Francis Bebey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Francis Bebey
Born (1929-07-15)15 July 1929
Douala, Cameroon
Died 28 May 2001(2001-05-28) (aged 71)
Paris, France
Genres makossa, classical guitar, jazz, pop, electronic
Occupation(s) artist, musician, writer, radio broadcaster
Instruments guitar, sanza, flute, percussion
Years active 1969–2000

Francis Bebey (15 July 1929 in Douala, Cameroon – 28 May 2001 in Paris, France[1]) was a Cameroonian artist, musician, and writer.

Bebey attended the Sorbonne, and was further educated in the United States. In 1957, Bebey moved to Ghana at the invitation of Kwame Nkrumah, and took a job as a broadcaster.[2]

In the early 1960s, Bebey moved to France and started work in the arts, establishing himself as a musician, sculptor, and writer. His most popular novel was Agatha Moudio's Son. He also worked as a consultant for UNESCO.[2]

Bebey released his first album in 1969.[3] His music was primarily guitar-based, but he integrated traditional African instruments and synthesizers as well. His style merged Cameroonian makossa with classical guitar, jazz, and pop[3] and was considered by critics to be groundbreaking, "intellectual, humorous, and profoundly sensual".[2] He sang in Duala, English, and French.[3] Bebey helped launch the career of Manu Dibango.[4] Bebey released more than 20 albums over his career.[5]

John Williams' piece "Hello Francis" is written as a tribute to Bebey: "The piece is based on the Makossa, a popular dance rhythm from Cameroon often used by Francis, and includes a quote from his piece The Magic Box and a hidden bit of J.S. Bach."[6]


  • Concert Pour Un Vieux Masque, LP, Philips, 1968
  • Savannah Georgia, LP, Fiesta Records, 1975
  • Guitare D'Une Autre Rime, LP, Ozileka, 1975
  • La Condition Masculine, LP, Ozileka, 1976
  • Fleur Tropicale, LP, Ozileka, 1976
  • Je Vous Aime Zaime Zaime, LP, Ozileka, 1977
  • Ballades Africaines, LP, Ozileka, 1978
  • Priere Aux Masques. LP, Ozileka, 1979
  • Un Petit Ivoirien, LP, Ozileka, 1979
  • Afrikanischer Frühling, LP, Marifon, 1980
  • Haïti - Guitar Music Trio, LP, Ozileka, 1981
  • Bia So Nika, LP, Ozileka, 1981
  • Africa Sanza, Ozileka, 1982
  • New Track, Ozileka, 1982
  • Pygmy Love Song, LP, Editions Makossa, 1982
  • Super Bebey - Vingt Plages Ensoleillées, 2xLP, Ozileka, 1983
  • Sanza Nocturne, Ozileka, 1984
  • Akwaaba: Music For Sanza, Original Music, 1984
  • Le Solo De Bruxelles, LP, Ozileka, 1985
  • Heavy Ghetto, Anti Apartheid Makossa, LP, Ozileka, 1985
  • Si Les Gaulois Avaient Su!, LP, Blue Silver, 1986
  • Baobab, LP, Volume, 1988
  • African Woman, LP, Volume, 1988
  • World Music Guitar, CD, Ozileka, 1992
  • Sourire De Lune, CD, Ozileka, 1996
  • Rire Africain, Ozileka, 1981
  • Nadolo / With Love - Francis Bebey Works: 1963-1994, CD, Original Music, 1995
  • African Electronic Music 1975-1982, LP/CD, Born Bad Records, 2011
  • Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984, LP/CD, Born Bad Records, 2014
  • La Condition Masculine, CD, Sonodisc


  1. ^ The Independent Obituary
  2. ^ a b c DeLancey and DeLancey 48.
  3. ^ a b c Hudgens and Trillo 1182.
  4. ^ Mbaku 198.
  5. ^ West 19.
  6. ^ Notes on the transcripts: "Hello Francis", John Williams - the guitarist's music site.


  • DeLancey, Mark W., and Mark Dike DeLancey (2000): Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon (3rd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press.
  • Hudgens, Jim, and Richard Trillo (1999). West Africa: The Rough Guide. 3rd ed. London: Rough Guides Ltd.
  • Mbaku, John Mukum (2005). Culture and Customs of Cameroon. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
  • West, Ben (2004). Cameroon: The Bradt Travel Guide. Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press Inc.