Showing posts with label Zouglou. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zouglou. Show all posts

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Zouglou Gnakpa!



Les Côcôs were one of the innumerable groups that popped up during the first wave of Zouglou  in the Ivory Coast during the economic crisis of the early '90s. I wrote about the genre in an earlier post here. Through the travails of recent years, notably two civil wars, Zouglou has remained popular, according to this very informative article:

"...Through its emphasis on social and political criticism, zouglou developed into a form of Ivorian counter-culture. Zouglou musicians represent the perspective of marginalized youth and social underdogs and have been very critical of the devastating behavior of the wealthy and politically powerful in Côte d’Ivoire. Zouglou artists see their role as speaking truth to power, because, according to a famous nouchi (Ivorian street slang) saying, gbê est mieux que drap: “the truth is better than shame”. Zouglou music gave the youth in Abidjan a platform from which to participate in the public debate...."
As is often the case, I've been unable to find out much about Les Côcôs. After their first release, the cassette Zouglou Gnakpa (EMI EO38192-4, 1992), they seemed to disappear without a trace. That one, however, was a good seller and spawned at least one hit, "L'Enfant Yode" (listed as "Les Côcôs" on the inlay card), which has been included on several CD compilations. Enjoy Zouglou Gnakpa now!

Les Côcôs - L'Enfant Yode

Les Côcôs - Nathalie


Les Côcôs - Christina


Les Côcôs - Hommage


Download Zouglou Gnakpa as a zipped file, complete with scans of the inlay card, here.



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Easy Ambiance



Two cassettes from Ivory Coast, both by the outstanding ensemble Système Gazeur, one of the many zouglou groups that emerged in that country in the late 1980s and early '90s. About the band I've been able to find little. I can tell you that zouglou arose on the college campuses partly in response to the crisis afflicting the educational system, and accompanied protests against the situation. In the words of a popular tune at the time by the artist Digbeu:

We're tired of your pretty speeches,
Tired of the unemployment rate,
Tired of all these untouchables,
Tired of your hospitals,
Tired of insecurity,
Tired of all these hold-ups.¹ 
Système Gazeur, in Ambiance Facile (EMI E06991-4, 1991) reject the electronic affectations of more recent zouglou artists like Magic System, Sur-Choc and Esprit de Yop, opting for a more organic, traditional vocal and percussion sound. It's truly execptional!

Système Gazeur - Zomammanzo

Système Gazeur - Anangotche

Système Gazeur - Awoulaba

Système Gazeur - Sebosei / Bolisika / Gazer

Système Gazeur - Awoulaba / Akepile / Manhouho / Kalaleda

Download Ambiance Facile as a zipped file here.



Mamie Ton Alloco (EMI E0106292-4, 1992), on the other hand, is well within the zouglou mainstream, with the full complement of drum machines and synth (and apparently a much-reduced lineup). It's nonetheless a great release, an excellent representative of the genre:

Système Gazeur - Mamie Ton Alloco

Système Gazeur - Nathalie Tu Exageres

Système Gazeur - Hommage a Fulgence Kassy

Système Gazeur - Te Memin Houmyoua

Système Gazeur - Depayou

Download Mamie Ton Alloco as a zipped file here.

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¹ "Music is the Weapon of the Future," by Frank Tenaile, Chicago Review Press, 2002