Zouglou music traces its inception to the tumultuous 1990s in Côte d'Ivoire (The Ivory Coast) and was used in part to deliver the message of demonstrating students “upset with living conditions”1 on the university campuses. While Zouglou music is composed and performed with high energy and rapid tempo percussion primarily for dancing the lyrics are often used to deliver commentary and criticism of political and social conditions that exist in the country. With increased political conflict in the Ivory Coast over the last decade, Zouglou Music has remained a vehicle for delivering socio-political commentary with ever increasing diverging messages including “compilations that have been termed patriotic albums.”2 K-Bass’ lyrics tend to focus on what is right in the world resulting in a positive and uplifting message. Popular Zouglou artist include Magic System, Les Garagistes, Mercenaires, Yode et Siro and Espoir 2000.
Popular African music, sometimes generalized as “Afropop” is as diverse and varied as traditional African music itself. Popular African musicians have blended traditional styles with a wide variety of western genres. K-Bass composes his songs with an eclectic mix of traditional African music styles along with rock, Jazz and rhythm and blues.
Originating in Jamaica, reggae music quickly spread to the continent of Africa. In 1980 Bob Marley gave a concert in Zimbabwe which was considered by many as the introduction of reggae music to the African continent. “There is a difference in African-style reggae,” said K-Bass. “It takes place in the rhythm of ‘the bubble’ played by the keyboard and rhythm guitar. If you are used to playing Jamaican-style reggae it can be difficult to change. My band, FM (Farafina Musiki), has worked hard to perfect the sound I want.” Many popular African musicians have adopted the Reggae sound including Alpha Blondy and Tiken Jah Fakoly both from Côte d'Ivoire (The Ivory Coast).
In K-Bass’ native language of Bambara, the word Djembe translate to “gather in peace; "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace". Djembe is the name of a skinned cover drum that is played with bare hands and is tuned with ropes which stretch down its side. Djembe drum ensembles bring people together and creates an energetic rhythm that encourages the audience to participate by dancing, singing and clapping.