Music

Salatiel, a musician in Beyoncé soundtrack releases new album

SALATIEL1

Cameroonian singer Salatiel. PHOTO | POOL

Summary

  • Salatiel’s style is very sleek and urban with a contemporary edge from Afrobeats, dancehall, R&B, hip-hop reggae and zouk.
  • He clearly represents a new generation of performers from Cameroon who borrow a little from some of the distinct guitar rhythms that the country is best known for and combine that with popular contemporary influences.
  • Before his breakthrough on “Lion King” Salatiel was already an influential figure in West African music circles as a music producer.

When American star Beyoncé was producing music for the “Lion King” soundtrack in 2019, her team called on some of Africa’s young pop stars, mainly Afrobeat artistes from Nigeria, to collaborate on the music.

Among the exceptions was a Cameroonian singer, songwriter and producer, Salatiel who was featured on the song “Water” with Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams. The exposure he has received since then has catapulted him into one of the biggest Afropop stars.

The musician also known as the “High Man General” has just released a delightful album called “Africa Represented” and true to its title the album contains a variety of contemporary sounds, drawing on collaborations with the continent’s best talents, from Kenya to Nigeria.

The 20-track album officially released on streaming platforms on February 26 features a host of guest appearances from the cream of the continent’s performers, from Kenya’s Sauti Sol to Stonebwoy from Ghana. There are no less than 12 guest musicians from around Africa and the diaspora, adding to the colour and sound of the music.

Salatiel’s style is very sleek and urban with a contemporary edge from Afrobeats, dancehall, R&B, hip-hop reggae and zouk, a transformation from the classic makossa rhythms that fans may have associated with legendary Cameroonians like Sam Fan Thomas or Manu Dibango.

He clearly represents a new generation of performers from Cameroon who borrow a little from some of the distinct guitar rhythms that the country is best known for and combine that with popular contemporary influences. Before his breakthrough on “Lion King” Salatiel was already an influential figure in West African music circles as a music producer. He founded the Alpha Better music label which has been churning out songs by a new generation of Cameroonian music acts, some of whom are showcased on “Africa Represented.”

While enjoying the momentum from the success of the “Lion King”, Salatiel is making music that appeals not just to Francophone Africa, but has global attraction.

Unlike most artistes from francophone Africa, he sings mainly in English blended with French, what is known as FrAnglais, thanks to his hometown of Buea, capital of the Anglophone South West region of Cameroon.

The album is a catchy collection of songs beginning with the opening and very infectious “Ayagayo” (Good Times) an uplifting celebration of the good times with rousing chants, accompanied by guitar and horns reminiscent of the classic sounds from Cameroon.

He taps into the diaspora for a romantic zouk style collaboration with Haitian Singer Rutshelle Guillaume whose video was released earlier in February and has already garnered almost two million views

His compatriot, the so called ‘young, black, ambitious king from Cameroon’, Pascal— Yung King, drops some sleek rhymes as he references Manu Dibango on “Kilimanjaro” a song that fuses urban beats with catchy guitar licks. The title track that celebrates the good vibes of the continent, ‘from Kenya to China’ is produced in a one drop reggae style, with a guest appearance by rapper CFX.

Nigerian Afrobeat Teni drops his distinctive vocals on “Fire on the Mountain” a dancehall/Afrobeat influenced track which is aimed straight for the dance floor with a seamless combination between the two artists.

There is a touch of the popular West African dance style coupe decale on “Planner” featuring Cameroonian artists Aveiro Djess and DJ Arthur and “Party Hard” which combines coupe decale with dancehall.

After their recent collaborations on albums by Davido and Burna Boy, Sauti Sol once again extend their influence around the continent by dropping their harmonies on the song “I Do”. The R&B ballad also features Cameroonian singer Locko Arthur who was among the performers on Coke Studio Africa 2017 edition in Nairobi and at the time recorded a duet with Kenyan singer Dela.