It is a long way from the seaside city of Limbe, in Cameroon, to the tough streets of Detroit, in search of a dream. Singer/songwriter Moken Nunga made this journey to attend designer school, and wound up in Atlanta, making music as Moken. Chapters Of My Life, is his story, dealing with adversity en route, and remaining optimistic and creative through it all.
Combining a myriad of influences ranging from the local Bassa and Duala tribes of Cameroon, to a host of popular western artists, Moken music is acoustical and centered around a recurring ethnic beat. He is a folksinger and griot, with natural expressive inflections that emphasize phrases, a charismatic storyteller with a unique vocal range. Referring to himself as an African cowboy, "Wild Wild Ways," has a lilted country-western feel to it in the guitar strumming and pattern. "Maliga," resonates like a mournful indigenous plea or prayer, and "A Bone To Grind With Einstein," is a comical view on inquisitive situations.
Moken cannot stray far from Africa, as evident on "A Bato Bam," a rhythmic song of travels, earthly or metaphysical, accompanied by a soothing chorus. The autobiographical "The Man That Never Gives Up," is performed as a trembling mantra, a reflective mood with a strong spiritual current. "Ma Masse," develops a dramatic venture that asks where we going to hide, as there is no shelter from ourselves, and "Machine Man," tells of doubt and pain in the search for the elusive better life. His recollections of hard times are revealed in the poignant "Walking Man," yet he remains buoyant on the closing "Waiting For The Day."
This record presents a collage of individual perspectives, as Moken's compositions offer a renewed approach to the immigration experience. Amidst a backdrop of African sensibilities, he represents the new face of those seeking a fresh start, with their own dreams to follow.
Wild Wild Ways; Maliga; A Bone To Grind With Einstein; A Bato Bam; the
Man Who Never Gives Up; Ma Masse; Machine Man; Walkin Man;
Jerusalem; Waiting For The Day.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.