Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tobacco: Cigarette Abana

Habib Koite & Bamada: Cigarette Abana


Lyrically, this little number is a simple morality tale, recounting the story of a boy who is the only one in his circle of friends who doesn't light up. Eventually, in the face of a litany of smoking's benefits - which includes the true fact that a cigarette wakes you up like coffee, and the dubious assertion that with a cigarette in bed, you hardly need a woman - our subject buckles to peer pressure...only to get sick, thus proving the song's anti-smoking message.

Of course, for those of us who don't know french, Cigarette Abana is merely a delightfully bouncy worldbeat hit for Malian star Habib Koite, whose work is as listenable as it is rich in African traditions, instrumentation and melodic sensibility. It originally appeared on Koite's 1995 debut Muso Ko, where it brought him international acclaim and recognition; the afro-cuban arrangement here is a 2001 reworking: no less wonderful, as is the rest of his utterly amazing third album Baro, but perhaps produced with slightly more Western ears in mind.

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