Novelist/sculptor/composer and musician, Cameroon's Francis Bebey (1929-2001) grew up in a Euro-centric, colonialized family -- yet despite, or perhaps because of, the strict attempts to root out and shield him from the indigenous African culture, Bebey became one of the great champions of traditional African music. His musical recordings are steeped in eerie mysticism and a highly personal artistic sensibility... Here's a quick look at some of his work...


Francis Bebey "Pieces Pour Guitare Seule" (Ocora, 1965)

Francis Bebey "Idiba" (1972)

Francis Bebey "Savannah Georgia" (Decca, 1975)

Francis Bebey "La Condition Masculine" (Ozileka/Wedoo, 1976)

Francis Bebey "Akwaaba" (Original Music, 1984)
One of the spookiest -- and coolest -- records ever made. Cameroonian novelist and musical innovator Bebey concentrates here on the sanza -- the finger piano -- and weaves a potent, mystical web of lush melodies and eerie, croaking vocals. It's absolutely beautiful. Believe me; you need this record. Why? Because it's stunning, and so immediately striking. Originally issued as an LP, this is also available on CD; both versions are the same length, and either way, this is a must-have record.

Francis Bebey "Amaya" (Sonodisc, 1987)

Francis Bebey "Paris Dougou" (Sonodisc, 1990)

Francis Bebey "Django Preface" (Sonodisc, 1992)

Francis Bebey "Mwana O" (Ozileka, 1994)

Francis Bebey "Amaya No. 2: Lambarene Schweitzer" (1994)

Francis Bebey "Sourire De Lune" (Sonodisc, 1996)

Francis Bebey "Travail Au Noir" (Ozileka, 1997)

Francis Bebey "Travail Au Noir" (Ozileka, 1997)

Francis Bebey "Dibiye" (Pee Wee, 1998)

Francis Bebey "Mbira Dance" (Gravity/DNA, 2000)

Francis Bebey "African Moonlight" (?)


Francis Bebey "Nandolo (With Love)" (Original Music, 1995)
A best-of collection, covering Bebey's musical career from 1963 to 1994. There's a lot of variety, a lot of beauty, and only a couple of tracks are of dubious calibre. Overall, another goodie.

Francis Bebey "Original Masters, v.1" (Wedoo Music, 2005)
An uneven mix of acoustic and poppy material, including some dance tunes and several tracks sung in English. Some of the glossier material may be of interest to folks who dug the forays taken into African pop by the band Talking Heads...


African Music Index
World Music Index

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