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Pierre Akendengué


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Pierre-Claver Akendengué (born April 25, 1943) is a musician and composer of . In 1997, he received his country’s “Prix d’excellence” at the Africa Music awards in Libreville, honoring his body of work. He also serves as a cultural advisor for the government of Gabon.

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Pierre Akendengué is one of African music’s great visionaries —a onetime protest singer turned composer turned cult favorite turned cultural minister, Akendengué has always marched to the beat of his own drummer.

Born in 1943 in Aouta, Gabon, Akendengué left Gabon at the age of 22 to pursue an Education in France. There he settled in Orléans (and later, Paris), where he took a degree in psychology and sought treatment for his poor eyesight. It was during his student days that he first became interested in a musical career, enrolling at the famous Petit Conservatoire de la Chanson in 1967. He flourished as a singer, coming in third in La fine fleur de la chanson, a national song contest.

In 1974, he made his French recording debut, Nandipo, an evocative meditation on his childhood in Africa, which established him as a protest singer inveighing against colonialism and neo-colonialism. This album was followed in 1976 by Africa Obota, which took home he “Prix de la jeune chanson française” at the Midem conference in Cannes. But while Akendengué’s European career began to take off, his visibility back home in Gabon began to suffer, as he could no longer afford to return home to perform on a regular basis.


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