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Makossa Beat

Makossa is a noted popular urban musical style. Like much other late 20th century music of Sub-Saharan Africa, it uses strong electric bass rhythms and prominent brass. In the 1980s makossa had a wave of mainstream success across Africa and to a lesser extent abroad.

Makossa, which means “(I) dance” in the Douala language,¬†originated from a Douala dance called the kossa. Emmanuel Nelle Eyoum started using the refrain kossa kossa in his songs with his group Los Calvinos. The style began to take shape in the 1950s though the first recordings were not seen until a decade later.

Artists such as Eboa Lotin, Misse Ngoh and especially Manu Dibango, who popularised makossa throughout the world with his song “Soul Makossa” in the early 1970s. The chant from the song, mamako, mamasa, maka makossa, was later used by Michael Jackson in “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”. Many other performers followed suit. The 2010 World cup also brought makossa to the international stage as Shakira sampled the Golden Sounds popular song “Zamina mina (Zangalewa)”.