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Moken: Chapters Of My Life

James Nadal By

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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.

Track Listing: 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.

Personnel: Moken: lead vocals; Pascal Danae: guitar; Blick Bassy: guitar, vocals, bass (5); Baptiste Brondy: drums; Jean Lamoot: bass; Roselyne Belinga: vocals.

Title: Chapters Of My Life | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Bantu Records

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