Blick Bassy knows how to draw from experience. The Cameroonian musician is inspired by a number of heroes, with photos of Ruben Um Nyobé, Thomas Sankara, Martin Luther King, Skip James, Miles Davis Quincy Jones, Charlie Chaplin, and more surrounding his workspace. And though this myriad of influences brings a multi-faceted dynamic to his work, the one thing that runs deeply through all of his music is his roots.

“One day I asked myself, what do I have to sell in this world?” Bassy told the Guardian. “And I realised, well, I only can sell what I have in my bag, and what I have in my bag is my past, and this is Cameroon. This is the raw material of my career.” And though he uses his many sources of inspiration to create a range of melodic, soulful music, his strong grounding shines through in all of his work. He is deeply political and aims to spread a larger message about both Cameroonian and worldwide politics.

You can experience the special sound of Blick Bassy as he performs Mpodol live here:

Bassy is not just a gifted musician, he’s a charismatic and engaging performer — something that’s really clear in these live performances. With a strong sense of himself and his ability, his politics create a depth and maturity to his music. He has a huge amount of political dedication and integrity, showing there’s no limit to the themes that music can tackle, with a gifted writer and musician behind it.