These two songs are guaranteed to get stuck in your long-term memory. They have been firmly lodged in mine since I digitised this single from my friend Pieter, who in those days used to fly to Abidjan regularly. Before you know it you'll be singing along with the chorus, as I do occasionally and in the most unexpected places (queueing in the supermarket, in the shower, during a meeting at work). Luckily I have learnt to suppress the tendency to sing out loud.
The drive and rhythm of these two songs - probably from the mid-1970s - by Amédée Pierre and l'Ivoiro Star (who you may remember from this post or this one or this one) can only be described as compelling. The A-side, titled "Vla" (which just for this reason will hit home with any Dutch readers*), is a moralistic story narrated partly in french about an owl (chat huant) who keeps everybody awake at night with his screeching and who the chef du village wants to have killed. I am not quite sure how the moral ("So - to conclude - I ask all my brothers from Africa to help each other, for trouble affecting one individual may affect everyone.") fits in, but perhaps some francophone reader can explain?
Apart from the rhythm and the chorus the organ especially sticks out. I adore the sound of the instrument in this particular song.
The same organ is back on the B-side "Aze-Ni". This song is even more compelling than the A-side. Just listening to it can lead to shortness of breath or even hyperventilation. But that is, in this case, a risk well worth taking!
After more than 23 years of making radio programmes I am seeking new ways to share my passion for African and Latin music. My intentions are 100% non-commercial.
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