Wes Madiko name means “The Roots of land of Ancestor” He is the King of World Music who was born in Mouataba, Cameroon and is better known as Wes. He is probably best known among Western audiences for In Youpendi, a song from The Lion King II soundtrack, as well as work with Deep Forest and his own 1997 hit “Alane”.
He first saw the light of day under the baobab tree in Mouataba, which lies some hundred miles away from the city of Douala, Cameroon. From the tender age of two, his grandfather taught him about healing music and how to play the kalimba instrument. The pair soon became inseparable. His grandfather taught him his love of Bantu history and the wisdom of the elephant of animist bantou philosophy. This was responsible for an important part of his education: “it was in bush school and during night-time gatherings listening to the metallic beat of the kalimba that I learned the adventures of the father of all ancestors, E’kwa Mutu.”
In 1977, at the age of ten, Madiko became the conductor of the group Kwa Kwassi, which means “think right”. This musical formation brought together the most talented youngsters in the village, who received instruction together in history and art.
In 1987, once more, Wes started to enjoy musical night of the Wouri riverbanks. He was impatient to get back in touch with the Mouataba spirit, to promote bafoun-bantou tradition and returned to the home of his ancestors. He revived the Kwa Kwassi orchestra and embarked on a tour in Bafoun country. A group of tourists turned up, and were all bewitched by the music, including a young woman from Lille, France. And so Wes set off for Europe, with his kalimba under his arm.
In 1988, the group Fakol with Benjamin Valfroy and Jo Sene was formed. Fakol played in the Netherlands and in other countries throughout Europe. Aside from his musical activity, Wes started to develop an involvement in social work. He visited schools in Lille, and worked with children. Wes took great pleasure in transmitting the wisdom of the elephants and the ancient history of Africa.
Two years after, Jacques, Wes’s brother and a talented guitarist, died. Their father died a few months later, following a motorbike accident. These incidents led Wes to meditate on the fragility of the self, saying: “there comes a time when a feeling of uselessness invades you and threatens to break you, but you hang in there, convinced that there ‘s always a breath of life somewhere.”
In 1992 Wes traveled to the US and released the album “Sun of Ancestors”. During this tour, he gave concerts in Atlanta, Georgia. In this period Wes also met Michel Sanchez of Deep Forest and became the singer of Deep Forest, after that they immediately formed an artistic collaboration, starting work on the album Welenga, which means “Universal Conscience”. In 1996 Wes signed with Sony Music France to release Welenga. Thus Wes became one of the first stars of the group Deep Forest earning a Grammy Award,.
In 2002, Paramount Pictures invited Wes to perform in the movie The Wild Thornberry, and his song Awa Awa was on the soundtrack. This song was also included in the soundtracks for the German movies Falsche Partner and Ein Fall Fuer Zwei. Alane was used in the German films Zahn Um Zahn and Aus Heiterem Himmel. As of 2007, Wes is working on a new Biography and spiritual book. He is also about to release a new album.
In 2010 Wes meet Zahra to work on a single entitled “Sela Sela” .They plan to do a number of humanitarian projects in relation with this project to spread the message of the joy of togetherness, unity, and breaking down border.
At the end of 2010 Wes Madiko Returns to his musical roots and joins forces with Paul Kwitek to bring you one of the the most beautiful and powerful musical experiences to date. This project is a creation of an album that will accompanied by a book written by Eugene Ebode and Wes.