||In the company of the Zap Mama, Sally Nyolo gave a new energy to the a capella singing. In her first solo albums, Tribu and Multiculti, she modernized acoustics.
Wherever now could Sally bring her laughter, her mischievous ballads? Where she was expected for a long time : in her homeland, where the Beti women tribe live.
In 1998, on the occasion of a movie shot and concerts, Sally Nyolo went back to her native Cameroon. She was not prepared for what was about to happen there : fully packed concert halls ; the audience joining in a chorus each and every melody of her songs and more surprisingly, each one of the four voices!
Listening to her emotions, Sally took the decision to build up her new CD overthere. Cameroon is known as the country of bass players so she would finally get the chance to work with them together with brilliant guitar players, or with this mvet player (traditional string instrument similar to an arp) which lit up the single that gave its title to the album, Beti. In Yaoundé, in an improvised studio, she opened her big book, showed the musicians all her notes, and all together they recorded some of her ideas.
But, actually, she had to meet some people, the Beti women, the creators of bikutsi, which is an immemorial rythm meant to "heal sickness, ease the pain of someone's lost, relieve suffering". At first, it was about a ritual rythm that women performed sitting on tiny stools, singing and beating some little rattles or some bamboos cut lenghtwise - actually a music very similar to Sallys. Today the bikutsi, hijacked by the electric bands from the capital city, has became a kind of dance music. Sally definitely wants to get back to her deep roots and so she went to the Beti women, in the woods, to retrieve it.
She went upstream looking for their villages and finally discovered their source of inspiration : "Those women live in a powerful surrounding ambient, they breathe the nature and instrument on the top of it, which gives an explosive mix..." You can find Sally again, before the boat mast, so tiny in the midst of the vast nature, tuning her instruments to the pitch of water, birds, forest.
Here she was, in the villages, on the track of the singers who have left for the fields or the market. One of them, a woman from the Mbokani tribe - to which Sally belongs - improvised a so moving text for her that it became in its primary form a piece of Sally's CD. Maman Andela sang the difficulty, for a lonely woman, to be accepted by the rest of the community: "I am old already and have no man, nobody takes care of me, but I am alive ; so why am I disturbing, why do people whisper when I pass by? Actually, I hear what they say and that keeps me from sleeping!" ("Bebele").
Maman Tsogo, Sally's mother, has the same worries: the old age brought her only loneliness and desertion : "You can cross a barrack square without hearing any whistle!"
But this moral uneasiness felt by her elders didn't undermine Sally's determination, in the song "Zenigari" ("The station road"), she described herself on her way to the station and nothing could have stopped her: neither a child or a husband's voice nor a hat or a purse lost on the road. She is on the road to life, with a new precious album to enjoy and a new challenge: to get her Parisian musicians discovering the true essence of bikutsi!