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Les Têtes Brulées

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Biography

Les Tetes Brulees (the name means the hot heads or the burnt heads, but implies, more pointedly, the mind-blown) are truly hard to miss in a crowd. The five-man lineup sport neatly torn t-shirts, elaborate dots-and-bars body paint over most of their skin, retro mirror shades, Afro mohawks, huge sneakers, and trademark day-glo book bags that they wear through their electrifying stage shows. The brain child of journalist turned musician Jean-Marie Ahanda, the well-named band blew the minds of many in hard-to-shock Cameroon. Les Tetes garnered international attention to match their local fame after members appeared in two documentaries: Man No Run, which recorded their first tour of France, and Bikutsi Water Blues, which featured band guitarist Zanzibar discussing the politics of water in Cameroon. Less welcome was the scrutiny turned on the band after Zanzibar died in 1989. Suggestions of murder and sorcery tainted the air for some time, but the band rallied, added a keyboard player, and have since returned to recording and touring. Beyond the body paint and scandal, Les Tetes' music is somewhat less adventurous, being composed largely of high-energy bikutsu and riff-driven randomness. What truly sets Les Tetes apart is their pioneering attempts to bring a punk mentality to a highly traditional art form. ~ Leon Jackson
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