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Playlist: Cameroon

Compiled By: Eva Breneman

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Finding Success in Music and Math

From Jeremy Richards | 10:17

Musician Guillaume Mpacko traces his journey as a mathematician from Cameroon to a musician in Seattle.

Guillaume_mpacko_small A parent's advice can push you to succeed or push you to rebel. For Redmond–based guitarist Guillaume Mpacko, it did both. Guillaume grew up in Cameroon as the eldest of twelve kids, and he fell in love with the guitar at an early age. Guillaume's father didn't think that music was a realistic dream. Instead, he insisted that Guillaume pursue his studies in math. Guillaume's father passed away before he could see his son succeed, but Guillaume went on to get a Ph.D. in mathematics, and he now applies those skills to a job at Microsoft. He also still plays music — he's a regular at the Sunday African music series at Seattle's Hidmo Eritrean restaurant, and he has a debut CD called "Praise and Celebration." A few years ago, Guillaume was on a ferry from Seattle to Victoria, B.C., thinking back on his late father, his many siblings, and his responsibilities as the eldest son. That inspired a new melody and soon turned into a spontaneous concert right on the deck of the ferry.