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Alpha Blondy

Hailing from the Cote d'Ivoire, Alpha Blondy is among the world's most popular reggae artists. With his 12-piece band Solar System, Blondy offers a reggae beat with a distinctive African cast. Calling himself an African Rasta, Blondy creates Jah-centered anthems promoting morality, love, peace, and social consciousness. With a range that moves from sensitivity to rage over injustice, much of Blondy's music empathizes with the impoverished and those on society's fringe. Blondy is also a staunch supporter of African unity, and to this end, he sings to Moslem audiencess in Hebrew and sings in Arabic to Israelis. Some of his best-known songs include "Cocody Rock," "Jerusalem," and "Apartheid Is Nazism."

He was born a member of the Jula tribe in Dimbokoro and named Seydou Kone, after his grandfather. His grandmother, Cherie Coco, raised him. He was always a rebellious child and for this, Coco named him "Blondy," her unique pronunciation of the word "bandit." When he started performing professionally, he took on the name Alpha (the first letter in the Greek alphabet) so his name literally translates to "first bandit." Though he grew up listenting to African folkloric music such as yagba and gumbe, his primary musical influences were such Western bands as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and soul artists like Otis Redding. Later Bob Marley's music tremendously affected Blondy. Though he wanted to become a musician, his family expected him to become a respectable English teacher. He studied English at Hunter College in New York, and later in the Columbia University American Language Program. Outside of class, he would play music in Central Park and in Harlem clubs where occasionally house bands would let him sing his Bob Marley covers in French, English, and various West African languages. One night, record producer Clive Hunt heard Blondy sing and invited him to record six songs. Unfortunately, Hunt absconded with the tape. Shortly afterward, he returned to the Ivory Coast, where he was arrested for threatening the ambassador at the New York Ivorian embassy because the diplomat felt that Blondy's English was too good for him to be an Ivorian native. While at the police station, Blondy's temper again flared and he slapped a policeman (after the cop slapped him first). He spent a week in jail and then stayed briefly at th Bingerville Asylum in Abidjan, where he was declared reasonably sane and released. Soon afterward, he began honing his songwriting and performing skills. Later, he dedicated an album to the patients of Bingerville.

Blondy got his big break from friend Fulgence Kass, an employee of Ivory Coast Television who helped him land a spot on the Premiere Chance talent show. Singing three of his own tunes plus Burning Spear's "Christopher Columbus," the young artist was a hit with the audience. Blondy then hooked up with producer G. Benson who recorded his eight-song debut album Jah Love in a single day. The most popular song, "Brigadier Sabari," was an account of Blondy's run-in with an Abidjan police street raid in which he was nearly beaten to death. It was the first time a West African artist had dared to mention random police brutality in public. After releasing the album, he and the newly formed Solar System band signed to EMI. They recorded his second album, Cocody Rock, in Paris in 1984. Later he returned to Tuff Gong to record his third album, Jerusalem (1986). By the release of his 1987 album Revolution, Blondy had established himself as an international artist. Three years before he had been voted the number one artist by a Radio France international poll. His popularity continues to grow, and he continues steadily releasing albums. His 1992 album, Masada, was released in over 50 countries around the world and went double gold in France. Yitzhak Rabin followed in 1998; Paris Percy appeared in spring 2001. Although it was recorded in 1999, the album Elohim appeared in 2002 in Europe and three years later in America. The career-spanning Akwaba: The Very Best of Alpha Blondy was also released in 2005. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Aaaaaw, SANG IT, ALPH!!!!!!!! ! :-D
Praise to the first bandit! Jah...rastaf a r i .
BETTER THAN GREAT!!!!!
Unfortunatel y it was not mentioned in his "about" that he live in Liberia, West Africa and attended school there as well.
The best...rasta ! ! !
treerizzo
Love it !!!!!
Roots Man Stylee.
Roots.
bonne chanson
timeless..Al p h a Blondy rules!!
Alpha is one of best reggae artist in Africa and in the world.... peace and love.
Jamming to sweet music
Cannot go a day without listening to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, lucky Dube, Culture, Ijahman ......., they are a gift to world
Like this song j'aime ce son
Je vous aime alpha
Both alpha&lucky dude are childrens of the most high god jah we were bless to have both of 'em musical messages blesssssssss s s s e d
The best reggae musician in west africa and africa as a whole excluding late lacky dube
Great Musician
Eres el mejor alpha blondy
keep your don't like comments to yourself. No one care about your hateful and comments. I grew up back in the 80 in Cote D'ivoire, so Alpha and Lucky Dube are by far the best ambassadores Reggae can have the African continent...
No one like Him
jah bless irie
The only time I got to see them I was with someone that frowned at me as I clapped and whistled after the song, I wasn't aware he was making a bootleg tape and didn't want any talking or shouting or clapping. I felt awful that I couldn't show my appreciation for them. It was a miserable night because of him
I saw him headline Reggae on the River in ...'92(?). Absolutely amazing! He came out in an Iron maiden shirt and red bandana. He blew the crowd away and was by far, the best of all the bands at the tree day event. Including Toots and the Maytals and Burning Spear
I like Alpha Blondy great musician!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! i
i still love this guy even after 20yrs, good music never dies.
anybody know if he still lives in cote d voir?
Yes I. Alpha Blondy embodies everything that is truly roots, rasta reggae. Truth, righteousnes s , infectious positivity. Jah soldier. Give thanks and praise!
reggae is my favorite mucic ez
mosebob
Minty
good
jah love
all time reggae star!! my favorite.
...first time i heard Blondy i was in prison woke me up...conscio u s vibes i love the "first bandit"...
i love you and your song
theophilusse y
Yeah Alpha is a pillar the reggae bussiness
diesode3
Wait a minute, I asked for Majek Fashek and you give me Alph Blondy? Though I like Blondy but I specifically requested Majek Fashek. Do you have problem locating this artist or what's the matter? Please find out who this wonder guy is! He's a reggae phenom!!
This is a heavy brother, here. Great bio, I've listened to his music for a while, but I never really knew much about him. This is a guy I'd like to sit down and talk with, he's got some great stories it sounds like.
I love your music!!!!! it motavates me to go out and get some waves!!!!!
My people arefrom the Islands so I listen to this a the time.
I have loved his music for years! I wish there was an English version to his website!
onlyshelby
j'ne cest quoi? i don't know the words but i still under stand the vibes !magnifique! !
This is the first time I've heard this artist, and I have to say he has a strong grasp of the feel that Marley had in his music. That Soul and peace, and rebellious nature mixed with Reggae rhythm is incredible.
taino_65pr
Me gusta su musica y su ritmo. Desde PUERTO RICO.
I grew up listening to Alpha Blondy back in Africa ( Sierra Leone). He is like my role model. He is a super star as far as i am concerned.
LOVE ALPHA LOVE HIS MUSIC SAW HIM IN ROSELAND BALLROOM IN NEW YORK.
Alpha Blondy is my favorite musician ever. I have a good friend who is Ethopian who moved to the Cote d'Ivorie (Ivory Coast) in 1986 & she has said he is the best too. Amazing talent, great vibes, incredible consciousnes s ! !
Gina Frazier, you're hot, especially your taste in music; wanna meet you?
cynpino_sjdo e
Love the man's music...Woul d love to see him in concert in New Mexico, Native American Country.
Love this music
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