Music with a conscience from Ivory Coast

Apr 9, 2011

Some late Friday night blogging… Music tells us a lot about different places around the world and I love to collect it from my students and use it in the classroom. Worth noting that Ivory Coast has long had a great, socially aware, music scene. Zouglou started during the student protest movements in the 1990s (the protests initially began over the rolling electrical blackouts during the exam periods but spread to broader political demands). The music genre has gained widespread following in Europe especially with the popularity of Magic System. Soum Bill and Les Salopards may be a bit less well known but their music is edgier and more overtly political. The music video last year from their song, Vive le maire, blended satire with criticism of the socio-economic injustice and corruption. Here’s Soum Bill’s solo Qui Saura — a hard hitting social commentary:

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Jon Western has spent the last fifteen years teaching IR in liberal arts colleges at Mount Holyoke College and the Five Colleges in western Massachusetts. He has an eclectic range of intellectual interests but often writes on international security, U.S. foreign policy, military intervention, and human rights. He occasionally shares his thoughts about professional life in liberal arts colleges. In his spare time he coaches middle school soccer, mentors the local high school robotics team, skis, and sails.