Award-winning, New York-based vocal virtuoso Gino Sitson is a French-American originally from the Bamileke region of Cameroon, Central Africa. His family comes from a long line of musicians known as Ntontas ("players of horns") and his mother is a vocalist and choir director. He and his siblings were introduced to blues, jazz and African traditional music early in life.
Mr. Sitson is a pioneer of a new generation of multi-culturally influenced African musicians who are integrating into their musical styles their own exciting yet bewildering welter of "in-between" living experiences (north/south, tradition/modernity, 20th/21st century). His daring musical project combines in a most innovative way jazz, gospel, blues and traditional African polyphonic rhythms and melodies. By freely combining his trademark vocal acrobatics with a breathtakingly creative command of oral and body percussions and miscellaneous effects, Mr. Sitson forged an eloquent vocabulary capable of communicating far beyond any limits of language or custom. Through his vocal wizardry, he stunningly creates an endless range of sounds and atmospheres. Sitson’s seamless four- octave range travels from a soulful, resonantly masculine tenor with woodwind-like overtones to a high-soaring, nearly genderless spiritual wail, a feat that recalls Brazil’s Milton Nascimento, another deep-rooted yet restlessly protean, jazz-inflected shape-changer.
Gino Sitson’s four-octave voice plus his skills as a composer and arranger put him in high demand for recording sessions and for commercials and radio / television jingles (Danone, Dim, Peugeot, Vahine, etc). The versatile young vocalist performed in a musical and co-composed part of the music (Jeanne et le Garçon Formidable).
He has laid down tracks or shared the stage with Manu Dibango, Ron Carter, Papa Wemba, Wally Badarou, John Scofield, Geri Allen, David Gilmore, Haruko Nara, Bobby McFerrin, Frank Wess, Ray Lema, Craig Harris, James Hurt, Antoine Roney, John William, Mario Canonge, Wallace Roney, Brice Wassy, Oliver NGoma, Exile One, Steve Potts, So Why? (Featuring Youssou NDour, Papa Wemba, Wally Badarou, Jabu Khanyile & Bayete, Lourdes Van-Dunem, and Lucky Dube), Emeline Michel, La Compagnie Creole, among others.
In 2008, Mr. Sitson was invited by Bobby McFerrin to join him on a PBS documentary ("THE MUSIC INSTINCT: SCIENCE & SONG" featuring Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Levitin, Oliver Sacks, Daniel Barenboim, and Yo-Yo Ma) and to take part in a special project that took place at the Carnegie Hall ("Instant Opera").
A member of Chamber Music America, he is regularly engaged for movie scores and commercials. He made several TV appearances and has composed music for the noted children’s TV show, Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon).
Since 2006, Mr. Sitson is a Cultural Arts ambassador for the city of Miami (Florida).
Meanwhile, his international career continues apace. He has received "Parents Choice Silver Medal Honor Award" in 2004 and nominations from the WMCE (World Music Chart Europe), the RFI Awards 2000.
Mr. Sitson performed at the Carnegie Hall with his own group in 2008.
Aside from musical performances, Gino leads vocal workshops served by his amazing vocal technique, his musical knowledge and his desire to share his love for vocal explorations. Gino has developed workshops for professional as well as non-professional singers, and also for children. A researcher in musicology, his work focuses on music cognition, expressive properties of the voice and the process of transmitting music from the "black" diaspora. Mr Sitson earned a PhD in musicology at the Paris-Sorbonne University. He is a UNICEF CAMEROON Goodwill Ambassador.
"Imagine a combination of Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau & Jon Hendricks, toss in african rhythms & the language of Cameroon, and you have a general notion of what to expect from this remarkable vocalist." Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times/Feb 14, 2004.
Gino Sitson, PhD’s tracks