Bebe Manga, performing at the Potent Secrets premiere
Bebe Manga, one of Cameroon's most popular and beloved musicians, excitedly joined the production of Potent Secrets not only by performing at the launching ceremony at Hilton-Yaounde, but also by offering her fourth album Temps futurs as a resource album for the film.
Four tracks from this album found their way into Potent Secrets: “Beko” was used for the opening credits and “Jemea longo” for the closing credits, while “Amio”(replayed in English) and “muna muto” (in English) were used as background music during moments of high emotional tension. “Amio” opens with the words “You are all I ever hope for; everything I ever dream of,” While the key phrase in “Muna Muto” is “You’ll always be within my heart though we have to part;” These songs whenever they were used dramatized the thematic concerns being portrayed. It is therefore not a far fetched idea to consider Bebe Manga’s “Temps futurs” the sound track of Potent Secrets.
Bebey Manga - a musical legend
Bebe Manga was born Elizabeth Bessem Manga on the 27th of November “a long time ago” as she prefers to put it. She hails from Tinto, Manyu Division, of the South West province, Cameroon.
Bebe Manga made her debut in the then Bar Americain in Douala in 1979 while on a night out with some friends. Her friends impressed on the manager of the club that Bebe Manga had a good voice and could sing. After singing “kissa Kissa”, the manager of the club, lost in admiration for the talented singer hired her on the spot there and then, so began her professional career. From that point on, it was a roller coaster ride. Bebe Manga has performed extensively in Africa: Gabon, Senegal, Mali, Zaire, Togo, Burkina Faso etc.
Bebe Manga rose to stardom and international fame in 1980 when she replayed Ebanda Manfred's 1962 radio hit, "Amie" (meaning "friend" in French). Bebe Manga's version known as "Amio" earned her the prestigious "Maracas D'or" award from SACEM, and a firm place in history as one of Cameroon's greatest voices who has been an inspiration to a new crop of female stars such as Ruth Kotto and Jackie Biho. Most notably, Bebe Manga transformed Ebanda Manfred's little-known Radio Douala recording into a worldwide hit that has attained cult status similar to Pete Seeger's Guantaramera, that other iconic song replayed by artists as diverse as Joe dassin and Wyclef Jean.
In the last two decades, Amio has been replayed dozens of times and in different languages by musicians in Europe, the Caribbean, Latin and North America, and Africa, among them André Astasié, Nayanka Bell, Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba, Monique Séka, Jackie Biho, Bisso na Bisso, and Bebe Manga again.
After a long stay in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Bebe Manga returned home to Cameroon in the mid-nineties. She presently resides in Douala, Cameroon where she continues to sing, collaborate with reknowned artists such as Manu Dibango and Tom Yom's (with whom she has done duets), and groom younger artists.
Having the great Bebe Manga's golden voice on Potent Secrets is without doubt one of the hallmarks of this great movie.