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Alpha Blondy: The Person behind the Mysticism

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Alpha Blondy, whose real name is Seydou Koné, was born in Dimbokoro, Cote d’Ivoire, in 1953. This reggae singer is one of the most important and popular performers in West Africa. Alpha sings whether in French, his mother tongue (Dioula), Hebrew, Arabic or English. The subject matter of his singles relies on political issues but analyzed from a humorous point of view. His songs contain satirical lyrics about civil war, Israel, civilian and military alternance, the assassination of Norbert Zongo and police brutality and are intended to promote love, morality, social consciousness and peace.

His debut album was released in 1983 with the name Jah Glory. The album was so successful not only by his rhythms and sounds but also due to his lyrics. One of the most successful singles within the album was “Brigadier Sabar” which was performed in Dioula and tells the story of a police raid he witnessed in Ivory Coast. The Abidjan music had got its own start, its version of Bob Marley: Alpha Blondy. Once he achieved the triumph in his native region (West Africa), it was the time to succeed in other latitudes. The track “Rasta poué” became a hit in Europe so that Alpha moved to Paris where he released his second album Cocody Rock. Alpha was certainly on the right track, he even had the possibility to record with The Wailers (backing group of Bob Marley).

In 1985, Apartheid is Nazism was launched and became an anthem in the fight against apartheid. This album was also the beginning of a new mysticism for him with soft songs such as “Jésus come back”, approach that was kept in his next album Jérusalem. Singing in Arab, Hebrew and studying the precepts of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, he was now supporting religious unity. Whether satirizing political issues or promoting religious harmony, Alpha released twelve more albums until 2005, among them: The Prophets (1989), Best Of (1997), and Merci (2002).

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