performing arts & music / profiles / Sandra Nkaké

Sandra Nkaké

(Updated on May 14, 2014)
© Benjamin Colombel

Sandra Nkaké is a singer-songwriter-composer who has grown up between Yaoundé (Cameroun) and Paris. She was bounced back and forth on a regular basis between two different cultures and climates, and was confronted with mostly opposing social codes. Cinema, literature and music became her primary sources of refuge.

As an adolescent, her roommates were the albums “Sisters of Mercy” by Leonard Cohen and “Blue Valentine” by Tom Waits, the movie “Taxi Driver”, the universe of Sergio Leone, the movies by John Houston, the shadows and the lights of the works of Auguste Renoir, the colors of Matisse, the books “The Hotel New Hampshire” and “Boule de Suif”, but also the stories of Boris Vian and Chester Himes.

These stories offered her guidance in a daily life where adults were both violent and distant, to the point where she created her own universe, inhabited by an old lady adorned by a white hat, Pompidou, a young lunatic and the doughnut merchant of the northern neighborhood of Nkongkak. These characters evolved in secret short stories she made up and accompanied with a soundtrack, which she sang at the top of her voice.

This crazy yet joyous univers gives her the strength to believe in life and to imagine that it’s possible to reach out to others whilst still staying true to one’s convictions, without betraying oneself, without compromising. Chance, and fortuitous meetings become her guardian angels from this moment on.

The Sorbonne in Paris, where she pursues her wish to become a journalist and later on English professor, doesn’t manage to hold her back for a long time. She embarks on a double career as an actress and singer in the Thomas Le Douarec theatre troup, for Pierre Pradinas, Lea Fazer, Alain Maratrat and Phillys Roome, Praline Gay Para… in performances that have the particular aspect of combining theatre and music.

Her character as a singer overshadows her work as an actress and during the turmoil of Paris during the 2000s she meets and collaborates, both in the studio and on scene, with numerous artists with whom she feels a strong affinity, in total confidence: Jacques Higelin, Daniel Yvinec et l’orchestre National de Jazz, Juan Rozoff, Booster, Julian Lourau, Troublemakers, Ollano, Gérald Toto, Rodolphe Burger, Nana Vasconcelos, Ji Mob as well as her group project: PUSH UP!

At this time she decides to devote her time to her own repertoire and gives out her first album “Mansaadi” in 2008. From this point she becomes known as an artist endowed with an amazing voice of multiple colors: deep and powerful, yet fragile, all at the same time, which more and more listeners come to perceive as a gift. “Mansaadi” speaks of love, sharing, dialogue, and sincerity, of all that which she is deep down: a woman-child, a tomboy, a mother, and a woman both free and instinctive. She is never where you expect her to be. With a voice ranging between opera, folk and raspy blues, she lets her voice guide us on a journey through her stories. After three years she has toured all the venues of France, from filling “La Cigale” to clubs in central Africa (13 countries), Mexico and Brazil.

Today she releases her latest album “Nothing for Granted”. Halfway between soul energy, pop rock and imaginary soundtrack, Sandra Nkaké presents us a unique and personal album she has written, composed and recorded in her own home. She tells us of crossed destinies, individual or collective, all prey to existential choices.

Source: Jazz Village Music

Read more on Sandra Nkaké Official Website

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