Blick Bassy

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Blick Bassy photographed in Montréal, Québec, Canada outside La Sala Rossa after a show.
Blick Bassy

Blick Bassy is a Bassa singer-songwriter from Cameroon. Bassy writes his songs in his native language, Bassa.[1] His song "Kiki", from Akö, featured as the theme song for the worldwide launch of the iPhone 6 in 2015.[2]

Early life[edit]

Bassy was born in Mintaba, Cameroon, one of 21 offspring from his father, a police chief.[2] His mother was the youngest of his father's three wives.[3]

He began singing at the age of three, waking up at 5am every day to rehearse with the other children of the village.[2]

Musical career[edit]

Bassy's band Macase toured Cameroon for ten years until winning the Prix Elysse Musique du Monde in 2001, which convinced Bassy to immigrate to Paris, France. After performing in small venues, he secured a recording deal for his first two albums.[2] The first, entitled Leman, was released in 2009, and was followed two years later by Hongo Calling.[3] In February 2023, Blick Bassy was appointed co-director of the Memory Commission on Cameroon with Karine Ramondy, this commission is responsible for working on France's action in Cameroon during colonization and after Cameroon's independence. He performs singing and playing guitar with the French musician Clément Petit at the cello.[1].


In 2015, he released the album Akö from which 15 seconds of Kiki were used in Apple's global advertising campaign for the iPhone 6.[3][2] Bassy says that the album was influenced by Skip James, the American blues musician.[4] Robin Denselow, writing in The Guardian, says: "...his new album echoes the delicacy of bossa nova along with reminders of his other influences, from African styles to the Mississippi blues of his hero Skip James. This is an easy-going but experimental set in which he plays guitar and banjo, sings in the Cameroonian language of Bassa, and is backed by the unlikely combination of cello and trombone. He starts by showing off his distinctive voice on a cool, drifting late-night ballad, but then changes direction as he swings into a breezy song that sounds like an African answer to a country-blues hoe-down, before mixing Congolese influences with impressive, bluesy guitar work. A charming, intriguing set."[5] David Honigmann in the Financial Times describes the album's genre as manouche jazz, and describes "lubricious trombone slides" on Kiki and the "relentless Gypsy vamping" of Wap Do Wap.[6]

He has toured globally performing at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in the Africa Utopia festival in 2015,[3] and at WOMAD in New Zealand in 2018.[7] He is due to play the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in July 2018.[8]

Bassy's lyrics are in Bassa, one of 260 Cameroonian languages.[2]


Bassy dedicated this album to the memory of Ruben Um Nyobé whom he considers one of his political heroes and was killed in 1958.[9] The album presents as a comprehensive report of events during the 70 years since the death of Um Nyobé. The track Mpodol is Ruben's nickname and accuses modern Cameroonians of sabotaging their own homeland.[10]


  1. ^ "NOF. #28 Blick Bassy / Akö". No Format! (in French). Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sophie Eastaugh, for. "How an Apple ad changed Blick Bassy's life - CNN". CNN. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Barton, Laura (9 September 2015). "Blick Bassy: 'I want to expose the dangers of the immigration dream'". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Blick Bassy - WOMADelaide 2018". Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  5. ^ Denselow, Robin (18 June 2015). "Blick Bassy: Akö review – charming and wildly eclectic songs". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  6. ^ Honigmann, David. "Blick Bassy: Akö — review". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Blick Bassy". WOMAD. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Blick Bassy". Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Blick Bassy: 1958 review | Robin Denselow's world CD of the month". the Guardian. 2019-02-22. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  10. ^ "Blick Bassy: 1958 — a dive into the history of Cameroon". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2019-03-02.