Abidjan’s Ishmael Isaac

One more slice of Ivorian music.

Ishmael Issac had polio as a child and still has to use a walking stick. Before the football match between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, which Ivory Coast won 5-0, Ishmael was one of three main acts who performed to the crowd in Abidjan. (Espoir 2000 and DJ Arafat were the others).

None got the crowd going like Ishmael though. Towards the end of this track, ‘Magno Mako’, which means ‘pity’, he stopped singing and listened to the crowd singing his lyrics back to him. He stood there, one hand on his walking stick, the other waving his microphone above his head.

It was a great moment.


John James, the Beeb’s man in Abidjan, has managed to get a rough translation of the lyrics. It’s sung in Dioula.

“The song speaks about human misery – there’s no jobs for those even with good degrees. It can destroy you, make you talk to yourself in the street. If we’re not careful, there will be lots of madmen. It’s sad, when you see someone speaking alone in the streets. Often you believe it’s a madman, when it’s really his problems that make you lose your head. If we’re not careful a lot of people will go insane.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s