Welcome to Cote d' Ivoire aka Ivory Coast. This one was a lot of fun. One thing I know about Ivorian Music is that that they have lit music. As a dancer who loves afrobeat, (now I know that it's not afrobeat but actually Coupé-Décalé) i've been exposed to numerous Serge Beynaud songs! I also didn't know that one of my favorite African songs, Premier Gaou is also from this wonderful Nation. To top it off, Ivory Coast has some really good Zouk. So yes, let's dive in.
Caught off guard...
If you know me or have read my blogs, you know I love reggae. I always look for it in every country. Unfortunately, when i looked in Ivory Coast I got a little disappointed by what I found. Last April, police came into a Rasta Village and harassed, beat up and forcibly cut off their locks. When other reggae artist found out, they joined together to create a song and documentary, Ne Touche Pas à mes Dreadlocks. Definitely disheartened that this human rights issue didn't make international news but
I am proud that the musicians stood up for themselves in this way. You can watch the short documentary above!
This playlist was exciting because I got to showcase someone I actually Know! Introducing the wonderful and beautiful Eva Sita! I met my talented friend Eva Sita while attending Berklee College Of Music. I actually met her after a performance when I saw the beautiful instruments she was playing, the Kora. Now for those who don't know what a Kora is, it's this beautiful African harp like instrument and its so captivating and relaxing. She played it so magnificently I just had to go up to her and tell her.
After that first encounter, led to a lot of collaborations and even just last year I got to dance in one of her shows!
My favorite song from her is actually her newest song, KA$H. Its this dope, groovy, afro-pop song with some truly dope dance moves! To be honest, almost all her songs just inspire great choreo ideas. you just want to move. Definitely wanna check her out.
Me and Eva Sita :)
Speaking of dope woman in this playlist, I got to explore Monique Seka: The Queen Of Afro-Zouk! I first want to start off by saying that I didn't know anything about her title when someone suggested that look into her but guys I am happy I did. I started first by listening to Missounwa and I just got excited! I was hearing Haitian Kompa, Trinidadian Calypso, French Antilies beguine/ Zouk. I never knew there was African Zouk, so I researched and learned that they Ivorians loved the french Caribbean Zouk so much that they found away to make it their own. Kassav seems to be the root of the genres expansion out of the Caribbean when he started to tour in West Africa and most definitely, the Ivory Coast. For all the Caribbean people who read this blog, you will definitely feel like you are hearing a record from back home. Monique Seka was definitely my favorite musical discovery in this playlist!
Spending the time surrounding myself with the sounds of the Ivory Coast definitely opened me up to the wonderful, awesome, and unique genres it has. (also love the elaborate guitar lines that seem to be in every song). Every Artist on this playlist gave me something beautiful to get emerged in. From Zouk to Zoblazo, Zouglou to Coupé-Décalé... Ivorians as I started out this Blog, definitely know how to get lit. Another destination I definitely have to go to.
I really hope this playlist inspires you to consider making the Ivory Coast one of your next travel destinations. Check out my pinterest board with some ideas
Till next time,