Franky Tosa

By Franck Felix Gutenberg, US Africa News. Updated 2014-04-12

Franky Tosa
Franky Tosa

USAFRICANEWS: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Francky Tosa: I am Francky Tosa to my fans, real name Tonga Sanvoisin. I’m an artist, author, composer, arranger, and studio technician, based in Yaoundé in Cameroon.

USAFRICANEWS: what led you to embrace a musical career?

Francky Tosa: After finishing my studies in accounting and management, I realized that inside me lay a huge talent as an artist. As simple and true as that.

USAFRICANEWS: You just put an album on the market. Can you tell us details about the production?

Francky Tosa:  This is actually my third solo album: this album, entitled: GAGNEZ TOUJOURS [Always Win] is a top work; the result of a long-term, hard and rigorous labor. The title track Gagnez Toujours is a tribute that I pay to the brave Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, following their qualification for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The track Bidzuga is the story of a husband who begs his wife, who abandoned him with the children, to return home. Cameroun presents a little of the richness and achievements of my dear and beautiful country, Cameroon. Juni-Méli is a rhythm that I created to highlight one of the regions of Cameroon, the East. Ndjam Sen Yok is a meditation on my father’s two wives-- my moms.

USAFRICANEWS: How does this new album compare to your previous ones?

Francky Tosa: This album is already going to galvanize the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on their quest in Brazil. Additionally, it’s a kind of guidebook for those around the world who want to discover the different riches of Cameroon, which is also described as ‘Africa in miniature’.

USAFRICANEWS: You make mainly religious music, yet one always sees you surrounded by musicians who play Bikutsi, a beat which has been called obscene. Why these companions?

Francky Tosa:  (laughs). I am first an instrumentalist (drums, pianist, bassist). Then I'm arranger. Finally I’m a studio technician. With such knowledge, I am necessarily the object of numerous solicitations. The other truth is that I do not primarily make religious music. Although profoundly Christian, that does not prevent me from making so-called popular or dance music. In short, I am an artist first and foremost.

USAFRICANEWS: What comments do you have about the confessions and religious conversion of K-Tino, who used to call the shots in Bikutsi circles?

Francky Tosa:  What I can say about it is only that God has His plans and His time; only He knows when he needs you for his service...

USAFRICANEWS: She has called on many other musicians of the Bikutsi to follow her evangelical conversion to save a world of perverse and cursed souls. Do you think she is right? Personally, what do you think of the music scene in the cabarets of Yaoundé where you live?

Francky Tosa:  I believe that K-Tino is a major force and knows to weigh her words. Those musicians who engage in wickedness do not last long, and besides their music doesn’t go past [localities such as] Mvog-Mbi, Mokolo, Mvog Ada. At least that's my observation. That said, we also recognize that we have cabarets in Yaoundé where guys play good music.

USAFRICANEWS: Lapiro de Mbanga just passed away. You understand that we cannot ask you what tribute you would do in memory of this great musician.

Francky Tosa:  Lapiro de Mbanga was a great musician who knew how to say very forcefully what he thought... He is gone, but the music continues. That the land of our ancestors misses him.

USAFRICANEWS: In the recent battles for control of the institution that governs copyright in Cameroon you have been very close to Eyango. Do you believe that he had to act as a revolutionary?

Francky Tosa:  Eyango is firstly a musician. Thus, he fully understood the drama of the Cameroonian musicians. He arrived with a plan of action that was effective and profitable for all; that is to say, quite the opposite of what we have already seen and continue to see at SOCAM. Damage with capital "D".

USAFRICANEWS: Despite the sidelining of Eyango, do you expect that things will change in SOCAM?

Francky Tosa:  We must see the problem from the start... it is a problem of diversion, of impunity, of interpretation of the SOCAM texts. In this context, what can be done today to avoid the same blunders? Nothing.