Kristo Numpuby is born in Paris, but grew up in Eseka, Cameroon, in the forest area, and the
home region of the bassa. Although he has been exposed to various styles of music, it was the
assiko that really caught him.
Assiko, the rhythm of the bassa people, is generally played with a guitar,
plucked in a particular way, and with a knife
ticking a frenetic rhythm on an empty bottle. Kristo received his first guitar at the age of 12, and when he was 18,
he created a trio in which he is the lead singer. The trio played essentially assiko, a music until then only
played by the elders, not by
young people. After a few years at the University of Yaoundé, he left for Paris in 1986 where he continued studying
and he ended up making publicity spots. The music was a bit left aside, but at one moment, he urgently needed music
for a radio spot. He quickly composed « Morning Limbé ». Slowly, it brought back
his interest for music. He started working as a studio musician and as a bassist sideman. During a tour by
Kanda Bongo Man in Ghana in 1994, Kristo Numpuby met Stevie Wonder who had asked
him if he could hear some of Kristo's music. He realised that it was time to record his music. The following year, he recorded his first album
« Assiko City », that was released in 1997.
Kristo Numpuby performed in the New Morning venue in Paris in December 1997, and started to have a loyal following,
because of his performances, where he shows his talents, interlaced with small jokes and an imitation of the sound of the
balafon with his fingers and his cheeks.
After his second album « An Sol Mè » released in 2001, he intensified the frequency of
his performances, not only in Paris but also in other cities of France. A third album features an interesting interpretation
of the music of Georges Brassens in an African context, based on an idea of Denis Tchangou.
The music of Kristo Numpuby, although largely based on assiko, uses elements of African music,
Afro-American folk, blues, jazz as well as Brazilian and Mediterranean accents.
Born: 16 July 1964 in Paris, France
Kristo Numpuby (Photo courtesy Franck Vorgers)