In our third installment of the "Best of The Beat on Afropop" mini-series on reggae in Africa, we present a feature on Ivorian star Alpha Blondy, who came to international attention in the mid-'80s. The article, by music journalist and Bob Marley biographer Stephen Davis, poses the question that had been on many reggae fans' minds since Marley's death in 1981: Who would be the next Bob Marley? At the time of publication in 1988, Davis noted that Alpha Blondy was the biggest reggae star in Europe and Africa. "Like Bob Marley, Alpha sings for the poor and dispossessed, yet he appeals to all classes of society on the deepest level.... Like Bob Marley, Alpha Blondy is an anthemist with a mission.... an ardent pan-Africanist and advocate of African unity." Read the interview to learn more about this rising African hero from the late 1980s.
READ OR DOWNLOAD THE PDF: Beat7#1AlphaBlondy
At this point in time, Alpha Blondy's career appears to be thriving. He has released 11 albums since this article was published--the latest, Positive Energy, in 2015--and continues to perform, mostly in Europe and Africa. See the official website for a career update. Afropop caught him for an interview in 2009 at Central Park Summerstage:
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