Music – Folk firebrand

2010-05-15 11:33

Kareyce Fotso is a new voice in ­Cameroonian music.

Her music is heavily acoustic and laced with musical traditions

from across Cameroon.

In a complete departure from the popular makossa genre, which is

hot in Cameroon, Kareyce delivers a rhythmic folksy style with a tinge of blues.

In her dynamic one-woman show Kareyce (pronounced caress) wraps her

melodious voice around her guitar, shakers and the other percussion instruments

tied to her knees and ankles.

She is a talented vocalist and multi­instrumentalist and keen

advocate of women’s rights. Kareyce decided to learn to play as many instruments

as possible as a testimony to female strength and ­independence.

“People are often surprised when they see me in person. They say I

speak like an old woman. I tell them I’m not a teenager, I am a woman,” she


‘‘Young women tell me I’m showing them that women can be something

in society. I’m glad that through my music I am able to inspire young women in

Cameroon today.”

Kareyce writes lyrics which display a maturity that belies her

youthful years. Inspired by her environment and her ­cultural heritage she

delivers punchy messages with humorous wit and an ­alluring charm.

She sees her music as a vehicle of ­consciousness. Fearless, she

confronts issues head on.

“I sing about love and hate. Also the problems I see around me. So

many ­people want to sing about Aids because there is money involved. I’m sure

more people die of malaria.

‘‘I speak about clandestine immigration. There are so many young

people ­­ ­t­rying to get to Europe in small boats. I’ve lost many friends that


“So in my song, Goum, I speak directly to the government and tell

them things have to change.”

A staunch traditionalist, Kareyce refuses to be seduced by the

allure of the West.

It’s in her blood! Hailing from West Cameroon and raised among the

Beti people she has inherited a strong love for her culture. And this, she

believes, is the key to her success.

“I want my music to endure. So I use what is around me. I speak in

my language and use proverbs that we all know.

“All the young people around me want to do rap music and be


“They are influenced by the MTV ­culture and don’t want to speak

their language any more. Not me!

“I say you can speak French or English well but you cannot change

who you are, you are Cameroonian.

“I believe we have to keep our tradition alive, it’s our soul and

our wealth.”

»Kareyce will be back in South Africa

accompanying the Lions of Cameroon during their trip to the Fifa World Cup next


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