Artist: Barbara Kanam
Barbara Kanam (born September 27, 1973 in Bukavu, Zaire - now Democratic Republic of the Congo) is a globally recognized and award winning Congolese singer-songwriter. She is also a music producer and an actress. Kanam's work has been called a standard for female African musicians, and is known among contemporary urban African music for the quality of her voice.
n 1991, Kanam earned a Brevet de Technicien Supérieur degree (or Advanced Specialist degree) in International Trade. She then began singing and writing music for an orchestra band called Devotion. She perfected her vocal technique at the prestigious Psalmody Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, and took guitar lessons at the same time. In 1994, after thirteen months of lessons, Kanam went on to create a musical arrangement for her first tour, the "Acoustic One Woman Show", which toured Central Africa.
In 1995, Kanam settled in Abidjan, Ivory Coast where she experimented musically by joining a religious choir. She later joined a church ensemble called the Grace Choir in Cocody, Ivory Coast, as a regular singer. In 1997, Kanam decided to continue her studies in International Trade.
In 1998, Kanam released her first album, Mokili, with producer Kone Dodo. This made her popular in the African music genre, and earned her a Kora Award nomination.
In 2003 she released her second album, Teti, which gained international recognition. She then began touring across Africa and Europe, and earned the following awards:
2003 Kora Award | Best Actress in Johannesburg
2004 Kunde D'Or Award | Best female artist of Central Africa in Ouagadougou
2004 Tamani D'Or Award | Best actress of Central Africa in Bamako
In 2005, with producer Kiki Touré and producer-arranger Edgar Yonkeu, Kanam released a cover of the song Bibi Madeleine L'argent (Translation: 'money attracts money'), which also featured her fiance Awilo Longomba. This song was a huge success in Africa, the Caribbean and Europe - especially France. In 2005, she gained recognition at the Black Music Awards in Cotonou, Benin for best female video.
Her career has included numerous collaborations with artists such as Jacob Desvarieux as well as Edgar Yonkeu, with whom she produced African Dance Company in 2006. In the same year Kanam accepted an invitation to appear on Fally Ipupa's album Droit Chemin on a song entitled 100% Love. Subsequently, Ipupa contributed to a song on Kanam's album entitled Noir et Blanc.
On June 25, 2009, Kanam and Touré released her third album under her own music label, Kanam Music, entitled Karibu (which means Welcome in Swahili). The album was also a critical success, with journalists and broadcasters like Claudy Siar and Yves Robert Brazza Kambala declaring it one of the best releases in 2009. Kanam became a "standard-bearer" for female African musicians.
Later that year, the singer was recognized at the United Nations headquarters at the Sebroko Hotel in the Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Kanam delivered a message of peace over the United Nations radio broadcast airways.