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Cameroon

Culture

Culture


Music and dance

Music and dance are an integral part of Cameroonian ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings, and storytelling. Traditional dances are highly choreographed and separate men and women or forbid participation by one sex altogether. The goals of dances range from pure entertainment to religious devotion.Traditionally, music is transmitted orally. In a typical performance, a chorus of singers echoes a soloist.

Musical accompaniment may be as simple as clapping hands and stomping feet, but traditional instruments include bells worn by dancers, clappers, drums and talking drums, flutes, horns, rattles, scrapers, stringed instruments, whistles, and xylophones; the exact combination varies with ethnic group and region. Some performers sing complete songs by themselves, accompanied by a harplike instrument.

Popular music styles include ambasse bey of the coast, assiko of the Bassa, mangambeu of the Bangangte, and tsamassi of the Bamileke. Nigerian music has influenced Anglophone Cameroonian performers, and Prince Nico Mbarga's highlife hit "Sweet Mother" is the top-selling African record in history.

The two most popular styles of music are makossa and bikutsi. Makossa developed in Douala and mixes folk music, highlife, soul, and Congo music. Performers such as Manu Dibango, Francis Bebey, Moni Bilé, and Petit-Pays popularised the style worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s. Bikutsi originated as war music among the Ewondo. Artists such as Anne-Marie Nziédeveloped it into a popular dance music beginning in the 1940s, and performers such as Mama Ohandja and Les Têtes Brulées popularised it internationally during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.


Cuisine

Cuisine varies by region, but a large, one-course, evening meal is common throughout the country. A typical dish is based on cocoyams, maize, cassava(manioc), millet, plantains, potatoes, rice, or yams, often pounded into dough-like fufu. This is served with a sauce, soup, or stew made from greens, groundnuts, palm oil, or other ingredients. Meat and fish are popular but expensive additions, with chicken often reserved for special occasions. Dishes are often quite hot, spiced with salt, red pepper sauce, and Maggi.

Silverware is common, but food is traditionally manipulated with the right hand. Breakfast consists of leftovers of bread and fruit with coffee or tea. Generally breakfast is made from wheat flour in various different foods such as puff-puff (doughnuts), accra banana made from bananas and flour, bean cakes and many more. Snacks are popular, especially in larger towns where they may be bought from street vendors.

Water, palm wine, and millet beer are the traditional mealtime drinks, although beer, soda, and wine have gained popularity. 33 Export beer is the official drink of the national soccer team and one of the most popular brands, joining Castel, Amstel, and Guinness.


Local arts and crafts

Traditional arts and crafts are practiced throughout the country for commercial, decorative, and religious purposes. Woodcarvings and sculptures are especially common. The high-quality clay of the western highlands is suitable for pottery and ceramics. Other crafts include basket weaving, beadworking, brass and bronze working, calabash carving and painting, embroidery, and leather working. Traditional housing styles make use of locally available materials and vary from temporary wood-and-leaf shelters of nomadic Mbororo to the rectangular mud-and-thatch homes of southern peoples. Dwellings made from materials such as cement and tin are increasingly common. Contemporary art is mainly promoted by independent cultural organizations (Doual'art, Africréa) and artist-run initiatives (Art Wash, Atelier Viking, ArtBakery).

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Cameroon - Travel guide

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