Jess Sah Bi & Peter One In Conversation with Mark McNeill
This week Mark McNeill welcomes Jess Sah Bi & Peter One onto the dublab airwaves to share some insights into their album, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers, reissued by Awesome Tapes from Africa. The duo’s 1985 debut album is a soulful country-folk treasure. Created in Côte d’Ivoire, it caused huge ripples throughout Africa upon its release.
About Jess Sah Bi & Peter One: In the 1980s, Abidjan’s Jess Sah Bi & Peter One became one of the most popular musical acts in not just the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), but broader West Africa, eventually performing with a full band to stadium-sized audiences at home and throughout Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo. Although they’d been popular radio and television performers for several years prior, the catalyst for Jess and Peter achieving this new level of stardom was their debut album, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers, recorded and released in 1985.
In contrast with the heaving funk, disco and reggae sounds of the day, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers was a lush fusion of traditional Ivorian village songs and American and English country and folk-rock music. Jess and Peter sang in French and English, delivering beautifully harmonized meditations on social injustice and inequality, calls for unity across the African continent, an end to apartheid in South Africa and the odd song for the ladies, all set against lush guitar riffs, rustic harmonica and rollicking feel-good rhythms.
In Conversation is produced by dublab. Sound editing and music are by Matteah Baim. Due to rights reasons music from the original broadcast has been removed. To hear more, please visit dublab.com