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Journal Article

Zouglou and Current Socio-Political Issues in Côte d'Ivoire

Jean Derive and Marie-Clémence Adom
The Global South
Vol. 5, No. 2, Special Issue: Indigenous Knowledges and Intellectual Property Rights in the Age of Globalization (Fall 2011), pp. 21-49
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/globalsouth.5.2.21
Stable URL:
Page Count: 29
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Zouglou and Current Socio-Political Issues in
                    Côte d'Ivoire
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This article presents a corpus of songs recorded between 1998 and 2008, interpreted by different Zouglou bands, a neo-urban genre in Côte d'Ivoire. The songs are in Nouchi, a popular emergent language whose lexical base is French (regional popular French) to which are added elements of various indigenous languages (mainly Agni-Baoulé, Bété, and Dioula). The main themes of these songs are the evocation of and commentary on current political affairs in Côte d'Ivoire, with various commitments depending on the groups producing the songs. But these references are always made in an indirect way, within the context of a discourse of complicity, understood only by initiates. We decode the keys to the references in the songs and venture some hypotheses on the reasons for the emergence of this literature of complicity in a syncretic language, in a context in which national Ivorian identity is in fact being threatened.

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