Emanuel Lima is one of the biggest afro-zouk music producers of the world producing hundreds of songs for legendary artists like the Gabonese singer, Oliver N’Goma. Manu Lima is generally not known among the younger generation of dancers (in better places) despite the fact that many of the songs they are dancing on are actually produced by him. He is also the founder of Cabe Verde Show, a famous band in Cape Verde (CV). Manu Lima is credited for an astonishing 270 releases according to the Discogs database.
He was the producer for countless popular PALOP bands and solo singers in numerous musical styles like afro-zouk, morna, coladera, cabo-zouk, cabo-love, soukous, Congolese “rumba”, kizomba.
He worked as a producer for
- The legendary Oliver N’Goma (afro-zouk, Gabon),
- The queen of afro-zouk, Monique Séka (afro-zouk, Ivory Coast / Côte d’Ivoire),
- Mathely (afro-zouk, Ivory Coast / Côte d’Ivoire)
- The Congolese “rumba” queen, Mbilia Bel (Congolese “rumba”, in Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC),
- The humble giant Pépé Kallé (soukous, DRC),
- Koffi Olomide (soukous, DRC)
- Sekouba Bambino (Guinea)
- The legendary Carlos Burity (kizomba/semba, Angola)
- Grace Evora (afro-zouk, in CV),
- the world-class Cesária Évora (morna / coladera, in CV)
- Nando Da Cruz (CV)
- Marizia (CV)
- Paulinha (cabo-love, CV)
Emanuel Lima was born in Dakar, Senegal, in a catholic family. At that time, pop music was very popular in Senegal, and the local radios played a lot of U.S. and British pop music in addition to African, Cabe Verdian music, patchanga, and salsa. This had a great influence on Manu.
Later, the family moved on to live on the archipelago of CV (located in the central Atlantic Ocean, far from the coasts of West-Africa), and finally, he settled down in France.
Manu was sent to university in France to become a physician, but his father found out that Manu was not studying. Manu said to his father that “If you give me a keyboard then I will go back to school. Can you give me a keyboard?” However after receiving the instrument, he never went back to study. In fact, he started working for non-PALOP musicians at first. After that, he started working with Jacob Desvarieux (from Kassav, RIP) and PALOP musicians. And he run quite a career in the music industry.
Cabo Verde Show
In 1971, Manu founded Cabe Verde Show with Gérard Mendes, Jean-Claude Mendes, Manuel Gomes, and René Cabral. In 1977, they released their very first album. Initially, the band drew inspiration from Cape Verdian artists like Voz de Cabe Verde (a band founded in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1966 by Luis Morais, Morgadinho, Frank Cavaquinho, Jean Da Lomba, and Toy Ramos), Bana, and from pop music.
Cabo Verde Show’ style is like a fusion of Cabe Verdian and other African music, with pop, zouk, soul, funcy, rock etc.). It is apparent that Manu makes use a lot of these elements in his afro-zouk productions as well.
Zouk influence came in later for the band, after the world-wide success and popularity of the Kassav band with its new type of fast zouk called “zouk chiré” or “zouk béton” (translated as “zouk hard”). Despite the popular misconceptions, the medium tempo zouk came to being first, followed by the fast zouk of Kassav, and finally zouk-love was created. Zouk-love was also invented by Kassav, and not by Jean Michel Rotin who became one of the most-known zouk-love artists.
Cabo Verde Show – selected songs
1. Cabo Verde Show – Graça di no sei (1977)
2. Cabo Verde Show – Caminho De Esperança (coladera, 1980)
3. Cabo Verde Show – Teteya (1985)
4. Cabo Verde Show – Joana (1986, funaná influence is clear with that unique accordion sounds)
5. Cabo Verde Show – Bo e Cabo Verdiana (with zouk influence, 1988)
6. Cabo Verde Show – Sognou Di Gna Vida (1991)
Afro-zouk’s popularity peaked during the 1990s, which was the golden era of the style. The term “afro-zouk” is used to indicate that this type of music is based on the fusion of zouk with local music in African countries, and thereby creating different music styles. Mainly in West-Africa because that region is, in geographic terms, relatively closer to the Antilles. These are “zouk”-like songs produced in Africa, hence the term “afro-zouk” arised.
