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After various TV shows for Kassi, Blondy recorded his first solo album in 1982, entitled ‘Jah Glory’. This album was to have enormous success and would become later a symbol of resistance because of the song ‘Brigadier Sabari’, where Alpha criticized the harassment by the police. Some of this was based on personal experience, as Alpha himself had seen police violence. Alpha Blondy became a big star in Abidjan with his own African twist of Reggae music, becoming in the eyes of his fans ‘the Bob Marley of Africa’. Alpha Blondy is spiritual, political and positive just like Marley himself, and even recorded a cover of Bob Marley’s song ‘War’. And he doesn’t stop progressing; in order to reach more people with his message, he chose to sing in many languages: English, French, Baoule, and his own native language – Dioula. Later he also brought new instrumentation to his brand of reggae such as the violin and cello.

Soon the fame of Alpha Blondy spread to Europe. Following the success of an EP entitled “Rasta Poué” he went to Paris in 1984 to make his second album, ‘Cocody Rock’ with the label Pathe Marconi. The Bob Marley of Africa’ traveled to the Island of Jamaica and recorded the title track of this album with Marley’s backing group: The Wailers.

Back home in 1985, Alpha went into the studio to record ‘Apartheid is Nazism’. This album was more politically committed than ever. It is a call for the end of Apartheid and the freedom for all. In 1986 Blondy recorded “Jerusalem” at the legendary Tuff Gong studios in Jamaica, again with The Wailers featuring Bob Marley’s legendary Bass Aston “Family Man” Barrett. Blondy tried to promote unity between the religion of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He drew his arguments and inspiration from his own diverse knowledge of the Bible, the Quran and the Torah. That same year, Blondy sang in Hebrew during a concert in Morocco. At this point he was touring continuously. His new album ‘Revolution’ had a lighter, gentler sound; this was the album with cellos in the instrumentation, and the line-up included veteran Ivory Coast singer Aicha Kone. The album also included “Jah Houphouët parle”, a long speech by the Ivory Coast president with only the most minimal beat behind it.

Blondy spent the years 1987–1989 giving concerts and recording ‘SOS Guerre Tribale’ in Abidjan. This was promoted by Blondy himself as he was distancing himself from Pathe Marconi at this stage. This was not to be a real success but this wasn’t going to stop Blondy and in 1991 he returned to Europe for a concert tour and to record his famous album: ‘Masada’ with the help of musical legends such as Bocana Maiga and UK reggae producer Denis Bovell. The album, with its hit single ‘Rendez Vous’ was a huge success, and later, Blondy was to receive his first Gold Disc in Paris.

At the beginning of 1993, worn out from a world tour, Blondy succumbed to depression and was taken into an institution for psychiatric help. But as his health recovered he recorded the album ‘Dieu’ (‘God’), where he appears more spiritual and religious, on tracks such as ‘Heal Me’, about his illness and recovery.

Blondy’s psychiatric treatment continued but, on December 10, 1994, Blondy was back with the festival in memory of the late President Houphouet, and later he made his European comeback at a storming concert at Le Zenith in Paris. In 1996, Blondy released a hits compilation and went back into the studio to record the album ‘Grand Bassam Zion’, singing in six languages; Malinke, Arabic, French, English, Ashanti and Wolof.

Alpha Blondy (Seydou Kone) was named United Nations Ambassador of Peace for Côte d’Ivoire in 2005. He made great efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to his country’s political and physical division which was a result of an attempted Coup in 2001. As of March 2007 a peace agreement was signed and implemented, due to the hard work of many people including Alpha Blondy. Alpha now reaches out further with the newly created Not-for-Profit, Non Government, Non Political, Charitable Foundation, Alpha Blondy Jah Glory Foundation, which purposely and deliberately work towards ending social injustice and generational poverty by giving people the tools that they need to help themselves. He strongly believes in helping the poor (Jah Glory), and also that it should not hurt to a child. The Foundation strives to create and implement grassroots programs at the village level such as the Women’s Self-Sufficiency Micro Loan Program, to teach women who are caring for multiple orphans how to start and manage their own business, to better provide for their families, as well as other sustainable projects, such as the Tafari-Genesis Retreat Camp for Children (Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso). It especially hopes to bring joy and hope to children who have been affected by civil wars, Former Child Soldiers, and those who suffer from chronic life threatening illnesses, such as sickle cell anemia, malaria, asthma, etc.

Talking about Alpha Blondy, people think usually of music and indeed since 1980 he has written at least 17 albums and 194 titles. This itself indicates the great value he represents for his fans. Alpha is no longer an Ivorian star but an International Mega Star because of his fight for peace and unity all around the world. One example was his single “Who Are You” with Ophelie Winter against antipersonnel mines. He has also participated at many humanitarian and charity concerts, such as the concert in Senegal in March 2006 for the eradication of Malaria in Africa (where he appeared along with many other celebrities). He has done much, much more of this type of work in the Ivory Coast itself, especially at his annual free concert at Bassam beach called “festa”.

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