Home Entertainment STAR CORNER Elchic Echondong: Rediscovering a missing hero
Elchic Echondong: Rediscovering a missing hero
Ernest Kanjo / Tuesday, 26 July 2011 16:34

Elchic_2Many people have been worried and for a disturbingly long time about the whereabouts of the author of Amumba. Where has Elchic Echondong been? What has become of him? What has become of his music? This has preoccupied TIPTOPSTARS as well. Recently its editor took on a venture to rediscover the missing artiste. In a successful mission, Elchic explained that he is quite ok and waxing on strong as usual. The Tole-based singer might just have gone more prayerful and would rather take his time to do his things as God Almighty prescribes. ‘’I’m still the talented musician you knew and satisfied with nine albums in the market,’’ he said. Amumba was spotted at a musicians meeting recently in Yaounde. ‘’We are here to see into it that the management of copyright in Cameroon is done in a very responsible manner so that artistes can make a livelihood from their works,’’ he told us.

The story of a hero

The year 1991 dawned with a sumptuous gift Cameroonian music lovers would hardly afford to forget – Amumba. Served like hot ‘’pepper soup’’ (Cameroonian delicacy), Amumba was consumed like mad. It was the first album of a hitherto little known Tole-based tailor cum guitar player/musician – Elchic Echondong. Elchic, a native of Ngie (tribe) in the North West region of Cameroon had just returned from Nigeria where he acquired music skills. Before 1991 rounded off, Amumba had been exhaustively played and danced in Cameroon, especially West of the Mungo. Elchic fans would vividly remember that an early road transport travelling agency, championing the Bamenda – Mutengene stretch won popularity in those years by adopting the appellation Amumba. In each of the buses and on a smooth journey, passengers would savour Elchic’s maiden album with uncontrollable passion.

No sooner than Amumba which the artiste described as akarikossa fade out than Elchic stormed in with yet another explosive album in 1992 – Africa Food Collection. In the key track Africa Food Collection, Elchic had paid tribute to the ever admirable  Cameroonian traditional dishes, asking men who wanted to get married to Bakweri (tribe)women, for instance, to be prepared to eat ‘’Timanaboussa’’ (traditional delicacy of the Bakweris in the South West region of Cameroon). For those bracing to marry Elchic’s tribe’s women the artist reminded, they should get set to savour ‘’Nantare’’ (traditional delicacy of the Momos in the North West region of Cameroon).Africa Food Collection won hearts and was danced with passion throughout Cameroon and other parts of Africa.

Two years later, Elchic Echondong aka Amumba jumped into the famous Manuel Nguisso Studio 4 in Douala to bake the next cake. After a couple of weeks, the aromatic Tabita was served to his anxious fans as his third album. Tabita sang loud in homes, dance halls, buses and what have you and until 1996, it remained top on the charts on radio.

Elchic had not had time yet to sit back and assess work done, three albums on when a dark cloud settled on him. Esther his beloved wife to whom he got married with proceeds from Amumba passed on. ‘’It was such a difficult experience because I have lived with my late wife for quite long time and become too fond of her,’’ the hero lamented. Esther’s demise affected Elchic’s morale, but the guitar guru found courage to strike the strings, this time in honour of his departed wife. In the 1996 Andebinda, Elchic lamented her absence, but placed everything in the hands of God Almighty. Then a bell rang, reminding the musician he needed to serve God better.

Elchic goes gospel

Elchic had now found comfort in serving Christ and needed to use his God-given talent to do that better. In 1998, he released his maiden gospel music album – Yeri Yaweh which was sporadically played on television and radio. In 2000, he did Du ngu Mbein (Out of Darkness), another gospel LB. ‘’Gospel doesn’t sell as clerical music but I did it to serve God,’’ Elchic told us. The Tole boy decided to take on clerical music once again, for the purposes of business. ‘’That however does not affect my faith which remains intact,’’ he explained.

In 2002 during the Tole Tea crisis, he released Tole Cry, an album that decried the privatization of the Tea Estate Elchic’s people and thousands of English-speaking Cameroonian families had depended on as source of livelihood for decades.

As dust settled on the tea estate crises, Elchic reminded Cameroonians about their rich cultural heritage in Know Your Culture, an album released in 2006. His latest album Development is just a couple of months old. ‘’After eight albums, I thought I should engage in development initiates and why not encourage Cameroonians to do same,’’ he said. And continued: ‘’We need development and I think it is also my role to sing about it.’’

Elchic who stayed for long in Lagos, Nigeria was inspired into music by his elder brother, then worker at the famous Mountain Hotel in Buea. ‘Said he: ’’He played music. My dad too played drums and my mum was a good singer. So you can see I hail from a family of musicians.’’

Elchic is currently working on the video of his new album, but has a special gift for his fans. ‘’I’m doing a clip for Africa Food Collection, almost 20 years after it was released, sung and danced massively,’’ he announced.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2011 16:59


0 #1 sezawo 2011-08-28 21:58
kool man i like this.


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