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Gino Sitson: eminent artiste on a mission to bring hope to street children

Gino Sitson in a working session with street kids in Yaounde ©UNICEF

Gino Sitson, Cameroonian-born award-winning New York-based vocal virtuoso will today launch a new album in Yaounde. The album entitled « D’un souffle commun », is not an album typical of the seven other albums he has to his credit.  The eighth which will be presented this afternoon, is a production involving the participation of street children he trained in Yaounde.

This is in line with his committement to the play the role of a UNICEF Good Will Abassador- a role he gladly agreed to uphold during a press conference recently organised in Yaounde. He had dedicated his seventh album, “Body and Voice” to street children. He says his journey with UNICEF is a mission to rekindle hope and self confidence in children in despair. He is also on a mission to raise funds for street children in the Foyer de l’Esperance in Yaounde.

Gino Sitson, who holds a French and American nationality hails from the West region of Cameroon. He is a forerunner of a new generation of multi-culturally influenced African musicians who are integrating into their musical styles their own exciting yet baffling welter of “in-between” living experiences (north/south, tradition/modernity, 20th /21st  century). As described on his own website, his musical project combines in a most innovative way jazz, gospel, blues and traditional African polyphonies, polyrhythms and melodies.

Sitson’s four-octave vocal range plus his skills as a composer and arranger put him in high demand for recording sessions and for commercials and radio and TV jingles. Some them include Danone, Dim, Peugeot, Vahine.

The versatile vocalist performed in a musical and co-composed part of the music (Jeanne et le Garson Formidable). He has laid down tracks or shared the stage with Manu Dibango, Ron Carter, Papa Wemba, Wally Badarou, John Scofield, Geri Allen, David Gilmore, Haruko Nara, Bobby McFerrin, Frank Wess, Ray Lema, Craig Harris, James Hurt, Antoine Roney, John William, Mario Canonge, Wallace Roney, Brice Wassy, Oliver NGoma, Exile One, Steve Potts, So Why? (Featuring Youssou NDour, Papa Wemba, Wally Badarou, Jabu Khanyile & Bayete, Lourdes Van-Dunem, and Lucky Dube) and La Compagnie Creole, among others.

In 2008, Sitson was invited by Bobby McFerrin to take part in a special project that took place at the Carnegie Hall (“Instant Opera”). He appeared in the 2009 PBS documentary film “The Music Instinct: Science and Song”, featuring Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Levitin, Oliver Sacks, Daniel Barenboim, and Yo-Yo Ma.

A member of Chamber Music America, he is regularly engaged for movie scores and commercials. He has also appeared several times on TV and also composed music for the noted children’s TV show, Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon). Since 2006, Sitson is a Cultural Arts ambassador for the city of Miami (Florida). Meanwhile, his international career continues apace.

He has received the “Parents Choice Silver Medal Honor Award” in 2004 and was nominated for the RFI Awards 2000 (Finalist “Decouvertes RFI” 2000). His recent output includes soundtracks to Betrayal (Kevin Ngooh), Blue Lotus (Dayo Ayodele) and Koming from Afrika (Blaise-Christian Sitchet); jingles for France Television and France 3. Sitson performed at the Carnegie Hall with his own group in 2008. Aside from musical performances, Gino leads vocal workshops served by his amazing vocal technique, his musical knowledge and his desire to share his love for vocal explorations.

Gino has developed workshops for professional as well as non-professional singers, and also for children. A researcher in musicology, his work focuses on music cognition, expressive properties of the voice and the process of transmitting music from the “black” diaspora. Among them, he is particularly interested in Gwoka music from Guadeloupe.Sitson is currently completing a PhD in musicology at the Paris-Sorbonne University.


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Published on 28.04.2020

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