Roland Tchakounté

American blues has been blended with African traditions and sung in the Bamileke language by Cameroon-born and France-based guitarist/vocalist Roland Tchakounté.

Initially influenced by R&B performers, including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and Marvin Gaye, Tchakounté was drawn to the music's roots after "discovering" the blues and boogie music of late-bluesman John Lee Hooker. The experience was so profound that, as he explained during a 1999 interview, "I immediately brought together American blues and the African blues -- these two musics had the same source. I, thus, had discovered my way." Tchakounté -- who also cites the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison as influences -- studied African percussion before switching to the guitar. After playing bass and singing for a series of local bands, he launched his solo career in the mid-'90s. Following the release of his self-produced, debut solo album Afro Blues in 1999, he toured with a band that featured French guitarist Jean-Pierre Vimont, bassist Thierry Mothier, keyboards player Christian Rousset, and drummer Jean Luc Deshayes. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi

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