Kalita Records proudly announces their first release, the three choice cuts from NST Cophie’s’ 1980 Ivory Coast disco LP ‘Mon’Da Center’!
Straight out of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, NST Cophie’s 1980 LP ‘Mon’Da Center’ is an album that has long been sought-after by diggers and DJs alike, looking to find those killer tracks that no one else knows or can get their hands on. Often reaching eye-watering prices, Ernest Koffi’s Ivorian disco cuts have long been out of reach for music lovers and rare groove collectors across the globe – until now!
Born in 1955 in Dimbokro, south-central Ivory Coast, NST Cophie’s (Ernest Koffi) grew up surrounded by music. Influenced both by his family – his grandmother and father were both musicians and his half-brother Alpha Blondy has himself had a successful musical career – and by American jazz musicians such as Chick Corea and Miles Davis, Ernest quickly realised that the only career he wanted was to be a musician himself. As he reminisces, ‘everyone was a musician. Music was in the blood’. It seems only natural therefore that he decided to start his first band with fellow Ivorian musician Desire Gadeau in 1968, followed by another outfit, ‘The Husband Mackers’ in 1970.
By the mid-decade, the bright lights of Paris were calling and in 1976 he moved to France to perform as part of Bozambo, a new jazz-rock band with Desire Gadeau, Augustinian Dahoué, Theophilus Mell, Maxim Yao, Dom Nanock and George Sissoko. Four years later, having played with other well-known bands such as N’Bamina, Osibisa, and with numerous artists including Jimmy Hyacinthe, Papa Wemba and Ernesto Djédjé, NST Cophie’s released his first solo album ‘Mon’Da Center’ in 1980. Recorded at Studio Caroline in Paris’s 20th sector over the space of one week, this rare self-funded private press album includes the three choice cuts that Kalita Records are proud to offer to the world once again.
Pretty much unknown except to the most hardened of diggers, ‘Bian Kou’ is guaranteed to set any dance floor alight, with a hypnotic Afro-disco groove, killer drums by famed Ivorian drummer Paco Sery, and twinned with what could only be described as angelic female vocals by Génie Helo, Cathy Loba, Louise Nbapé, Marie Grande and Therese Brune. The song has one aim, which is to get people dancing. Singing in the Ivorian dialect of Baoulé, the song recounts a tale of the head of a family passing on instructions to his eldest son in the last moments before his death. Our second offering, ‘E Clôlo’, has a similar focus, with the female vocals and the trumpet of Maurice Elder both standing out in this infectious disco track and leading the audience into frenzy. The chorus calls on the audience to join them in travelling home to Africa, to be in harmony with their motherland and cultural essence. Last but not least, the seven-minute long ‘Mioukouna’ is a great example of what Ernest calls ‘Mr Zogoda dance’, a brilliant mix of Afro-funk and highlife, with the bassline of Emil Alibo providing the track’s undercarriage.
In sum, Ernest states that his mission is “to have my music in everyones’ minds because of the sacrifice that I made to provide the best quality. I just want to be recognized by those who want to share the emotion of life… My mission is to stay in my fans’ hearts and to connect with them the best I can through my music by expressing our life experience. My belief is that musical sensitivity brings reality through life.”