Includes 'Meso Wa Yen' - finalist of USA Songwriting Competition 2013

Sally Nyolo: Tiger Run

Sally Nyolo’s second Riverboat Records album is inspired by the moment before a tiger attacks – hushed in the long grass, senses alert, eyes wide, ears pricked, quiet purr, humming low. The title track ‘Tiger Run’ simmers with a musical mood akin to this idea: listen out for gently warping guitars, feather-light percussion and Sally’s demure husky vocal. The tiger cat acts as a totem throughout Tiger Run, flexing its claws as the main source of inspiration. In conversation Sally Nyolo credits the animal for guiding her to compose music that strives toward a sense of power infused with lightness and agility. 

Sally explains further that her family name, ‘mó ngone metame mezeï’, means ‘daughter of the tiger’s whiskers’ and how via meditation she has mindfully crafted an almost shamanic musical relationship with her animal namesake. The symbolism of the tiger also feeds into Sally’s longstanding musical relationship with the natural wonders of the country of her birth, Cameroon. She notes the influence of singing forests that harbour ancient songs of the pygmies upon her work. Sally is so deeply committed to relating her music to nature that she states that the message of the album is to move people to listen closely to the world around them, to take time to hear the beating of insect wings, to hear the rhythm of the heart, to hear the beautiful acoustic universe around us.

Sally was born in the village of Eyen-Meyong, near the town of Tala, in the Lékié region of Cameroon. Throughout the album Sally sings in her native language Eton, as well as in English and French. At the age of thirteen she moved to Paris, where she still resides. Heading northwards and crossing the Mediterranean Sea at such a young age of course had a lasting impact on Sally’s creative oeuvre. Alongside Cameroonian traditional influences we hear ripples of French pop, no doubt ebbing into Sally’s consciousness during her stint as a backing singer with artists including Jacques Higelin, Sixun and Nicole Croisille and as a member of hugely successful vocal group Zap Mama. Her music is also resonant with bikutsi, a Cameroonian traditional and urban style that is characterized by 6/8 rhythms and female-led vocal choruses. Asked about her early influences she reminisces about hearing her aunts sing together at village festivals, about treasured radio transmissions of Prince Nico Mbarga and Lucky Manga, and upon arriving in France about her discovery of Bob Marley’s reggae as well as the hottest rock, blues and jazz of the era.

Sally has released seven albums in total, now chalking up her eighth with old friends Riverboat Records. We released her album Studio Cameroon back in 2006 and have remained friends and fans of her magical music ever since. On this album Sally is joined by a host of musicians including Ivorian jazz-fusion drummer Paco Séry and bass guitarist Papus Diabaté (son of the famous Malian guitarist Zani Diabaté). Soprano Nathalie Leonoff is heard on ‘Le Faiseur De Pluie Par Tous Les Temps’, achieving Sally’s longheld dream of working with an opera singer. Bantu bluesman Jo N’Gala adds percussion on ‘Tiger Run’ and ‘Elle Regarde Passer’.

Sally Nyolo’s Tiger Run is poised to pounce and sink its slinking rhythms deep into your skin. Listen as the tiger’s daughter dances close, marking her musical territory, and singing out at her creative zenith.

Sally Nyolo: Tiger Run


"Le faiseur de pluie par tous les temps... by francemusique