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Open the Borders: on the Radio in Abidjan

The radio show to listen to in Abidjan is Dj Saturday Night. Two hours of the most popular tunes in the Francophone world, frenetically mixed, no commercials. This post is in the same vein.

Ouvrer les frontieres – Tiken Jah Facoly by lionsinthetiles

This first track is from Tiken Jah Facoly. Cote D’Ivoire has produced two sons of reggae, Alpha Blondy and Tiken Jah. There are two reasons why I’m posting this:

1. The song’s called “Ouvrer les frontieres” (open the borders). I have been staying with the same Couchsurfing hosts for almost two weeks. They have been incredible. I want nothing more than to show them the same hospitality. Unfortunately, a tourist visa for the US is a tall order for someone from Cote D’Ivoire.

2. Tiken’s smoke inflected voice and effortless delivery.

03 Track 03 – Coupe De Calle by lionsinthetiles

Coupe-de-calle – Artist and track unknown as of writing. Ivorian music is dominated by two genres: coupe-de-calle and zouglou. Traveling from Ghana, the land of elastic guitar and highlife rhythms, this music lives in hyperspeed.

02 Morceau 2 – Dezy Champion by lionsinthetiles

Dezy Champion – Track unknown. This is zouglou music. Cheesy synthesizers and female backing chorus. Love this.

07 Wayena – Oumou by lionsinthetiles

Oumou Sangare “Wayena” – Absolutely blistering version of this song. Ms. Sangare is Malian, but she is all over the radio in Cote D’Ivoire. I have been binging on the Music of Wassoulou divas as I gear up for Mali. This track was recorded at the annual Festival in the Desert that takes place north of Timbuktu. When Oumou shouts out Ali Farka Toure in the song’s opening you can tell she is not playing around. Pure power.

Again, my posting efforts are being compromised by slow internet. These four tracks will have to do for now. You can find Oumou Sangare and Tiken Jah on Itunes and Amazon. My days are winding down in Cote D’Ivoire and you can expect a few more posts about my time here. Till next time..

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • John September 20, 2010, 7:09 pm

    The coupe decale track is called ‘Placali 200’ by Magicien. The Dezy Champion track is ‘Femme verteuse’. It’s better to say that there are three main styles in Ivory Coast – Abidjan prides itself as the world’s third reggae capital (after Kingston and London). For Zouglou, check out ‘Magic System’. For coupe decale, check out DJ Arafat (Magicien was one of his dancers until breaking off with this solo track).

    As you rightly say, there are other styles; divas from the northern zones similar in culture to Mali/Burkina Faso (e.g. Aicha Kone), older one-off styles like the music of Meiway (zoblazo) and variety singers. Abidjan has hosted many of francophone Africa’s best thanks to its relatively wealthy middle class, high quality recording studios and stability (for example Salif Keita).

  • phil September 21, 2010, 5:17 pm

    John thanks for this comment and the clarification on the tracks! I have been digging Magic System; but will have to get my hands on Dj arafat. My visa is expiring soon and im trying to round up as much as i can before leaving: I will definitely be coming back to Cote DIvoire!

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