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Miss Yuma: A Voice to Remember (Photo: Sam Dean)
EGVistas Magazine
Miss Yuma: A Voice to Remember EGVistas MagazineEGVistas Magazine

Music runs through Africa. Much as the Congo, Nile and Zambezi intersect and connect the people, places and periods of this vast continent, music flows from person to person, country to country, era to era.

The most popular African singers are those who tap into this musical stream. And in this globalized era, that often means tapping into the musical streams of other places, sometimes bringing home African sounds and beats that have morphed into blues, gospel, and hip hop.

African radio and television abound with music, often accompanied by groups of backup vocalists or dancers, some imitating the moves of Michael Jackson and the legion of performers who have tried to follow in his brilliant footsteps.

In Equatorial Guinea, the singer currently most popular is 34-year-old Miss Yuma. With a commanding voice and sure delivery, she performs a wide range of songs that are often mesmerizing. Her repertoire includes traditional African style songs as well as gospel, reggae, hip hop, and rhythm and blues.

Born in Evinayong on the mainland, she grew up in a musical home with two parents who both wrote and performed songs, and a grandmother who wrote traditional African songs. As a girl she sang in church, and later, when she moved to Spain, she started singing with friends, and recording songs.

“Ever since I was a child I always listened to gospel music,” she told us during a recent interview in Malabo.

A particular influence was Aretha Franklin: “I often tried to imitate her, to discipline myself to understand what she was singing.”

Over time, the influences broadened and Yolanda Ayingono (her real name) learned to mix these music styles with African music such that many of her songs weave these musical strands into a sound that is all her own.

She keeps the African in her music by often using the Fang language of Equatorial Guinea for the lyrics, or mixing Fang and Spanish in the same song.

In Central Africa at least, Congolese (as in DRC) music dominates and is most often what people like to dance to, sometimes mixed with local music in songs that please the people, she told us.

Yuma says she sometimes is able to compose songs in a few minutes, but at other times it takes months or even years. She wants her songs to advocate “brotherly love and peace” or simply to tell others something about her own thoughts and life. “I have worries and concerns that I like to share,” she says. She uses a piano to develop her songs.

She says that the prospects for new young singers in her country have improved greatly over the past few years. Whereas in the past, aspiring artists would have to travel abroad (often to neighboring Cameroon) to record their songs, they now can record and find places to perform locally.

Yuma says she enjoys performing, “to know that what I am doing is giving pleasure to the audience.” She hopes to be able to continue indefinitely. “My ambition is to do music until I die.”

For her many fans in Equatorial Guinea and abroad, this is very good news indeed.

“Stand Up” by Miss Yuma Listen to "Stand Up" by Miss Yuma
I want to go to Guinea, but how will I know that I am already there?
If I don’t see mountains, nor cities, what will I see there?
That is why I say to you, stand up, because the Ceiba airplane will be there
I say stand up, don’t wait, stand up, because the Ceiba airplane is here
I say stand up, eh, don’t ask, stand up, don’t wait, stand up, Ceiba is here

Oh Oh Oh Oh, yes, this is Guinea
Oh Oh Oh Oh, yes, this is Guinea

I want to go to Guinea, and I don’t know if there is anyone I can look up to
Someone who will guide me, and will do things for his country, that is why I say stand up, don’t ask, stand up, don’t wait, stand up, the son of Nguema Eneme will be there
And I say stand up, don’t ask stand up, don’t wait any longer, stand up because the mother Mangue Nzue will be there

Oh Oh Oh Oh, yes, this is Guinea
Oh Oh Oh Oh, yes, this is Guinea

Bioko North and South, stand up
Central South, Litoral, stand up
Wele Nzas and Annobon, stand up
Corisco and Elobeyes, stand up
Kie Ntem, we are a (pineapple)
The Ndowes are here, stand up
The Bubis also, stand up
The Fang also, stand up
The Annibonese also, stand up, all together we are one.

Our customs are Guinea
Our dances are Guinea
Our stories are Guinea
Our eyes are Guinea
Our grandparents are Guinea
Our colors are Guinea

Oh Oh Oh Oh, yes, this is Guinea
Oh Oh Oh Oh, yes, this is Guinea

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EG Vistas Malabo Guide

EG Vistas Magazine

EGVistas Magazine summer 2014
Summer 2014

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Iconic Cathedral of Malabo Gets a Facelift
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Miss Yuma: A Voice to Remember

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by 2020
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