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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Logobi, Is This What They Mean By Afro Futurism?!?

Recently, my friend Be Brown sent me a video on facebook with a group of youth in a dance circle taking turns dancing in the middle, chanting Bobaraba on top of a beautiful synthed-out fast tempo Coupe Decale instrumental. Friends asked what the instrumental track was and I didn't know, but then Birdseed drops the Logobi bomb on me, and I discover the Zaza Twins:

People have been trying to tell me Coupe Decale is dead, or at least losing popularity, but Coupe Decale is just the continuing story in a long line of tradition in African Popular music. I have another post soon that will get deeper into that, but basically to me Logobi is the obvious next step in the evolution on the Coupe Decale sound. It's the child of the marriage between Kuduro attitude adapted in France and Coupe Decale's Soukous snare pattern.

It's a constant conversation between diaspora and homeland, sped up by new media and rising immigration. And, once again, I'm not surprised to see this movement led by youth (and these kids look young!) trying to make their own voice in this international conversation, not far removed from the kids I hang out with on a daily basis trying to mix Mobbin' with Jerkin'.

How kids in Paris Jerk:

And by the way, for Mr. Birdseed, if you are wondering about influences, just check out the Twins' Skyrock Blog that has links to African Tonic, DJ Spheedy, Olivia of G Unit featuring Congolese Ndombolo Star Fally Ipupa, and Dave Guetta featuring Akon, in other words, and not to get all Rainbow coalition on ya'll, but all these connections make me happy to see we all might be on a similar page.

Zaza Twins-Couper Decaler Instru 2009

Play it Loud and Play it Proud!


Birdseed said...

Hey, the ZaZa Twins are SOOO cute!

I wonder if there's a queer aspect to this too that we don't know about? ;)

Thanks for the context, I knew you'd be the person to go to for updates on what's happening in Paris - strange, since you're half a world away. :)

Anonymous said...

Say - this Coupe Decale shit is the most boring shit on the planet! Okay, not THE most boring shit...just more homogeneous Euro-dominated artificial zombie robot music for people with no soul or funk about them. Oh well, can't stop "progress" can we?

Birdseed said...

I think your words are lost on a generation (from any continent) who think Robot Zombies are quite possibly the coolest things ever. ;)

Guillaume / Valeo said...

Hey B&B,

Thanks for the links and the music! Will inquire, next time I go back home! This is indeed an interesting evolution!

Dave Quam said...

great post boima, and this this zaza
track is dope!

Boima said...

So going back through some of my albums I noticed Logobi appear from a few years back. So the name a direct reference to an Ivorian style?

tupolev sound crash said...

hi chief
i've done some research too. i found "logobi" in a post of an afro evening in new york in 2004... it seems like it's an "official" african music style like ndombolo, soukouss, mbalax etc... so not that new, but i never heard of that style.
on the other hand, there's a defining tune (enjaille-toi) by a certain ivorian Tony Logobi who has a so and so ep "logobi dance" from 2008 (available on itunes belgium). don't know if it's a reissue.
most of the kind of simplified techno coupé décalé tracks (i agree in part with the anonymous post here) which have a "logobi" entry on skyrock date from 2008 who was first with the name (a track, a genre, a producer), i don't know.
but objectively spoken, the tracks and dances from french youngsters indeed represent a back and forth movement between the motherland and the european diaspora. coupé décalé snare patterns, a kuduro tempo (140bpm), some euro trance synths, and dance moves that draw from kuduro, tectonic and old skool break dance. a hybrid melting pot to the bone and very representative of today's global cultural featurs: copying, adapting, blending
the results are not always that interesting of course, think of the bad, cheesy commercial house coupé décalé tracks floating around too... by the way, a lot of french rappers switch between french rap and this commercial "coupé house". a bad thing cos in the process the bad tracks miss an african feel (although this is hard to describe in words, try it, we can write about that elsewhere, me as a white boy, you as ... whatever!).
on the other hand, wassup with the female factor? i did miss the booty shaking women on a lot of video's, so if it doesn't appeal to them, it might not break thru in the end :) die die die logobi!
and at last, i have to admit that i find the funana-techno crossover of french-cape verdian artists like izé, dj nays, elizio etc much more interesting, uplifting and creative than what i heard in logobi. but let's give it a chance of course...

ps: the south african house and kwaito movement is nowadays, also a pretty awesome kind of succesfull fusion: typical charming retro house beats and synths, but with an underlying zulu feel and rhytmic drive.

ps2: check my coupé décalé mixtape on our soundcloud/myspace page. a 2nd volume in the making...

dj leblanc

Birdseed said...

Very interesting info, DJ Leblanc! For me personally, I'd vaguely agree that it's a little more "interesting" than "brilliant" at the moment, but the potential is huge and you're right to give it a little time to grow. Just the unconventional influences (Jumpstyle meets kuduro, wtf?) ought to make it able to produce greatness.

That said I think some of the stuff already released is amazing, especially the track in this dance video which I'd love to be able to ident:

Boima said...

Cool, I hear ya'll and the anonymous poster mis quotes me by saying progress. Evolution is NOT progress. Evolution is change, and what excites me most is cultural change, especially as someone who fits into similar social-cultural categories as the Euro African youth. But that said, if you're looking for high production value you're not going to find it in this scene, but who cares? These are teenagers. Are we really going to hold them to as high a standard as a signed recording artist? I work with teenagers everyday and they make exciting stuff. Right now I wouldn't put it out there and hold it up as a seminal work of electronic music or hip hop, BUT it excites me when I see latent talent or sparks of creativity in youth. That's what is great about this. I DO like the Zaza twins music for it's creative energy. They aren't bogged down by the SNOBERY of the electronic music scene. They aren't necessarily connected to or referencing the history of house or techno. They are latching on to what's popular with probably French White youth around them and putting their Afican stamp on it, and saying look at us.

Oh and as far as women, the original video I saw of the coupe instru was a co-ed group, mixed boys and girls. I hope that we wouldn't be looking for pictures of teenage girls shaking their ass, but hey... it is the Internet.

Boima said...

Thanks for the comments and research Leblanc, I hear you, and dig what you're saying. Send that mix over when you finish!

Anonymous said...

This song remind me the Hervé Denon instrumental, Bablee Sous les tropiques Mano de Mano Hymne a la joie etc.. i believe The Hervé Denon track is one of the 1st I would call coupé décalé instrumental...
Great Blog

el capitan

Anonymous said...

The Logobi dance is from Ivory Coast

Check these blog for Coupé décalé news
(I got nothing to do whith them)

Coupé décalé is far from dead

el capitan

Boima said...

Thanks for the links el Captian. It's nice to see where the dance comes from.