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Édition du 22-05-2011
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16 juillet 2006

Franck Biyong

Born in December 1973, Franck BIYONG was attracted by music at a very early age. From Cameroonese parents, he spent most of his childhood and teenage years in West-Africa where he studied and learned music through the influence and guidance of his father, a noted choir singer, guitar and bass player from a very religious family who had a Baptist church in Cameroon back then.

At first, he studied piano, but rapidly turned to drums and percussion, for he was already clearly influenced by West African popular music sounds : the formation of his musical identity started right there. He left Africa for Europe at the age of 14 and discovered other musical styles and genres there that helped him to redefine his musical tastes and opened his ears to western “pop” music in general. He abandoned drums for guitar, bass and basic keyboards, deciding along the way he would become a professional musician .He started working with every band or musical unit or ensemble that requested his services as a multi-instrumentalist, in all musical style ; from jazz big bands to the power trio rock bands : the experience helped to develop his appreciation for a wide variety of music. In parallel, he started recording demos influenced by his musical heroes (Fela, Miles Davis, the Wailers, George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, Kassav’, Burning Spear, Outkast amongst others) and trying to get record deals in France and England. His tapes got the best reception in England where he then settled, working as a session man in Brighton and composing many tracks for the LUMEN label.
The discovery of UK’s electronica scene and sounds helped to enlarge his vision.
After FELA’s death in 1997, he decided to return to France and form his own “Afro beat” ensemble to pursue the great man’s musical legacy in his own way.
Constant touring and recording helped him gain recognition on the” Afro beat revival” scene : He performed on European stages and travelled to New York, starting working with different labels (DESCO, SOUL FIRE) ; his “BLA” track became a club hit in 2002. He produced tracks for many labels and compilations for major record companies, while becoming one of the “ Afro beat Diaspora’s best kept secrets”. The “We shall overcome” track as well as other 45‘s and 12” records in 2003 pioneered the Afro-soul sound that helped him to gain a new audience and a wider attention to his “Afrolectric” fusion of Afro beat, Electro-funk and Jazz. He will release his LP in 2005 and will base his activities in North America to establish a visionary crossover African sound there. Afrolectric is the new African sound for the next millennium, and Biyong one of the very few original musical personalities that have appeared on the scene recently.

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