The first lipsync I ever saw BeBe perform was in French – to the Les Nubians song, “Princesse Nubienne.” Imagine our absolute delight & honor when Hélène Faussart, half of the Cameroonian-French sister duo Les Nubians, agreed to create our original score.
Together with editor James Codoyannis, we worked creatively and collaboratively. The temp score in our rough cuts featured sanza (aka kalimba, a delicate instrument often used in Cameroonian music that reminds me of sparkling sequins under stage lights), juxtaposed with upright bass and traditional hand percussion. A key inspiration was Francis Bebey, the legend of Cameroonian pop music who created an entire album around the sanza in the 1970s.
“A huge baobab tree on my back, Oshun’s river running down my feet, I had Mother Nature whispering to my ear melodies & rhythms to accompany BeBe’s incredible journey.” – Hélène Faussart, Original Score, BEING BEBE
Hélène processed that inspiration plus a directive to lean into a bittersweet sensibility – and came back with original themes that elevated our story beautifully. She recorded them live with an ensemble of incredible local musicians in Guadeloupe, tirelessly overcoming Covid lockdowns to meet our Tribeca premiere deadline.
Emily & Hélène backstage at City Winery, 2022
We were honored to win “Best Documentary” at Sound Unseen Music & Film Festival in our hometown of Minneapolis, with a jury statement underlining the importance of the score and BeBe’s own music: