Wednesday, November 14, 2007


YAABA by Francis Bebey.

Francis Bebey is a really big name in African music worldwide. Or at the very least, a really big name in getting African music recognized worldwide. Cameroonian, educated in France and the United States, it is said that Bebey "donned the mantle of a universal griot, a traditional West African councilor, musician, and historian. Indeed, Bebey was a griot for the entire world."

Bebey was "Africa's renaissance man:" a musician, a composer, a novelist, journalist, the list goes on. But here we're only a humble music blog, so we're going to focus on just one of Bebey's compositions. Yaaba is theme music to a French film released in 1989. It was shown in New York at that time, but isn't available on U.S. format anymore.

Yaaba kind of reminds me of Tetris video game music! (Which I don't mean to sound bad. It's just that it's keyboard music (to my ears at least, there aren't any traditional instruments on here at all, just keyboards), no percussion to speak of, and it progressively builds in complexity while always circling around its basic melody. It's very easy to play this one on a loop.


Photo: Street people (2).


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