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Magic System: the Ivoirian revelation
Asalfo, Goudé, Tino and Manadja knew each other at school and during sports competitions. These four young people originating from the Marcory district in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, decided to form in 1996, Magic System, a band of musical artists. They left the troubled and upset neighbourhoods of the popular Ivoirian capital. This incredible melting pot brought a lot of various and wealthy influences for their formation.
First, the 4 young boys distinguished themselves thanks to the liveliness in their local shows. This success made them confident and they started a professional career. Their goal and ambition, then, was to work their way essentially into the spotlight of the scene.
Christened Magic System released its first album in 1997, at the end of the year. They composed their songs with the help of Claude Bassolet. This musician is a well-known talent scout who was used to perform the scene of Abidjan. Claude Bassolet decided to give a chance to Magic System. “Momo”, a song on the first track of the album “Papitou” became a hit. This song was played on the airwaves all around the country. Their tunes with traditional trends, was tinged with synthesizers. This hit put in light the magnificent voice of the singer Asalfo. Consequently, “Momo” attracted music lovers and disc jokeys were used to play it regularly for the joy of the audience.
The first albums
After a dry period, Magic System, got a commercial success. In 1999, Magic Studio recorded in the Soft Studio the first tracks of their album “1er Gaou”. This blockbuster album is composed of eight songs concerning issues inspired by the social-economic background of the group. The warm voice of Asalfo interpreted simple stories like “1er Gaou”, chronicle of a lover. This lover refused to play the “gnata” for his girlfriend, really sensitive about the size of his wallet. Another song entitled “Complainte” denounced the more and more common paedophile practices. The texts in “Amoulanga” concerned the juvenile delinquency and the qualities and virtues of tradition. The group did not have many financial ressources, they had to cross different steps to contact a lot of distribution companies. These societies were not really hurried to release the album. After a long hesitation, the label Showbiz approved to sign with them in autumn 1999. The album got immediately a spectacular result. 40,000 cassettes were sold within two weeks. The single “1er Gaou” became their first commercial success.
The Magic System phenomenon started when all the capitals and many urban centres in Africa sought them out. Their hit became even successful in Tunisian night-clubs. Love is treated with humour and a scarce enthusiasm in their songs. The sales progression increased, and the album was distributed in France, actually, the banks of the Seine were reached. The FNAC stores named the group as the best seller considering the African Music category. 30,000 CDs were sold. This feat by a young African group on the French market dated back to the middle of the Eighties. This period was declared as the heart of the golden age of African music in the French nation.
In June 2001, a new album was announced coming out on JPS Productions, a great second success. This Gaou wave, “1er Gaou” was mixed by the famous French DJ Bob Sinclair, and launched the Gaou saga. In fact “1er Gaou” was the first African hit since the great Mory Kante‘s“Yeke Yeke”. In December 2002, Magic System celebrated this success in Olympia gathering newly-converted “Gaou-philes” flocked to attend their performance.
2003 was the year of the reissue of “Poisson d’Avril”, incredible success in Paris. In December 2005, Magic System made a number of concerts in Burkina Faso, Bobo Dioulasso and Ouagadougou. In 2008, the Magic System dance machine created a brand-new hit, “Zouglou Dance”, becoming song of the summer on French charts. In 2009, the band made an apparition on a French compilation “Raï n’b fever” with the raï singer, Khaled, for the hit “Même pas fatigue”. “Touté Kalé” in 2011 and “Africainement Vôtre” in 2014 were the next albums of the band. The last one revealed the great hit “Magic in the Air” which confirmed the incredible success and talent of the Ivoirian band.