You have to go 4 minutes and 45 seconds into Michael Jackson’s song, “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” to get to the secondary hook; the rollicking, fun and infectious chant:  “MamaSe MamaSa MamaKossa!”  Maybe you could never make out what he was saying but you remember the chant, right?  I know lotsa folk asked me about it back in the day, “What is that, some African language?”  “Is he chanting jibberish?”  When I first heard it, I smiled because it brought back reminiscences of the dance song I played when I first became a radio DJ in ’74.  The song is called, “Soul Makossa,” by Manu Dibango, an African recording artist from Douala, Cameroon.  The 1973 Atlantic Records release got a ton of dance hall spins and radio airplay because it was so much fun and catchy.  It sold enough copies to receive a Gold album and a 1973 Grammy Award nomination for best rhythm and blues instrumental performance.  We didn’t know what Dibango was saying, we just enjoyed dancing to it.  Now 77 years old, he is still a national treasure in Cameroon and still performing.  Then Michael Jackson catapulted the chant to the stratosphere in his 1982 “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” from the Thriller album and, more recently,  in 2007 Rihanna used the chant in her “Don’t Stop The Music” and it popped up in Akon’s 2008 re-make of Michael Jackson’s, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.’”  “Naruto54700” was nice enough to edit all the versions together and posted it online, a perfect sampling of THIS FROM THAT.

(posted by “Naruto54700”)

We may have an answer for those who have, for years, asked the burning question, “What does ‘MamaSe MamaSa MamaKossa’ mean?”  According to our research, we found this answer posted online:

“This has its roots in Makossa music, popularized in Cameroon cities.  It has its origins in the Douala (Cameroon) dance called ‘Kossa.’  Musician, Emmanuel Nelle Eyoum, began to use the dance term “kossa, kossa” in his songs with his group, ‘Los Calvinos.’  (Emmanuel) Manu Dibango then adopted the term and in his “Soul Makossa,” Dibango chanted ‘MamaSe MamaSa MamaKossa.’” 


So the origin of this mysterious and popular dance chant, re-popularized by Michael Jackson came from Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa.”  We’re going to leave you with the whole songs from Manu and Michael for your listening pleasure.  Enjoy!

    (posted by MrWhasy)

(posted by “cristian15mj”)