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Ivorian 'white man' rocks rebel north

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« on: September 04, 2007, 12:38:08 am »

Ivorian 'white man' rocks rebel north 
By James Copnall
BBC News, Abidjan

Kutchala Sutchi says he was inspired by The Who's Roger Daltrey
In a country which couldn't care less about rock music, Ivory Coast's "white man" is up against huge obstacles.

Kutchala Sutchi is a rock star - well, a rock musician anyway.

But Ivorians tend not to listen to rock music, and there are very few rock groups, and certainly nothing resembling a rock scene.

Rock is perceived as a European style of music, so Kutchala is nicknamed the "toubabou" or white man.

This summer, Ivory Coast's "white man" has been playing gigs all over the north of the country, controlled by New Forces rebels, as part of a tour organised by the Ivorian musicians' union to promote national unity.


"I was nervous about going to the rebel territory, but as soon as I saw people dancing to my music, all my nerves disappeared," he told the BBC.

  If I played rock at my bar, the customers would go into revolt

Innocent, bar manager
He says he was delighted by the reception he received.

"There are even rebel chiefs who still call me up, and they tell me I must come back to perform again."

Kutchala says one of the rebel leaders, Fofie Kouakou, who controls the northern town of Korhogo, was particularly insistent that he returned there.

Mr Kouakou is currently under UN sanctions for alleged human rights abuses, but he has created a cultural centre as part of an attempt to rehabilitate his image.

Rocker Kutchala says his trip to the north has given him a new perspective on Ivory Coast's five-year-old civil war, which seems to be coming to an end.

"I think those rebels are nice, so the population mustn't be scared," he explains.

"In every human there is a sleeping beast, and when you provoke it, it reacts.

"We have decided to make peace, people have helped us to make peace, and we must go back to our old habits, to fraternise with each other."

Wembley dream

Back in Abidjan, Kutchala has to deal with a return to normality - a normality in which he is not recognised in the street, for example.

In fact, many Ivorians don't seem particularly keen on rock music.

Rebel chief Fofie Kouakou (r) wants Kutchala (l) to play more gigs
"If I played rock at my bar, the customers would go into revolt," says Innocent, who manages the Doux Maquis in Abidjan, a sort of bar, which mostly plays local dance music, known as "Zouglou", as well as R 'n B and reggae.

"And after a while they would all leave."

Raymond, a customer at a nearby bar, says he likes rock.

But he didn't know any Ivorian rockers, and felt the music would never really take off in Ivory Coast.

Kutchala Sutchi is not demoralised.

"This music, I feel it in my soul, I feel its rhythms," he says.

"My inspiration is Roger Daltrey of The Who, as well as Metallica and the Sex Pistols.

"And I won't have achieved anything in this life until I have played a gig at Wembley Stadium."
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 12:39:50 am by Chastity » Report Spam   Logged

"Man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

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