Benin born artist, educator and speaker, 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, cultural differences, integration, prejudice etc…). 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’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 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.
A true catalyst for peace, Parfait Bassalé continues to work tirelessly to promote understanding across the globe. A well acclaimed international artist and speaker, he is also the founder of the Colombe Project, a Peace Education Enterprise that uses songs and stories to trigger empathy. Mr. Bassalé has addressed and engaged global citizens all over the world on Adversity, Conflict, Cultural Understanding and Service.