February 28, 2012


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!

NAP 04

* "Vla" is a - in my personal opinion very nasty - type of Dutch custard.


Steve Pile said...

Your posts almost always make me hyperventilate! Always amazing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post of this great ivoirian singer, who also recorded with TP Polyrythmo under the name of Singer Nahounou (Nahounou being his real 1st name).See : http://afroslabs.blogspot.com/2009/02/singer-nahounou-arr-tp-orch-poly-rythmo.html
Amédée died 2 or 3 months ago.RIP

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for this very useful addition!

I had no idea that Amédée had died only a few months ago, nor that he was in fact the same as Singer Nahounou.
But I see now that this information had already been releaved on the great Orogod blog (who, by the way, posted another Singer Nahounou record).
Thank you, and this has certainly encouraged me to post some more music of this wonderful Ivorian artist very soon.

zim said...

I was wondering what "NAP" stood for, now it makes sense - Nahounou Amedee Pierre.

This is indeed compelling music and I wonder about the timing in relation to Ernesto Djedje's output, as the rhythms in the B side strongly resemble those of Djedje's Ziglibithy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the answer... I have a "debt" with Amédée Pierre : I met my ex ivoirian "wife" (we were in fact not married), who is also the mother of my only child, at a concert Amédée gave in 1993 in the town where we live, in the suburbs of Paris. And he is the one who encouraged her to sing.
Yao Rose had a big success in 1997 in Ivory Coast with her 1st record, that I produced, including the hit Zere, which became part of the compilation Ivoir Compil 4 in 2000.
Recently, she met the great arranger Cheick Tidiane Seck and, with famous musicians among which Paco Sery and Regis Gizavo, they recorded a new song, in french, Magie des Blancs, about the way the french government treats the immigrants. Besides the musical quality, that everyone can enjoy, the lyrics are very funny, for those who understand french and now a bit about what french politicians have said about or done with the immigrants.
You can listen to Magie des Blancs here : www.magiedesblancs.com
We are trying to raise funds for the video, which is necessary for the promotion. That's here : http://fr.ulule.com/magie-des-blancs
In this page,you will also find the biography of Yao Rose and, in the news section, the lyrics of the song.
Sorry for this so long post and thank you for those who want to help promoting the song.
Last but not least : the song is sold to the benefit of RESF, a non profit organisation which helps the immigrants, when they are arrested, not to be sent back to their country

Jaime said...

Thank You! Found another beautiful one here:

FroguetteMiNote said...

You were asking for the help of French readers but i guess you understand the story since you translated the beginning and end… In addition to the morals you pointed, as often in those tales, i feel there might be a second layer -- here a sociohistorical reference having to do with (de)colonization, may be, (but i don't have a clue as to which exactly).