Friday, October 17, 2008

711. Koffi Olomide - Haut de Gamme/Koweit Rive Gauche (1992)

Track Listing

1. Papa Bonheur
2. Desespoir
3. Koweit Rive Gauche
4. Qui Cherche Trouve
5. Elixir
6. Porte-Monnaie
7. Conte De Fees
8. Obrigado
9. Dit Jeannot


I am sure this was very original for people who have a solely Western musical diet. If you are Portuguese like me, however, you have listened to this kind of music for a long time, actually long before 1992. The Portuguese language singer that sound more like this to me is the Angolan Bonga, who has been around considerably longer than 1992.

In the late 80s Bonga was doing stuff very similar to this. So this does not sound original to me at all. Koffi Olomide, in the Democratic Repulic of Congo (not much of a democracy or republic) is working in a well established Sub-Saharan African tradition of music, his particular version is Tcha Tcho and he was incredibly popular... but that doesn't make it particularly good.

I would much rather listen to more Senegalese music. The use of synths here is a bit maudlin and tacky, the songs are clearly love-songs and some work better than others which sound a bit cloying. As an interesting footnote one of the songs is called Obrigado, which means thank you in Portuguese... I can also recognise some kind of Portuguese creole in the track, including the word "desculpa" meaning "sorry"... Well it was interesting to me at least.

Track Highlights

1. Papa Bonheur
2. Obrigado
3. Porte Monnaie
4. Qui Cherche Trouve

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

He went to France to study. While in Paris, he began playing the guitar and writing songs. On his return to Congo he was a member of Viva la Musica, Papa Wemba's band. Koffi repopularized the slower style of soukous, which had fallen out of fashion. He dubbed this style Tcha Tcho, and it gained popularity outside Congo. Koffi's music can be quite controversial, taking on current events and topics considered taboo in some conservative societies. He has also participated in the salsa music project Africando. Koffi has won four Kora Awards in South Africa and also won the best artist in central Africa. He is married and the father of four children.

Papa Bonheur:

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