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Ngos'a Bedimo

First Metal band from Cameroon - Ngos'a Bedimo -by Steven Jouwersma

Ngos'a Bedimo (music from the ghosts) 2009/2012

Fragment of the video. original length 21 minutes. 

An attempt to start the first metal band of Cameroon.

In Cameroon I discovered during my residency at the Art Bakery in Bonnendale the presence of a rich culture consisting of stories about witchcraft and occultism, which has a profound influence in the daily lives of ordinary people. Parallel to this I discovered a complete absence of hard guitar music. Particularly surprised I was about the non-existence of any form of metal scene in Central Western Africa while in the sixties rock and roll and funk did exist and flourished. Especially surprised, because the metal sub-culture has an almost exclusive status as a music-genre to have a tendency to adorn itself with symbols and themes deriving from the occult. I saw an overlap between two distant cultures and became fascinated by the idea about how a Cameroonian Metal band would look like. (There are some fascinating scenes at the border of Botswana and South Africa but that is quite a leap from Cameroon.)

This idea led to a lively exchange between local musicians and myself, after which we started the creation of the first metal band in the country. A local music-genre normally evolves in an “organic” way or by the influence of the music industry. In my approach I follow neither of these models, and I regard my presence and influence therefore as a cultural intervention. What the project leaves behind is the spirit of an idea how Metal in Cameroon could have looked like. The 50 t-shirts with the band logo handed out during the concert are artifacts of that.

The video work which follows Jouwersma through dark streets of Douala and to the top of Mount Cameroon, shows the conversations between Jouwersma and Raska who is a known Reggae singer and is enthusiastic about starting a new music style that Jouwersma proposes. Raska tells many of the occult stories that are part of daily life in Cameroon and they become the basis for some of the first song tittles. Raksa and Jouwersma get together local musicians and The band Ngos'a Bedimo is born (Music of the Ghosts). Things turn out differently when Raska disappears just before the first performance and Jouwersma suddenly suffers from a mysterious eye infection.

An interview with Metal blog "invisible Oranges" about Ngos'a Bedimo

An interview with Nicholas Barber about "Ngos'a Bedimo" on the critical africaasacountry blog.

  • Type : Cultural intervention, music performance - Video '21 DV Video

  • Space: Melodies D'atan, Night Club Douala , Cameroon

  • Context: During a Residency at Art Bakkery (Goddy Leye)

  • Materials: Poster, Band T-shirts

Musicians: Dionkugu Drums, Steven Jouwersma + absent muscians by car failure Raska, Jackson Berry, Manga Jerry.
Thanks to: Goddy Leye, Jantine Wijnja, Sander Veenhof, Jackson, Silas, Raska, Manga Jerry, Jackson Berry, Nikolaj Larsen (editing) , Veridiana Zurita (editing) and all the fans.

Supported/curated by Hotel Maria Kapel for the Elopement Residency