Thursday, 24 November 2016

Oliver: Lucien Bokilo - Adidja (29 February 1992)

Listening to this track from Lucien Bokilo, I find myself thinking back to French lessons at school.  In particular, those moments when the teacher would bring out a tape recorder and bung on a tape to assist the class with its French listening exercises.  The lower school years at Falmouth Community School saw us use the iconic Tricolore books which are still going today.  13 years ago, I saw the comedian Ian Moore mention them in a throwaway line about how he was using them to help him, since he was moving to live in France.  I and a few others cheered the mention of Tricolore, and to a huge laugh he responded, "In case you're wondering, Jean-Claude is still living in La Rochelle.  Hoovering la fenetre.  What a disappointment he must be to the DuPont family.  No wonder they can't get a fucking army together".  This being the time when Jacques Chirac decided that following ourselves and the U.S. into a war in Iraq wasn't really something he wanted to be part of.
When I went to the upper school building of Falmouth Community School, there was a new kid on the French textbook block called Studio 16.  Funkier, hipper, more up to date.  The flared trousers and sideburns of the cast of characters in those Tricolore books replaced by vaguely preppy/or shell-suited teens pointing the way to the 1990s with lengthy dissertations about whether they liked British television or not.  I remember they liked ours considerably more than I liked theirs whenever I watched it on holiday.
What has stayed with me most about them were the musical stings on the accompanying cassette tapes.  Tricolore linking its sections with a jaunty acoustic guitar polka that ran throughout the tape.  Studio 16 was more varied.  The stings were more jingle like ensuring that you never forgot what you were listening to, but some would be done as bright electro-pop numbers; others as slower, bluesier efforts and every so often there would be a few bars of delirious Afro pop - Studio 16 doing a better job of reflecting France's racial make-up than Tricolore did.  Even now, Ousmane Seck of Senegal remains a clear memory of my education.
Adidja catches Lucien Bokilo channelling the spirit of those Tricolore/Studio 16 stings...and I can offer it no higher praise of comparison then that.

Video courtesy of soukousnostalgie.

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