A native of Cameroon, Francis Mbappe is an unstoppable natural musician who is releasing his third album under his name, after having graced the stage with musical greats such as Herbie Hancock, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Ashanti Tokoto, Francois Louga, and Ernesto Djedje.
By the age of nineteen Mbappe was bass player and musical director for Manu Dibango’s band, with whom he toured extensively from 1982 until 1990. He appears on the albums “Surtension”, “Abele Dance”, “Baobab Sunset” and the renowned “Waka Africa” release, which also features Peter Gabriel, Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, and King Sunny Ade.
Upon arrival to New York City in the 1990’s, Francis started the band “FM TRIBE” with some of the most exciting, innovative players around. With funk in the conception, rock in the attitude, swing in the movement and soul in the spirit, Francis Mbappe led his band “FM TRIBE” through the New York City music circuit and recorded a stylistically revolutionary album entitled “Need Somebody.”
Aaron Heick, former saxophonist, referred to Mbappe’s contribution to the cross-pollination of music as “essential. Francis is contributing something new and truly unique to this scene. He is on the verge of creating a new kind of music that contains many of the best elements of both traditions (jazz, funk, rhythm-n-blues with African music). It is so rare to find someone who is capable of pulling all these types of influences together and to actually create something new.”
Before becoming one of New York’s most sought after bass players, Francis also co-produced and arranged the album “Guido Vittale” for Koning Plank, featuring Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, as well as working on music for the film “Young Maestro,” featuring Elizabeth Taylor and directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
A regular player at NYC’s “The Zinc Bar,” Francis has been deemed “a shining star” in the NYC world music scene. He has livened up all of the New York hot spots for many years as well as continued with his work as a producer under his music production company “FM GROOVE INC.”, bringing people of different origins, educations and backgrounds together, in an attempt to unify people through acts of artistic expression (and put out some damn good music in the process!).
The last production of Francis is an acoustic album entitled “Celebration.” It contains songs both traditional and new. A mixture of simplicity, virtuosity and humility, this compilation of songs reflects the many planes of a life full of adventure, strength, passion and fire.
His coming album, “Peace is Freedom”, is the result of twenty years of musical research. Francis Mbappe found the way to include all the musical elements that built the musician he is today. In this new production, he combines the essences of (at least) five music genres: funk, jazz, rock, world and of course African music, picking them at their source, retrieving the sap of each of them to create a new music made of the best elements Mother Earth has to offer. Never before have we found a style in which so many influences work together so harmoniously, so essentially.
“Simplicity is actually very difficult to reach,” he says. “It relies on attention, thought, knowledge and patience.” His experience led him to this high level of musical expression and artistic wisdom. In a world of over-consumption, speed and individualism, a piece of authenticity like this one is a blessing. This is why this new album magically touches every single human being. No wonder why some say that Africa is the birthplace of Humanity.