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Eddie Ivan Kaweela Group

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I Wish You Were Here Alpha Blondy ~REPACK~

You were also appointed special envoy for the United Nations. What exactly did that appointment entail in practical terms?Alpha Blondy: "It kind of green-lighted me to start talks with the political powers in Ivory Coast, with the different parties involved in the conflict, the fighting factions and not only talk to them, but also listen to their proposals as a means to get out of this crisis as soon as possible. I'm proud to be able to say that I contributed to the Ouagadougou agreements that are in place right now. I was given an audience by president Babo as well as by Saura Dion, the secretary-general of the rebel movement. My approach was very simple: when I met up with the different factions, I listened attentively to the demands they were making and from there, it was easy to extrapolate a common solution."

I Wish You Were Here Alpha Blondy

You were in great part raised by your grandmother, Chérie Coco. How do you remember her?Alpha Blondy: "She is still with me every day! The love she instilled in me helped me find my way in life even in the darkest, most difficult moments. She used to say: "If in your search for God you forget about man, your search will be in vain!" I've always remembered that. It means that God is man and vice versa. I'm a child of the countryside and that has played an important role in how I look at life. I'm not at ease in cities like Brussels or Paris, because these places turn at an insatiable pace, are full of stress and competition and basically lack humanity. That's something I experienced myself when I was still signed to a large music label. Of course they helped me launch my career, but I always felt there was something missing. Personally, I rather follow the rhythm of the sun. That's why if you want to find people like my grandmother, it's in the countryside you have to look and if at all possible even in the Ivorian countryside. When I'm in Abidjan, I spend most of my time in Bassam, on the outskirts of the city. I always say: "You can get a peasant out of the countryside, but you can't get the countryside out of the peasant." (laughs)"

In your song 'Cocody Rock' you immortalised a part of Abidjan known as Cocody. What can you tell us about that part of the city?Alpha Blondy: "Cocody is the upper-class area of Abidjan; the district where all the high dignitaries live. The kids of these rich people sought a way out of the boredom of their existence and became our friends. When they needed some herb, they had to come to the ghetto, and because most of them had travelled already, they were the first to get some decent reggae albums. Because I had been to America they felt a connection and, before we knew what was happening, we all united in a kind of Rastafarian tribe. All these events inspired that song." 041b061a72


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