Ntjam Rosie
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Ntjam Rosie

Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands | INDIE

Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands | INDIE
Band Jazz Soul




"NTJAM ROSIE / “Ntjam Rosie Mixtape”"

Some times while checking out some new music I am intrigued. Usually that happens when I hear a mix of influences carefully synthesized into an original sound full of familiar feelings and yet also reaching into spaces and places yet to be experienced or mentally grasped. Ntjam Rosie’s first recording, Atouba didn’t grab me in this way. In fact, I forgot I had even heard some of it.

Listening to Elle, Rosie’s second album, what immediately struck me was the quality of the voice. Beyond beautiful emotions and unfettered expressiveness there was a fierce intelligence. She wasn’t just doing the dang thing, she actually knew what she was doing and knew how to do it well. Elle helped me realize what it was that turned me on about the second album and what it was that left me ho-hum about the initial release: making music in the moment.

I love to hear music that is created rather than manufactured, improvised rather than scored. That’s my bias. Not a value judgment of one over the other but rather a personal preference that influences what I like and don’t like. In that regard, I’ve checked out some informal videos of Ntjam Rosie and I am confirmed in my opinion that she has the potential to be one of the greats.

Born in Cameroon where she resided until she was nine and then moved to The Netherlands. She now makes her home in Rotterdam. She is a college graduate who majored in Latin vocal music and minored in education. But beyond the formal education there is the consciousness, the diasporan sense of self, the global consciousness.

The first album was an attempt to use hand percussion on the bottom with electronics on the top. Some of it works well but overall its more a good attempt than a sound success. On the other hand in both conception and execution, Ntjam’s album Elle is an unqualified success on a multiplicity of levels.

On Elle the musicianship of the band is outstanding. When I heard the flute solo, I said “whoa” that’s strong stuff. Turns out the flautist is Ronald Snijders, originally from the former Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. He’s been in the Netherlands for a bunch of years now and is widely considered the premiere flautist in that part of the world. I though of Rashaan Roland Kirk and Yusef Lateef, his solo was just that strong both in terms of technique and in terms of structure and ideas. Throughout Elle various members of the band get spotlight time and they all acquit themselves wonderfully including a one-off cameo from female emcee Esperanzah that is excellent.

I also like the song composition and arrangements. A number of the songs had strong hooks. Ntjam has more than talent, she has an understanding and a feel for putting together a good composition.

Do you usually have a concept or the lyrics first then the music comes second? Or do you have the music first that then inspires a concept/lyrics?

It’s different every time. This record is a conceptual record. “In Need” for instance was initially only some chords and a melody, afterwards came the lyrics. The song evolved to what it is now gradually. That often happens when you’re co-writing anyway.

But one song on the album is just melody, groove, and a nice chord scheme and form. Sometimes that is more than enough. That is a very jazzy approach that I love to flirt with. I don’t restrict myself to one method. I like to mix everything. Different styles of music have different song-writing rules. I like to analyze forms and harmony. That way I know why I put some rules aside. I have a deep respect for musical rules. But I am also a rebel in a way. I like to try out new things. I like musical surprises. We do not necessarily have to end up where we started.
—Ntjam Rosie

Finally, her vocals are both warm and strong. Instead of blowing you away with power or trying to dazzle your ear with technique, Ntjam invites you to draw nearer and really listen to a truly soothing sound—and when I say “soothing” that is not just a pretty word to throw in this write-up. Ntjam’s music is very, very peaceful. There is a subtle and gentle strength under girding her vocal work. She radiates serenity.

And then to realize she can sing in at least four languages: her Bulu (Camaroon) mother-tongue, French, English and Dutch and she sounds comfortable in each of the four languages. In fact on “In Need” she hits some notes that sound like they are pouring forth from a South Side Chicago sister, both urbane and down-home at the same time.

In the seventies many of us were heavily into Pan-Africanism, at that time we were talking about the oneness of African people wherever on the globe colonialism may have captured and placed us. One thing most of us didn’t factor into our social equations was the degree to which aspects of old Europe would shape our identity. Even though we all spoke a colonial language, it never occurred to me that our collective future might consist of expanding our identity instead of romantically focusing only on the “African” elements.

In language terms to be truly Pan-African means we need to be conversant in more than one European language, particularly French, Portuguese, and Spanish in addition to English. What brought this to mind was listening to Ntjam navigate the various languages and realizing how comfortable she sounded and the great reach this record has.

I consider myself emotionally rich because of this cultural mix. I am Africa, and I am Europe. Emotionally and musically these two worlds merge in me. It’s inevitable. I feel just as Cameroonian as I feel Dutch.

Being a young “Afropean” women is quite a journey. The abolition of the transatlantic slave trade was in late 19th century. That transatlantic slave trade of my ancestors brought them to different grounds. The African spirit still lingers in those places. All of that is part of who I am. That is why I feel strongly connected to soul and jazz from America. And off course to the Brazilian grooves.

