Let yourself go with the sounds of Coco Mbassi

by | Dec 20, 2014

Coco Mbassi rightly describes her music as a « tree with deep African roots and branches that extend some towards classical music, some towards soul, gospel and jazz, and others towards Latin music and even pop music ». Now, discover this acoustic blend in her soulful voice, her Cameroonian roots, her ecclectic musical upbringing (from Haendel to Cameroonian traditional music to the Jackson 5) , and her deep partnership with her classically-trained bassist husband Serge Ngando Mpondo.

Her prestigious awards and worldwide recognition sees her winning Radio France International Découvertes Contest in 1996, the German World Music CD Critics Award in 2001 and being nominated for the BBC World Music Awards 2002. Each album release demonstrate how much she deserves this atention: the first one, Sepia, reveals her to the acclaiming critics, the second one Sisea establishes her and with the third one, Jóa, she goes straight to number 5 on the World Music charts.

She continues her solo career lifted by her band, incessantly touring the world and sharing her gift, building on the incredibly strong foundations of her chorist and backing vocalist days and the many singing contest she won as a child as well as a coveted main singing lead for Cirque du Soleil’s show Totem.

Coco Mbassi in ten songs

1. Blubridge – No better introduction than the first track of her 3rd album Jóa. 2. D – extracted from her first album Sepia, this is a love song with harmonies, minimal strings and piano doigté to give you the chill 3. Din Longè – one of the highlights of her 2014 release Jóa 4. Bazor – a hearteflt homage to one of the greatest Cameroonian singer-songwriters, Dina Bell reprising  some of his lovely tunes in a clever, jazzy and minimalistic medley 5. O bi – A little rhythmic to lift harmonies and get you nicely and gently shaking. In this track 11 from Sepia, Coco Mbassi exhorts a friend not to be angry 6. Madoi – 7. Mande – Cameroon seems to meet African nature, Malian sounds and subtle Jazz sounds in this mature instrumentation from Mbassi’s third album 8. Makaki – clever use of the upright bass to accentuate the African rhytmic with subtlety to lift the harmonies and superb entry of the percussions and reverbing of the vocals afterwards. Lovely – 9. Tribalism A theme that darkens the history of Africa, rebuked with grace. 10. Na pii – Quieten down with this peaceful piece from her 2003 LP Sisea.