Sep 23, 2014

RhoDeo 1438 Roots

Hello, still trailing Africa's west coast today reaching Ivory Coast no ebola reported from there (yet), anyway they have been relatively prosperous these last years and have fielded a decent football team this century. 25% of the population practice traditional religions and as such hold the balance of power between Islam and Christianity. Notably, Yamoussoukro, is home to the largest church building in the world, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro (completed 1990). A big ego project by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny who ran the country between 1960 independence and his death age 88 in 1993. An enlightened leader that did leave a big hole clearly forgot to rule beyond his grave...

Calling himself an African Rasta, today's artist creates Jah-centered anthems promoting morality, love, peace, and social consciousness. With a range that moves from sensitivity to rage over injustice, much of his music empathizes with the impoverished and those on society's fringe. He is also a staunch supporter of African unity, and to this end, he sings to Moslem audiencess in Hebrew and sings in Arabic to Israelis. ... N'joy

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Hailing from the Cote d'Ivoire, Alpha Blondy is among the world's most popular reggae artists. With his 12-piece band Solar System, Blondy offers a reggae beat with a distinctive African cast. Calling himself an African Rasta, Blondy creates Jah-centered anthems promoting morality, love, peace, and social consciousness. With a range that moves from sensitivity to rage over injustice, much of Blondy's music empathizes with the impoverished and those on society's fringe. Blondy is also a staunch supporter of African unity, and to this end, he sings to Moslem audiencess in Hebrew and sings in Arabic to Israelis. Some of his best-known songs include "Cocody Rock," "Jerusalem," and "Apartheid Is Nazism."

He was born a member of the Jula tribe in Dimbokoro and named Seydou Kone, after his grandfather. His grandmother, Cherie Coco, raised him. He was always a rebellious child and for this, Coco named him "Blondy," her unique pronunciation of the word "bandit." When he started performing professionally, he took on the name Alpha (the first letter in the Greek alphabet) so his name literally translates to "first bandit." Though he grew up listenting to African folkloric music such as yagba and gumbe, his primary musical influences were such Western bands as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and soul artists like Otis Redding. Later Bob Marley's music tremendously affected Blondy. Though he wanted to become a musician, his family expected him to become a respectable English teacher. He studied English at Hunter College in New York, and later in the Columbia University American Language Program. Outside of class, he would play music in Central Park and in Harlem clubs where occasionally house bands would let him sing his Bob Marley covers in French, English, and various West African languages. One night, record producer Clive Hunt heard Blondy sing and invited him to record six songs. Unfortunately, Hunt absconded with the tape. Shortly afterward, he returned to the Ivory Coast, where he was arrested for threatening the ambassador at the New York Ivorian embassy because the diplomat felt that Blondy's English was too good for him to be an Ivorian native. While at the police station, Blondy's temper again flared and he slapped a policeman (after the cop slapped him first). He spent a week in jail and then stayed briefly at th Bingerville Asylum in Abidjan, where he was declared reasonably sane and released. Soon afterward, he began honing his songwriting and performing skills. Later, he dedicated an album to the patients of Bingerville.

Blondy got his big break from friend Fulgence Kass, an employee of Ivory Coast Television who helped him land a spot on the Premiere Chance talent show. Singing three of his own tunes plus Burning Spear's "Christopher Columbus," the young artist was a hit with the audience. Blondy then hooked up with producer G. Benson who recorded his eight-song debut album Jah Love in a single day. The most popular song, "Brigadier Sabari," was an account of Blondy's run-in with an Abidjan police street raid in which he was nearly beaten to death. It was the first time a West African artist had dared to mention random police brutality in public. After releasing the album, he and the newly formed Solar System band signed to EMI. They recorded his second album, Cocody Rock, in Paris in 1984. Later he returned to Tuff Gong to record his third album, Jerusalem (1986). By the release of his 1987 album Revolution, Blondy had established himself as an international artist. Three years before he had been voted the number one artist by a Radio France international poll. His popularity continues to grow, and he continues steadily releasing albums. His 1992 album, Masada, was released in over 50 countries around the world and went double gold in France. Yitzhak Rabin followed in 1998; Paris Percy appeared in spring 2001. Although it was recorded in 1999, the album Elohim appeared in 2002 in Europe and three years later in America. The career-spanning Akwaba: The Very Best of Alpha Blondy was also released in 2005.

Blondy was named as United Nations Ambassador of Peace for Cote D’Ivoire in 2005 and continuously remains dedicated to his humanitarian efforts through his charitable foundation Alpha Blondy Jah Glory. His mission is to eradicate generational poverty by providing grass roots social programs that are beneficial to the lives of underprivileged children and women from villages within Africa and Haiti.

