JESS SAH BI & PETER ONE

Our garden Needs Its Flow­ers

UNCUT - - Archive - SHARON O’CON­NELL

(reis­sue, 1985) AWE­SOME TAPES FROM AFRICA

Cross-cul­tural cu­rio from Côte d’Ivoire

The work of Die “Jess” Sah Bi and Peter One (Pierre-Evrard Tra), then a po­lit­i­cal car­toon­ist and a high-school teacher trainee re­spec­tively, this record arose from an in­tro­duc­tion by the for­mer’s nephew to the lat­ter, who he’d heard play­ing gui­tar and singing in their Abid­jan univer­sity dorm in 1979. At the time, Sah Bi was also an es­tab­lished per­former on lo­cal ra­dio and TV, so cap­i­talised on that suc­cess af­ter hook­ing up with One to record their 1985 de­but, Our Garden…, which turned the duo into su­per­stars across West Africa, fill­ing sta­dia, play­ing state galas and even a po­lit­i­cal sum­mit. As back sto­ries go, theirs is cer­tainly com­pelling. But equally in­trigu­ing is the record’s anoma­lous sound, which fits nei­ther indige­nous zigli­bithy nor then pop­u­lar Western funk and reg­gae moulds; rather, it’s a coun­try-folk set, self-pro­duced, sung in three lan­guages and chan­nelling the likes of Glen Camp­bell, Don Wil­liams, CSNY and Si­mon & Gar­funkel through the tra­di­tional vil­lage mu­sic of the men’s child­hoods. Th­ese eight songs, bol­stered by ses­sion play­ers, fea­ture mul­ti­ple gui­tar cross­cur­rents, gently soar­ing

vo­cal har­monies, keys and har­mon­ica in dul­cet ar­range­ments. high­lights are “Katin”, with its gulped wicka-wicka rhythms, the twan­gling “Kango” and the lush, laid­back, slide-heavy ti­tle track, but charm is ev­ery­where.

Ex­tras: None.

The Psychedelic Furs in 1983

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