The Franco-Cameroonian star mixes musical styles and social awareness in her latest album.
The year 2012 was a good one for Sandra Nkaké. It included a re-release of her first solo album, Mansaadi, and the Révélation de l'Année award at the jazz festival in Marciac, France for her album Nothing for Granted.
I have the impression that inequalities are getting deeper
On this album pop, rock, funk, reggae and jazz all add their influences to a groovy sound characterised by her powerful and serious voice.
In her childhood this Franco-Cameroonian singer encountered a melting-pot of sound: Cheikh Anta Diop, Brassens, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Manu Dibango and the vinyl of Cat Stevens and Tom Waits, followed by a later musical journey touching on ska, funk and soul.
Listening to Joan Baez, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Otis Red- ding, Prince and Funkadelic, her musical appetite took her everywhere.
"I was born of a cultural mix," she says, "and I have the impression that inequalities are getting deeper. I am concerned with everything that is happening, and I try to participate in my way, with my music."
In 2009 she took part in a collective album called Les Amoureux au Ban Public, named for a French non-governmental organisation that fights against the expulsion of spouses of binational couples where one is an undocumented immigrant.
Nothing for Granted plays like the soundtrack to a story "with a bit of inspiration from crime fiction in the style of Frank Capra or John Huston," explains Nkaké.
In 'Conversation,' a young girl secretly observes the adults around her, while 'Same Reality' portrays the scene of a young junkie watching the street.
'Like A Buffalo' is the story of a man who refuses his destiny and rigid social codes.
"Each song corresponds to a character, but there are melodic constants," she says.
It was all composed with the help of her old friend, flautist and producer Jî Dru.
2013 promises to be just as busy: concert dates are multiplying, she plans to write a third album in January and still finds time to act on TV and in theatres.