I’m starting this week a new rubric called Video of the Week where I’ll share with you my musical “coup de coeurs”, past as well as present. Today’s feature will be a video of the France based Congolese (Brazzaville) rap collective known as Bisso Na Bisso (meaning ‘between us’ in Lingala). The video is a parody of African government leaders concern with stuffing their pockets during their tenure rather the welfare of the people who put them in office. Bisso Na Bisso was banned from performing in their native country of Congo upon release of “Racines” (roots) their debut album in 1999. The title of the song (dans la peau d’un chef) can be translated as ‘in the shoes of an elected or appointed official’. And oh the song is in French 😉
At first I used to regard claims of Ivorian music being superior in entertainment value to Congolese music as absurd, but now…well I still do :-D. It’s just that more than ever before you West Africans out there truly believe the hype. When I speak of music I’m referring of course to Soukous and Coupé-Décalé (C-D), musical genres born in DR Congo and Cote D’Ivoire respectively. Although C-D is a lot younger than Soukous, it has grown in popularity as quickly as it took the Spurs to handle the Cavs (can you tell I’m a NBA fan:-D). Ok you get it, in just a few years it has spread like the plague, to the point where you can now hear shouts of “travaillement”, “pan pan saute-mouton”, “Saga-citer” – and other cries typical to a C-D tune – in Soukous songs. Despite its rise in popularity (there’s even a Coupé-Décalé work-out DVD out there!), I maintain that it is absurd to think that it is taking over from Soukous since the former heavily borrows in style from the latter. In fact you can often hear some Lingala phrases in C-D! I’m not hating though, it is very fun to dance although I must admit to my initial reluctance to catch the fever. Perhaps what makes C-D fun is the fact that there so many variants out there such as Décalé Chinois (Chinese Décalé), grippe aviaire (bird flu), Drogba-citer (after the Ivoirian footballer) etc. much more ways to express yourself than just Ndombolo for instance:-D. Today at almost every African party, it is a must for DJs to have a Soukous and a C-D play list. It’s just not an African party without those 2. Still, my loyalty remains with Soukous. Ok…maybe I’m a little biased being Congolese and all, but what do you think?
You can watch clips of Coupé-Décalé and Soukous here.