 The foundation’s remarkable programs are Tafari Genesis Retreat Camp and the Micro Loan Program.It provides training and financing as little as $50.00 U.S. dollars to assist women who have become head of households to manage, operate, and start their own businesses. Overall, Alpha Blondy empowers communities to become self sufficient by learning and utilizing basic skills. This concept generates opportunities for many women to maintain their integrity, rebuild confidence as well as provide for their families.

"Jah Victory" and was released July 2007. It features Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare as well as Tyrone Downie formerly of Bob Marley and the Wailers. "Victory" is in honor of the peace agreement that was reached and implemented in his country in March 2007. Then in 2011 Vision was released it got great reviews whiich must have invigorated him because 2 years later to celebrate his sixtieth year on this globe "Mystic Power" saw the light. It should not be passed over by fans of rootsy rocking reggae, his wonderful voice still complements his thought-provoking lyrics.

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Alpha Blondy's 1983 first album, a smash hit featuring an all-local band the Natty Rebels, had all the accessibility and directness that made him an international star. Two cuts are agreeable reggae in English; the rest is Afro-reggae and a lot more interesting for that. In some ways Blondy's music is typical of the Ivory Coast: light, accomplished, and geared to a regional rather than local audience. A dynamic early 80s album with Blondy establishing his sound and style.

Alpha Blondy - Jah Glory  (flac  326mb)

01 Rasta Poué 5:20
02 Bintou Were Were 4:56
03 Jah Glory 4:04
04 Dou Nougnan  4:55
05 Brigadier Sabari 4:42
06 The End 6:14
07 Bebi Yere Yé 6:38
08 Rasta Fou 7:09
09 Rasta Poue (Dub) 5:05

Alpha Blondy - Jah Glory  (ogg 125mb)

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Hailing from the Ivory Coast, Alpha Blondy (or "First Bandit") is one of the most popular African reggae artists, and not just in Africa.  Those who have heard "Cocody Rock" can see why this was one of his early hits, its bubbly, fun tone sure to get things moving.  For those who, listening to this song, fear that Blondy's sound may be too damn happy, fear not.  Granted, Cocody Rock!!! is more buoyant than a lot of his later material, but tunes like "Interplanetary Revolution" and "Super Powers" -- perhaps the best track here, along with the heartfelt "Tere" -- have a harder, funkier edge and a more militant message.  Blondy's voice sometimes sounds like a frog sucking on helium, but it's appealing in its uniqueness, and his simple call-and-response melodies, along with the adept instrumentation of his backing musicians (a mix of his fellow Africans and well-known Jamaicans like Earl "Wire" Lindo,  Earl "Chinna" Smith, and  Dennis Bovell, as part of the album was recorded in Paris and part in Jamaica) combine to make Cocody Rock a pleasure, brief as it may be.

Alpha Blondy - Cocody Rock  (flac  186mb)

01 Cocody Rock 4:58
02 Téré 5:40
03 Super Powers 5:17
04 Interplanetary Revolution 4:35
05 Fangandan Kameleba 5:37
06 Bory Samory 5:07

Alpha Blondy - Cocody Rock  (ogg 72mb)

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Alpha Blondy's first album on an American label, Apartheid Is Nazism is at once both scorching and peaceful, brutal and beautiful.  Blondy has tapped into that rare soothing righteousness that few artists --  Ijahman and  The Abyssinians, to name a couple -- have been able to harness.  This balance between fiery, political, cultural lyrics and icy cool, atmospheric music and vocals carries Apartheid to great heights, bolstered even further by the unique African element that Blondy adds.  Listeners like me who aren't big fans of African music shouldn't fear that this album has African influences; it is first and foremost reggae, but with an African twist -- with African drums and a mix of languages, from English to French to Arabic to Hebrew, that typifies African nations.  Since Jamaican reggae has adopted African elements, African reggae makes sense.  Indeed, many times the freshest examples of a genre come from outside its traditional circle, where experimentation isn't stifled by tradition.  Apartheid contains strong yet accessible roots throughout, featuring a great live-band sound that is more and more rare these days.  "Jah Houphouet," for example, showcases a jazzy guitar over its slow, funky rhythm, while the dubbish "Kiti" has a funky electric guitar, and on "Sahel," you can feel the horns, sax, guitar, and African drums.  Also nice are "Afriki," "Come Back Jesus," "Sebe Allah Y'e," and the title track.

Alpha Blondy - Apartheid Is Nazism  (flac  275mb)

01 Afriki 5:06
02 Jah Houphouet 5:24
03 Apartheid Is Nazism 4:48
04 Idjidja 5:01
05 Sahel 4:10
06 Sebe Allah Y'e 4:45
07 Kiti 5:15
08 Come Back Jesus 5:33
09 Djinamory 4:38

Alpha Blondy - Apartheid Is Nazism   (ogg 109mb)

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Anonymous said...

Could you revisit the entire On-U Sound discography starting at the beginning but in flac this time ?

Dr Purva Pius said...
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