists of a tubular stick of palm-raffia or bamboo, between one and two metres long, with usually three calabash resonators. A central vertical bridge divides four or five gut or metal strings, played both sides of the bridge.
Annie-Flore Batchiellilys, is a Gabonese singer, musician, and composer, combining traditional Gabonese forms of singing with jazz and blues.
Seba Charmelle Scholastique known as SeBa is a Gabonese singer. She sings in the Nzebi language, but it is her use of Italian that gained her a knighthood. She has published several albums since her first in 2006.