Instrument(s): Bass Guitar, Piano
A native of Yaoundé, Cameroon in Central Africa, composer, arranger and bassist, Andre Manga got his start in music by building his first musical instrument at seven years old, a pseudo marimba made with bamboo and a part of a tree trunk. From there, he went on to design a guitar with strings made from bicycle brakes cables!
A chance encounter with worldbeat superstar Manu Dibango convinced Manga to pursue a career as a performer although his parents disapproved of this musical leaning. By age 17, Manga was the bassist of the Cameroon National Orchestra. Soon after he relocated to Gabon to become a top session musician.
Andre has recorded dozens of albums with African artists such as Hilarion Nguema, Tou Kone Daouda, Angele Assele, and Jean-Claude Naimro from the internationally renowned group Kassav. In 1988, André moved from Gabon to Paris and toured internationally with Pierre Akendengue. He later became Manu Dibango’s bass player and musical director, as they toured the world. André also joined a group of Cameroonian musicians to perform on Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints album.
By 1995, Andre had settled in Los Angeles with the goal of combining jazz with traditional African rhythms. His Narada label debut LP Mother Rhythm appeared in 1998. “A festive package of energetic jazz-driven instrumental and vocal compositions”—Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide. In 2011, André released another album, called Voyages. The album got 5 stars from Lee Armstrong of Jazz Party who described it as ”So hot. It burns me through the speakers”.
Andre has produced albums for Prince Diabaté, Manu Dibango, Ashley Maher, Isabelle Longnus, and many others. He has toured and/or performed with various artists including Georges Seba, David Zasloff, Boyz II Men, All4one, The temptations, Karen Briggs, Teshina Arnold, Bebe Winans, Jacky Jackson, Andrae Crouch, Donny McKurklin, Jeffrey Osbourne, Dr Dre, Kevin Tone, Patrice Rushen, Frieda Payne, Kirk Whalum, Marc Antoine, Lokua Kanza, Rick Braun, Peter White, Lao Tizer, Norman Brown, Eddy Murphy, and many others. He currently holds the bass position with singer songwriter global sensation Josh Groban.
In lessons each week, Andre relishes the chance to pull from his eclectic background to create and engaging and inspiring environment for his students to learn bass guitar and piano. He enjoys instilling the same passion for music in his students and helping them discover their sound through a thoughtfully planned and specialized curriculum.