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Jess Sah Bi & Peter One - Our Garden Needs Its Flowers
A1Clipo Clipo
B1Our Garden Needs Its Flowers
B3African Chant

Jess Sah Bi & Peter One
Our Garden Needs Its Flowers

Awesome Tapes From Africa | Item No: 596564
Vinyl LP | 2018 / US – Original | New
19,99 €
Incl. VAT plus Shipping Costs
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Item Description
Ivory Coast isn’t known for country music. But Jess Sah Bi & Peter One’s 1985 recording Our Garden Needs Its Flowers, a massive-selling regional hit, brought a burgeoning interest in folk and Americana into the mainstream and carried two young men to international prominence, culminating in stadium-filling concerts and performances for the first lady of Cote d’Ivoire and dignitaries.

The album was made following a chance introduction via Jess’s nephew, who heard Peter playing for fun around his university dormitory. At the time, Jess Sah Bi (Die Sah Bi) was Ivory Coast’s first political cartoonist, having already published in dozens of magazines and newspapers across West Africa and France. Meanwhile Peter One (Pierre-Evrard Tra) was a university student and soon-to-be high school history teacher. Both musicians had spent time singing and playing guitar and composing songs on their own until they came together to record their independently-released opus.

The music contrasted starkly with the popular sounds of the time, ranging from fast-paced regional dance music genres to ziglibithy to soukous to straight-up funk played by Abidjan’s plethora of bands. Country music and folk-rock weren’t very popular with the general public. But interest was bubbling up within the growing student population, who connected with the protest sentiments expressed by many English and American artists of the era. “It’s very nice music, with very nice harmonies, and it’s different from what you hear every day,” Peter says. “The language was a big barrier though. You had to learn English to understand the songs, and the students were the ones learning English.” Having access to education along with their awareness of social and political inequality and injustice made students the perfect audience for folk music in Ivory Coast.

Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Don Williams’ music could be heard on some radio programs around Ivory Coast’s major cities, and some younger people were getting hip to Simon & Garfunkel, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cat Stevens and Crosby Stills & Nash. The stage was set for Jess Sah Bi & Peter One’s homegrown country music to make a mark on Ivorians’ consciousness. Complete with slide guitar, soaring vocals and anthemic, politically-conscious lyrics in three languages, the recording became ubiquitous across French-speaking West Africa. “We expected the album to be a big success, but we could not have imagined how far it would go,” Peter says.

After Our Garden Needs Its Flowers release, Jess and Peter’s profile lifted rapidly, leading to stadium performances in Togo, Burkina Faso and elsewhere. Their ascent was accompanied by critical acclaim from the local press and television programs, appearances at galas organized by Marie-Thérèse Houphouët-Boigny, the wife of the late Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of the Ivory Coast and even a performance during the 1988 ECOWAS (Economic Coalition of West African States) summit in Yamoussoukro at President Houphouët-Boigny’s request. Jess and Peter’s run lasted until the early 1990s, capped off with the BBC using their song African Chant as theme music the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Jess and Peter now live in San Francisco and Nashville, respectively, and continue to make music on their own. Plans for shows reuniting the duo are in the works for later this year.
Item Details
Item No:596564
Artist:Jess Sah Bi & Peter One
Titel:Our Garden Needs Its Flowers
Label:Awesome Tapes From Africa
Format:Vinyl LP, Vinyl, LP
Pressing:US – Original
Release Date:2018
Genre:Organic Grooves
Available since:16.08.2018
Price:19,99 €
Weight:250g (plus 250g Packaging)
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