Kizomba is an afro-zouk mini-style and cultural identity created by Angolans around Luanda, and Angolan civil-war-emigrants in Lisbon in 1980s. The “kizomba” (in kumbundu language) identifier came around 1984/85. It can’t be stressed enough that the word kizomba has already existed before with centuries-old colonial past, and a deep meaning for Angolans. It is a mistake to talk about it without context, only limiting its meaning to dancing and music.
Other people give different names to their invented afro-zouk version. In Cape Verde these musical styles are: cabo-zouk, cola-zouk, cabo-love. Although, these are different musical styles, but sound so similar to each other that the distiction is very hard. Moreover, these styles can be confused with kizomba due to similarity. Unfortunately, kizomba is incorrectly used as an umbrella term to describe these “afro-zouk” styles even among Palops, but it is clear that zouk music connects them together. In reality we should talk about zouk-umbrella. It is also true that kizomba can be danced on all of these styles, but that doesn’t mean the music is kizomba.
The first afro-zouk song ever made: Monique Séka – Missounva (1989), produced by Manu Lima. Monique Séka from Ivory Coast is the queen of afro-zouk with her beautiful voice.
1. Monique Séka – Missounva (afro-zouk, Ivory Coast, 1989)
2. Monique Séka – Okaman (afro-zouk, Ivory Coast, 1995)
Manu Lima produced three albums of the legendary singer Oliver N’Goma (RIP) of Gabon. Oliver used to sing in churches and was a shy person. After Manu listened to his unique voice, they started working together. Oliver N’Goma was a huge success: he is the “Michael Jackson of afro-zouk”, and Manu is like Jackson’s producer, Quincy Jones. Oliver N’Goma’s biggest hits were: Bane, Icole, Adia, Ngé.
1. Oliver N’Goma – Bane (afro-zouk, Gabon, 1989)
2. Oliver N’Goma – Icole (afro-zouk, Gabon, 1989)
3. Oliver N’Goma – Adia (afro-zouk, Gabon, 1995)
4. Oliver N’Goma – Ngé (afro-zouk, Gabon, 1995)
Manu was producer for the legendary Angolan semba musician, Carlos Burity (RIP) as well. They made the song Tia Joaquina which is afro-zouk / kizomba, where the base rhythm is semba, but the zouk beat was added onto it. Manu Lima contributed to numerous songs for the albums Paxi Iami (2005) and Malalanza (2010).
1. Carlos Burity – Tia Joaquina (2010, kizomba, Angola)
2. Carlos Burity – Dominguinha (2010, semba / Angolan “rumba”, Angola)
Other afro-zouk artists
1. Phil Control – Parfum l’anmou (zouk, 1988)
2. Mathely – Ameyatchi (afro-zouk, Ivory Coast, 1996)
3. Sekouba Bambino – Sinontena (afro-zouk, Guinea, no year)
4. Mbilia Bel – Douceur (afro-zouk, its the mix between zouk love and Congolese “rumba”, DRC, 2001)
5. Président Gadji Céli – AFP (Amour foyer problèmes) (afro-zouk, Ivory Coast, 2016)
Cape Verdian artists
Cape Verdian singers became popular in the late 1990s: Manu worked with Grace Evora, Marizia, Nando Da Cruz, Paulinha to name a few.
1. Cesaria Évora – Bia de Lulutcha (a mixture of coladera, cola-zouk, afro, funky and base drums from America; CV, 1989).
2. Nando da Cruz – Cabo Verde Querida (cabo-zouk, CV, 1992)
3. Grace Evora – Aportunidad (cabo-zouk, CV, year unkown)
4. Grace Evora – Lolita (cola-zouk, CV, 1999)
5. Paulinha – Até lá (cabo-love, CV, year unkown)
6. Marizia – Terra Franca (afro-zouk, CV, 2001)
Selected soukous songs produced by Manu
1. Koffi Olomidé – Tcha Tcho do Sorcier (soukous, DRC, 1990)
2. Pépé Kallé – Gérant (soukous, DRC, 1991)
3. Pépé Kallé – Moyibi (soukous, DRC, 1991)
4. Président Gadji Céli – L’homme est méchant (soukous, Ivory Coast, 2016)