Because of this Diaspora I feel more like a citizen of the world. Like I said earlier, I like to cross borders. That is the result of being multicultural I guess.
—Ntjam Rosie

I hope she does a live album next because judging from the videos I’ve seen, Ntjam is awesome in concert. I encourage you to give this Mixtape a second and third listen.

—Kalamu ya Salaam
- Kalamu ya Salaam


Strangefruitmusicblog is obviously about all kinds of music with a very soulful twist and after providing you with everything from grimey electronics to hardcore hiphop …all you jazz loverz can finally exhale. Cause it’s time to update you on Njam Rosie’s latest release ELLE. Unfortunately I’ve missed every ELLE release party but in this case it turned out to be a good thing, cause I was able to listen to the album without any kind of prejudice. So now I can safely advice jazz loverz around the globe to cop this release. Why?!

ELLE, is a very jazzy mix which happens to be spiced up with either a warm brazilian flow or at times a somewhat african vibe. But it doesn’t really matter what kind of flavour is added to the track … there is always a touch of soul to it. Since this release is very well put together I am happy to announce it’s a non skipper …meaning that you can press play, sit down, relax and enjoy the very pleasant journey. Apart from the beautiful lyrics and Ntjam Rosie’s soothing vocals a lot of very impressive musical arrangements will be heading your way. I guess it’s safe to say that producers Nelson & Djosa did a great job.

Of course this is Noggy’s personal opinion and luckily you can make up your own mind cause you can stream the entire album (for a short period of time) when you click here and when you have finished listening you can click here (eu) & here (us) to purchase ELLE on iTunes.
- Strangefruitmusicblog

"Is ‘Elle’ destined to be NtJam Rosie’s breakthrough album?"

We’re kinda scratching our heads wondering how someone with a voice like Ntjam Rosie’s managed to escape our radar for so long, but she probably won’t be flying under anyone’s radar from now on, not with the impressive new album with which she finally caught our attention.

A musical ambassador for Rotterdam (2010), Ntjam Rosie was born in Cameroon, raised in Holland and earned a bachelors degree in Latin singing, so she knows a thing or two about singing in multiple languages. She also won the MCN World Up! award for most promising talent.

That talent was greatly evident on her debut album Atouba (which we dug up once we'd "discovered" Ntjam), a blend of African and Western rhythms filtered through a soul sensibility, but we’re even more knocked out by Elle, which dropped just last October.
.... - Phiona Okumu

"You 'Need' Ntjam Rosie In Your Life"

When I got an email this morning from singer Teisha Marie about new music, I had fingers crossed hoping it was a sneak peek from her upcoming album. Instead, the gracious singer had shot me this new video from Dutch singer Ntjam Rosie. The song "In Need" is a melodious mix of jazz and soul is brilliantly executed in an almost theatric spirit while the split screen video captures the enchanting spirit of Ntjam Rosie in various shots. I hadn't heard of this artist before, though she's opened popular acts like Erykah Badu, Bilal and Jose James, but rest assured that this song is a great promo for her album Elle, which dropped last month. - Soulbounce


Atouba (2008)
Patience EP (2008)
Elle (2010)

In Need (2010)
Morning Glow/Space of You (2011)
L'amour/Serre sa main (to be released oct 2011)



‘Music is everything, music is what I am.’

Ntjam Rosie is 28 years of age. She has style, she looks gorgeous and is a gifted musician: “I am an artist. Not a singer, not a sing-a-song-writer, a model or a teacher, but an artist. I dig into my cultures and make my art from them.” Her music could be labeled as Jazz or Afro. But it is more than that. She jokes: “It is 2011, that should at least make me a New Age Jazz Singer.” It is the ‘right here, right now’ quality of her compositions that makes her music exciting and meaningful. Her music takes place in the present. She does not indulge in retro elements but simply roots in them. Her songs are a perfect mix between lyrics, the chords, the music itself and the style.

"I am giving all that I am, and I am giving that with a lot of pleasure."

Ntjam Rosie is inspired by today’s Western and African cultures. “People move all over the world. We are cross cultural people and as a cross cultural community we share a sense longing. Everybody comes from somewhere and at times we still long for that place. Everybody wants to belong. That emotion is universal and belongs to today’s global lifestyle.

Got to have a little ‘umph’

In the five years following music academy Ntjam Rosie has started her own company NtjaMusic. She writes all her songs herself and composes. She is a music teacher and often tells her students that they‘ve got to have a little ‘umph’ to do it. What is ‘umph’? It is the combination of authenticity and glamour that makes her performances so vibrant, colorful and quite unforgettable. With her recently released her second album ‘Elle’ she is the rising star on the jazz charts. “I am the mirror of my music,” she says, and how fabulous is that!

Excerpt from Biography written by Gudrun Feldkamp www.100procentfeldkamp.nl

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