Photo : Pierre Terrasson / Artwork : Balafun
With a French mother and a Cameroonian father, cross-culture is at the very roots of his creative talent, constantly renewed by travel and encounters with musicians and dancers in Europe and the USA. But Africa is still the source and dominant culture in his artistic expression.
1961,Manuel “Wambo” Wandji born in Nancy (France) where his father studies.
1970, the family goes to Cameroon where Manuel discovers his second homeland, settling down in Yaounde. A time of real musical education begins as he opens himself to the world and sounds of the equatorial forests and traditional music.
1975, in his adolescence he is dawn to the clubs in the slum areas. Irresistible music! “Wambo” (his nick-name in Cameroon) begins beating out rhythms with his school pals – first band, first concerts.
1980, return to France. While pursuing technical studies in Besançon, he discovers new musical styles and the world of dance for which he continues to compose today (ACCRORAP Co.)
1986, he creates “Metissages Co.” in which he is a dancer and musician.
1988, moves to Paris, plays for Ray LEMA and Papa WEMBA….The “world music” scene is rich and Manuel plays with various bands and discovers the recording studio.
1992, a cherished dream comes true – creates his own recording studio so he can compose and produce in complete freedom – WAMBO PRODUCTIONS is born.
1994/1995, while working on his first productions (see list of recordings), he accompanies Geoffrey ORYEMA, plays on CANAL+ prime time TV show “nulle part ailleurs” with guest artists such as Ben HARPER, Manu DIBANGO, Tom JONES….
1995/1999 he reveals, Cameroonian Henri DIKONGUE and produces his first two albums (“Wa and “C’est la vie”), and tours the world over with for four years.
1997, tours France with the Kenyan acrobats, JAMBO MAMBO.
2001, tours with the Madagascan accordionist Regis GIZAVO.
2002 , he records for the famous DJ Martin SOLVEIG (album «Sur la terre»)
From 2004, first project as a singer-writer-composer released under the pseudonym WAMBO (afro-reggae) and first tours with his own band in Cameroon.
2005, he records and plays with the Gabonese singer Pierre AKENDENGUE.
From 2006, he tours with the “Voices of percussion project “ and his dancers all around the world.
2006, he receives from Cameroon, the price of “the best artist living outside of the country” award by the TV channel “Canal 2”.
2006, he creates “CULTURE MBOA” collective to talk about piracy in Cameroon and organise an independent self market for original CD.
2005/2011 he joins the collective «VOICES» based in New York and lead by Philip HAMILTON.
2006/2011 touring and recording all around the world, preparing the new projects.
2013/2014 “Voyages &Friends” CD/DVD/Film
2016, he produces and arranges the album “Calebasse vide” from the camerounian’s singer Gaby FOPA .
Production and arrangement of the song “WE LOVE FOOTBALL” for the women’s African cup of nations.
2017 1st single “Bolè Bolè” and 2019 a second one “Je ne peux pas” released under the pseudonym WAMBO.
2019 he creates with the singer Landy Amdriamboavonji the vocal group COLOR VOICES in Lyon (France).