Wes Madiko’s name means “The Roots of land of Ancestor”. He was born in Mouataba, which lies some hundred miles away from the city of Douala, Cameroon. From the age of two, his grandfather taught him about music and how to play the Kalimba instrument. The pair soon became inseparable. His grandfather taught him his love of Bantu history and the wisdom of the elephant of animist bantou philosophy. This was responsible for an important part of his education: “it was in bush school and during night-time gatherings listening to the metallic beat of the kalimba that I learned the adventures of the father of all ancestors, E’kwa Mutu.”In 1974, at the age of ten, Madiko became the conductor of the group Kwa Kwassi, which means “think right”. This musical formation brought together the most talented youngsters in the village, who received instruction together in history and art.In 1987, once more, Wes started to enjoy musical nights at the Wouri riverbanks. He was impatient to get back in touch with the Mouataba spirit, to promote bafoun-bantou tradition and returned to the home of his ancestors. He revived the Kwa Kwassi orchestra and embarked on a tour in Bafoun country. A group of tourists turned up, and were all impressed by the music, including a young woman from Lille, France. And so Wes set off for Europe, with his kalimba under his arm.
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