African political news soundtrack – RFI Musique

Tiken Jah Fakoly

© Youri Lenquette

For his eleventh album Theft of powerTiken Jah Fakoly has not forgotten any of the key ingredients that have made him successful since the 1990s. Reggae, which he increasingly anchors in Africa, and titles that resonate with current political events on the continent.

This is robbery, robbery, robbery of power, the people no longer want the family crater” Tiken sings Jah Fakoly on the title track of the album Theft of power. In a few musical notes and a few words, Fakoly’s recipe works again for those who have been listening to the 54-year-old artist since his debut in Ivory Coast in the 1990s, or who know him through his flagship titles. Nothing surprises me anymore Where Francafrique : a deep and enveloping sound that is instantly recognizable, catchy refrains, lyrics emphasized by repetition and association of terms, direct invitations to action and a reggae tune that is impossible not to nod to.

Tiken Jah Fakoly released his 11th album on November 4th, which was written and composed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which stopped concerts and tours. 13 pieces sung in French, English, Dioula and Bambara street child and ends with colonized. Still, Rastafari does not deviate from what is expected: to seize on social inequalities as a universal scourge and to be a mouthpiece for the economic and political predation of rich Africa. “Why do you tell us that our Africa is poor?” sounds, for example, on the title beautiful continent. “We often hear in the media that Niger is one of the poorest countries. Although France, without Niger’s uranium, is at risk of coughing! an artist with irony. Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa, ahead of Ghana and Nigeria. These three countries feed the whole world with chocolate. Africa is not poor, it is impoverished and today it does not sell its raw materials at the right price“.

Condemning “marriage”.

It is often challenged by African and international political news. Previous album, The world is hot, solved environmental problems. The title track of this new opus, power theft, The bleached beard and dreadlocks are a reaction to what the singer calls “family craziness”: “We fought for the people to take power democratically. This democracy is now under threat. It is important to prepare a song to inform the youth, to block the path of those who intend to succeed their father. After Gabon and Togo, Chad joined the list with more than fifty dead. I’m worried about it spreading” he explains.

The same concern about democratic attacks was condemned Government for 20 yearswhere does he read”If you talk a little, it’s 20 years. If you object, it’s 20 years. It’s 20 years when you’re a rival. Democracy is threatened by a 20-year stick“. A title that will participate in the cancellation of the Odienné child’s concert planned in Abidjan earlier in the year.”I am not surprised by this kind of concert ban, says calmly, who released his first album management In 1996, tapping friction patterns with different strengths in place. One year I had to go to a concert in Congo-Kinshasa. When I arrived at the airport, they put me on the plane that took me there. Between 2007 and 2010 I was banned from staying in Senegal, not to mention my exile from Mali due to death threats in Côte d’Ivoire. This is the price of commitment. I want to send a message, the reply I get means it has reached its destination.”

In this album, he especially wants to appeal to the youth of Africa. And it’s not the first time he’s read the names of historical figures as an album on a transmission mission. History lesson In 1999 colonizedit is Sekou Toure and Patrice Lumumba that resonate : “I respect those who say no to colonialism, slavery and segregation. It is important for me to return often to those who gave their lives so that we can have a little more freedom. It is this that challenges the youth Where are you going ?warns him about the dangers of illegal immigration.

Pan-African artist

And then, another essential flavor of Fakoly’s recipe: reading pan-Africanism. “Don’t worry, Africa will unite one day” even if he admits in the interview, the “United States of Africa” still has a long way to go. One, whom only his older sister still calls “Musa” by his birth name, now lives in Bamako and travels back and forth between his farm in Siby and his home country of Ivory Coast. And while he recorded several of his earlier albums in Jamaica, the self-proclaimed cradle of reggae, namely “the voice of the majority of the manipulated population“The artist confirms that: “We don’t need to go there anymore today. Abidjan is the second reggae capital after Kingston. Jamaicans created the style, but they come from Africa, they sing every day, we are finally the home of reggae”, smiles the man who owns the Radio Libre studio in Côte d’Ivoire, supported by a library dedicated to the music popularized by Bob Marley, while the Bamako branch includes a theater and restaurant.

with where RootIn 2015, Tiken Jah Fakoly took the flagship titles of the reggae repertoire from across the Atlantic Ocean with musical instruments from Africa. power theft, further emphasizing their use with the presence of n’goni, soukou, kora and balaphone, combined with saxophone and sometimes electro rhythms. He then brought together Jamaica with Winston Mc Anuff, the diaspora with Dub Inc, Malini with Amadou and Mariam and France with a Grand Corps Malade slam. An album that aims to bring people together in the service of Fakoly’s recipe, so no ingredient is missing.

Tiken Jah Fakoly, Theft of power (Second Chapter Notes) 2022
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