Ethno Music is a summer camp for young folk musicians from all over the world. It started in Falun, Sweden 1990 as a collaboration between Concerts Sweden/JM Sweden and the famous Falun Folk Music Festival. Based on work shops where the participants are encouraged to share the musical tradition of their countries and teach each other songs and tunes of their own culture, three countries of which Estonia the host , Belgium and Germany where the targets for the 2015 events.
T Son Evas from Cameroon son of the famous Folklore icon Prince Yerima Afo A Kom was the African representative. T Son Evas was hooked on a live interview to share his moments with the country in his prestige journey to the Ethno Music Event 2015.
His first performance in Estonia with the group, he was opportune to be interviewed by the Estonian national television channel, something he never dreamt of happening first in Europe. Also in Germany, His face was published in the German national newspaper. “The Europeans likes’ culture” he started.
KM: What were some of the challenges you faced?
T Son: the challenges I faced actually were not that enormous though arriving there my first week was kind of strange but as the days went by, I found myself in a family again. A Family of love and creativeness.
KM: Where you the only African and how did it felt?
T Son: Yeah I was the only African representative. Actually it was awesome making family with people I never dreamt of. I was the only unique one among the congregation because I was from Africa…you can imagine how I felt. They Ethno team love collaboration, we shared our ideas, cultures and concepts.
KM: What different can you make with our culture and theirs?
T Son: that I will tell you those guys over there are creative and encouraging. A white will not listen to anything musical or hear people or a person singing and pass without encouraging. They promote music, they live music, what we Africans really lack and needs to get used to. They make you feel like a king without a kingdom. But all the same, I noticed that culture is a universal phenomenon. Music is a language that everybody understands, I mean! It is universal. A whites just want to hear you combine instruments plus your voice and make some good melody out of it… Being there was like me telling the world that Africa is always in the network.
KM: What have you brought back home as a lesson?
T Son: if I will shorten the whole sentence to a one word or words, I will say Creativity. Music is life, being creative is being alive. One has to be creative, and when you are creative you enjoy life with a different flavor. That is what I saw in Estonia, Belgium and Germany. Those guys are too creative, anytime they can do something that you will be amaze.
KM: African culture and Western culture did you noticed any big different?
T Son: very big difference because culture is universal. We have our own ways of living so do them. But the only slide and interesting difference is the prestige you have been a creative somebody. Which that we are still lacking. Promoting our own local artists and entertainers.
KM: Your father is a Cameroon Folklore icon, why did you choose to sing like him or why the same genre?
T Son: Folk music is life. Folk Music is talking with the world with drums and voices. People say I sing like my dad but I don’t think so because I try to cross bridges, go beyond the ordinary folklore music like my dad and others to attract a wider markets and music lovers. But I have my dad in me, he inspires me a lot because one must start from picking from somebody and modifying to get his or her own style and uniqueness.
KM: You come from where the Afo A Kom was stolen for Europe and was brought back, did you share some of those memories in the camp?
T Son: I talked about the Afo-A-Kom, I talked about Africa as well. I was shocked when I started naming great artists in Cameroon like my dad, Manu Di Bango, Richard Bona and some never knew they were from Cameroon. To tell you, some don’t know these guys are Africans because of who are they are known to be over there. They really appreciated Cameroon and it cultural diversity.
KM: Considering the diversity of Cameroon’s culture, what type of songs did you thought them during your days of teaching?
T Son: Yah everybody there was a teacher so I too was a teacher of the African music especially the North West, Njang and the Littoral, Makossa. We all had difference days of teaching. I thought songs of the North West and the ancient Makossa by Petit Pays, Eboa Lotin and lot more. I must tell you we have a good picture in music out there when the camera is turned to Africa.
KM: What advice would you give to other artists?
T Son: the only message I will give to other musician or entertainers is that, they should be unique. Be original, be the creator and not the opportunist. If you are to mimic somebody’s style in music, crop with flair and modify so that it resembles you.
KM: It was our pleasure having you T Son on our interview and welcome back home.
T Son: the pleasure is all mind. Really I should have been the one thanking you guys for what you have done to me and what you are doing to out entertainment industry. I am happy.
Watch T Son Evas and the team composing the Ethno Music anthem.