Montreal’s Veeby (real name Vanessa Kanga) is “one of the emerging artists of the increasingly contagious Afro-soul trend” (La Presse, 2016). Her voice – ever fluid, energetic and flamboyant – soars to the summits and then plunges, only to soar again, tirelessly. As tirelessly as the artist herself who, in her songs as in real life, passionately advocates for diversity and inclusion through a thrilling combination of jazz, hip hop and soul with strong African overtones.
Veeby says, “My father is a big fan of American soul/R&B music such as James Brown, Sam Cooke or Aretha Franklin. I bathed in this atmosphere! As a teenager, I became interested in Cameroonian music, Manu Dibango, Henri Dikongué, and Sally Nyolo. With adolescence also came more contemporary American hip-hop and R&B. My idol then was Whitney Houston, whose songs I covered thousands of times!”
Vanessa moved to Montreal from Doula, Cameroon in 2001. She came to Quebec to honor her family commitments by studying political science/economics, followed by a master’s degree at the National School of Public Administration (ENAP).
More than ever, Veeby strives to tell her story, as well as the story of her African ancestors, and to connect the two as they resonate with the powerful struggles against oppression.
Zandj is the name the Arabs gave to the black Bantu who were kidnapped and brought to Mesopotamia (Iraq) during the first trans-Saharan slave trade. It is also the name of this community that rebelled against Arab slavery for forty years before they relocated to the island of Zandj. Veeby’s highly anticipated second album is the third major reference point for Zandj Released in 2021 and featuring 10 strong tracks that transport us into an Afro-soul universe, it pays tribute to all these struggles for liberation on the continent and in the diaspora. The singer-songwriter-activist says, “We talk a lot about the Haitian community, but we forget about the Bantus, who revolted long before the transatlantic slave trade.”