Biography Parfait Bassalé
Who is Parfait Bassalé?
Benin born artist and peace worker, Parfait Bassalé began using music to process his emotional states, at a young age. Because his father worked for an overseas company, Parfait faced the challenges related to migration early in life (language barriers, ethnocentrism, othering..). Keeping up with the tradition of Blues music, songs and poetry became his preferred outlets for dealing with the pain of being a transient sojourner in this world, and for formulating his hopes for a better tomorrow for all.
Parfait Bassalé’ s style carries traces of his personal and musical journey: lilting West African rhythms, sweet jazz progressions, a touch of reggae, and catchy pop hooks on a solid foundation of American soul. The spirits of Youssou N’Dour, Wynton Marsallis, Ray Charles, and Bob Marley nod appreciatively and tap their toes. Then Parfait starts singing and Al Green joins the circle of geniuses. Parfait’s sweet tenor soaring smoothly into falsetto recalls Reverend Al in his prime. Parfait’s music evokes the unity of the human spirit: “On the other side, I see no enemy lines. On the other side, just one breed of human kind”. But he still brandishes the sharp socio-political edge of conscious HipHop in the likeness of Faf Larage, IAM and Mos Def: “They say he died a hero They raise our flags As a sneaky way to feed our egos”. The core of his message, however, is our common humanity. He captures this most poignantly in “Nou tou Hatiens” (We Are All Haitians), a reggae-tinged story song about a ten-year-old Haitian girl Parfait met on a post-earthquake trip to help rebuild Haiti’s education system. Parfait Bassalé is one of those artists that one must see and hear live. The impassioned and participatory performance he delivers on stage makes it a life time experience for audiences that can’t be reproduced on audio recordings.
Peacemaker at heart, and passionate about reconciliation, he enrolled in the Masters Program of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. During his training he focused on the adaptation of conflict prevention techniques to songwriting. This work led to the design of the Story & Song Centered Pedagogy (SSCP); an instructional approach that uses songs, storytelling and reflective inquiry to enhance empathy. Parfait is now the Director of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Center at South Puget Sound Community College where he leads many initiatives to promote healing, inclusion in the community.
A Global Citizen | Empathy Specialist
Parfait Bassalé has a strong passion for empathy education, interpersonal, cross-cultural and religious understanding. Before moving to America, he lived in multiple countries in West Africa and has additional social ties in Europe and the Middle East. Parfait brings to the table his unique experience and perspective as he presents and sings about issues related to broken relationships (diversity, equity and inclusion).