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Nov 07, 2022

Tiken Jah Fakoly | Back with a new album

The musical success of Tiken Jah Fakoly, which has endured for other three decades, rests on a clear and uncompromising reggae sound which matches his forthright and unambiguous lyrics. These elements have made him as appreciated in France as internationally, whether it’s as a defender of the oppressed or as a constant thorn in the side of the tyrants he regularly calls out by name in his songs.

Already at the beginning of the 90s, with his first group Les Djélys in Odienné, a town in the north-west of Côte d’Ivoire, Tiken Jah was getting attention for his deep and penetrating vocals. Having released two mini-albums, Les Djelys (1993) and Missiri (1994), he released his debut album Mangercratie (1999), recorded in Abidjan, which met with considerable success and became the first cornerstone of his discography. His music lit a fire under the local reggae scene but also took local politics to task, targeting a decadent ruling class, the “vieux gloutons” as he called them, who refused to heed the changing times and were clinging on to power.

In 2000, he recorded Cours d’histoire and then in Paris he produced the second key work of his career with third album Françafrique (2002), a term which informally designates – as denounced by Tiken Jah in his lyrics – France’s archaic political system and its mafia-like structure.

In the same year, his country Côte d’Ivoire was suffering the impact of civil war. His compatriots had “lost their minds”, as predicted in the lyrics to one of his songs. Fakoly sought refuge in Bamako, without feeling like a refugee because “Africa is united”, as he has also stated.

It was in Bamako that he recorded the third cornerstone of this career, L’Africain (2007), his fifth release, followed by the magnificent African Revolution (2010), his seventh, which laid down his sound definitively: a revolutionary cry and direct calls to political action, backed by simple, stripped-down reggae rhythms that are as beautiful as they are powerful.

His most recent album, Braquage de pouvoir (his 11th), continues in the same direction but does more than just sum up his musical attributes – it gets to the essence of the ‘Fakolien’ style. Braquage de pouvoir is available now on French label Chapter Two / Wagram.

You can find Tiken Jah Fakoly on our Oui Love Reggae playlist:


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