Fredy Massamba a singer-songwriter based in Belgium has been described by many as a gem of African music.
As a child while in Congo where he was born in 1971, he developed a passion for radio.
Listening to radio later led him to the discovery of Congolese rumba. And since then the renowned musician has never looked back. But this passion was more less a family affair. His father loved music and his mother sang in a church choir. At the age of 14, Massamba started singing and dancing on the streets and later joined several choirs where he started singing and drumming as a career. He is one of the most promising superstars of African music.
He began his career in 1991 as the co-founder of the group “Les tambours de Brazza” which performed across the world. His voice fascinated audiences and was well received wherever the group performed.
Following the outbreak of war in his country, Massamba relocated to Belgium in 1997. He was already known as founding member of the Tambours de Brazza and also his collaborations with artistes like Zap Mama, Didier Awadi and Manou Gallo put him in limelight. Fredy Massamba emerged on the music scene with Ethnophony, his first solo album at the Kora Awards 2012 held in Abidjan where he was nominated as the best male artiste in central Africa.
“I wanted to make a soul album with a touch from home between Africa where I come from and what I am here,” Massamba said about his debut album Ethnophonic.
While he has lived in Belgium for many years, Massamba has not forgotten his roots singer- the streets and choirs of Congo’s capital Brazzaville. With an outlook he describes as “Afro-European”, his music very much mirrors the duality of this worldview. The sounds and rhythms of his homeland (such as old Pygmy songs) are clearly detectable in his otherwise ultra-contemporary mix of soul, R&B and hip-hop. Fredy Massamba is every inch the modern African man, a bridge between the mother continent and New York, between ancestral voices and urban street sounds. Today his style of singing represents an incomparable fusion of pygmy chanting from the central African rain forests, Jazz and Soul.
Unusual for African artistes, he has toured the world and has worked with international music giants. He had his first European tour in 1997 at the colour Coffee Festival, Image of Africa, Amsterdam Roots Festival, and Music Metisse. That was the genesis of his world tours where he traversed Europe, America, India and Africa
He participated in the 2013 Womad Festival in the UK. The great Neo Soul and Africa soul singer came to Kigali for the first time and he was accompanied by 4 musicians who electrified the Rwandan audience it was his first time to visit Rwanda but he impressed.