RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – African reggae artist Alpha Blondy returns to Rio de Janeiro on Friday, May 22nd to launch his nineteenth album, Positive Energy, live at Circo Voador in Lapa. The show will be the fourth stop on his current tour of Brazil, he began in São Paulo on May 14th, then performed in Belo Horizonte on the 15th and will play in Porto Alegre on the 21st.
With hit songs that include “Jerusalem,” “Cocody Rock,” “Sébé Allah Y’é”, “Rendez Vous“, and “Brigadier Sabari,” Alpha Blondy is known for combining social and political lyrics and activism with a positive vibe and the sounds of reggae. He has been referred to as the “Bob Marley of Africa” and the “The African Rasta.”
Alpha Blondy was born, Seydou Koné in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in 1953. While his love of music began early, forming a band in high school, his focus at that time was on learning English, the study of which lead him to Liberia and then to the United States, where he majored in English at Hunter College, in New York City.
Attending live reggae shows in the city and befriending musicians of the genre, Koné found his calling. Upon his return to the Ivory Coast, he began working as a musician in earnest under the name Alpha Blondy.
He first rose to prominence as a reggae singer with the release and success of his single “Brigadier Sabari,” and would go on to work with The Wailers, Bob Marley’s backing band. Together, they produced the singles “Cocody Rock” and “Jerusalem” in Jamaica, in 1984 and 1986, respectively.
During the decades that followed, Blondy released multiple albums and became well known for creating a unique form of reggae, mixing cellos and violins, among other sounds, with the more traditional instruments used in the genre. He is considered an important influence to many modern African reggae musicians.
British singer and instrumentalist Mark Kelly has been opening the shows and will do so again on Friday, May 22nd in Rio. Additionally, Dub Ataque, known for their parties in Rio, and DJ Calbuque Motoka, known for his Jungle and Drum And Bass sets, will join Alpha Blondy on the stage in Circo Voador and will close the night.