Born on October 29, 1950 in Bandjoun - Western Cameroon, André Marie Tala lost his mother at the age of four. He is raised by his grandmother, a traditional singing master in Bandjoun. His uncle plays accordion. In the early 1960s, the young Tala joined a Christian school choir led by Canadians. He plays tom-tom. In 1965 his world collapses abruptly. His father dies and André Marie Tala himself becomes blind. The teen makes his own guitar to take care of himself. Despite his disability, he works constantly. Touched by this determination, his uncle Paul Wafo offers him a real guitar. More respite! The youngster plays a total of 18 hours of guitar a day: "I did not sleep very much and I kept going for three years", he remembers.
At the age of 17 Tala founded his first band. The Rock Boys, with which he played his first compositions that quickly became a regional success: Although heavily influenced at this time by omnipresent French and American pop / rock sounds, the young artist wrote from the beginning his own texts. These lyrics - with an often deep moral or philosophical message - will become an important hallmark of Tala's music.
The group quickly gained some success and began a tour of the Bamileke country and the rest of Cameroon. André Marie Tala is becoming more and more confident and decided to change the name of the group in Les Tigres Noirs ( The Black Tigers). At the same time a talented and promising young guitarist named Sam Fan Thomas joined the band. The latter will later make a successful international solo career with his Makassi rhythm and reached the top of the African charts in the 80s and 90s with a string of danceable hits such as: African Typic Collection, Noa and Mandela.
In October 1972, André Marie Tala flew for the first time to France, where he signed a contract with Decca. On this occasion he starts his first collaboration with Manu Diabango. This meeting marks a turning point in his career. Three 45-rpm singles come from it, including six Tala compositions, arranged by Manu Dibango: Sikati, Forgive Me, Potaksina, Café , Na Mala Ebolo and Bwop.These titles become a great (inter)national success, In particular Na Mala Ebolo becomes a real master stroke with more than 120.000 copies sold in 1973.
|Bend Skin or Moto Taxi|
é Marie Tala with the release of the album African Funk Experimentals 1975 - 1978. This compilation is not a "best of" Tala, that has already been done in 2009 by the label RetroAfric with the CD Bend Skin Beats. For their compilation Africa Seven mainly made use of the albums Tala made for Fiesta Records from 1973 - 1978.