By Solomon Amabo and Solomon Tembang
Inhabitants of Douala in particular and Cameroonians the world over were taken aback with the announcement of the death of Cameroon's Makossa singer, Charlotte Mbango.
She is said to have died on 2 June in a hospital in Paris, France where she was hospitalized after allegedly having been diagnosed of cancer. Her funeral program is still to be announced.
Charlotte Mbango started music in Church Choirs as early as 9-year-old as a soprano. At 13, she became a lead singer in high school and consequently founded her own Gospel and Negro Spirituals band, followed by school shows before leaving for Europe in 1979 for her studies.
Born in an artistic family (she's actually Eboa Lotin's granddaughter), Charlotte became part of the Parisian music scene by singing backing vocals for numerous Afro-Antilles artists.
Her solo career kicked off in 1987 with the release of her first album, "Nostalgie", a searing debut that paved the way for the following-year "Konkai Makossa", a worldwide success rewarded by a Golden Record, officially given by Paco Rabanne himself.
Mbango continued in the same spirit with "Maloko" (1991), "Malea" (1996) and then a double release in 1998 with "Combines Religieuses" and "Sans papiers" (a compilation).
In 2002, she started the new millennium beautifully with the release of "Mon Combat", followed in 2003 by a "Best Of" faithful to her talent.
In between records, Charlotte Mbango found time to travel the world and sing for her fans. From Cameroun to the French Antilles, stopping by France, Senegal, Mali, Gabon, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, USA and Canada… she knew how to open herself to the public and spread her message of love.
Her huge talent was largely acknowledged and rewarded by numerous honours such as the Honorary TAMANI she got in Bamako, Mali, during the 2003 Golden TAMANI ceremony. Her musical gift allowed her to collaborate with established names in the music world such as Manu Dibango and Paul Simon, among others.