Saturday, January 26, 2008


Born in the suburbs of Abidjan around 1990, Polihet is just one of a dizzying array of styles that have made that city a musical hotbed to rival Kinshasa, Dakar and Lagos. Ziglibithy, Zouglou, Zoblazo. . . all have made their mark, only to be abandoned as fickle Ivoiriens moved on to the next craze. All of these styles are characterized by criss-crossing polyrythms
and frantic, shouted vocals. About Polihet, Nick Deen over at Natari said it best: ". . . I'd love to actually see the dancing that goes with this music in action as I reckon you'd need three pairs of legs just to keep one foot on the ground!"

Gnaore Djimi was Polihet's foremost practitioner, and in response to a request from a reader over at VOA's African Music Treasures, here are some tracks by him. I've been unable to find out anything about Gnaore Djimi, and Pollihet itself seems to have faded away. Our first selection is the title tune from Djimi's 1991 cassette release Azigbo (EMI EO 241191-4):

Gnaore Djimi - Azigbo

Also from 1991, here's the opening track from Nouveau Deux (EMI 012002-4):

Gnaore Djimi et le Polihet "Plus" - Nouveau Deux

Finally, here's a scorcher from 1992's Polihet Innovation '93 (EMI EO 301192-4):

Gnaore Djimi - Zikebou

Gnaore Djimi was by no means Polihet's only representative. Olives Guede was apparently a Gnaore Djimi protegé who had a style that was maybe a bit more straightforward, with a tad less emphasis on the polyrythms and a bit more guitar. Here's the title track from 1991's Solidarite (EMI EO 15491.4):

Olives Guede et le Polihet "Plus" - Solidarite

Click on the pictures to enlarge.


Rico Le Schwartz said...

John : Thank you so much for publishing music of the great Gnaore Djimi. Actually, I posted a comment on VOA's new african music blog that you indicated a couple of weeks ago, to ask him for some of Djimi's music, and you're the one do it. Congratulations for all the music you let us discover on your blog.

Rico Le Schwartz said...

Second post : I was so happy to get Djimi's music that I wrote my 1st post before reading that you published this as an answer to my request on VOA's blog. So I thank you even more. I confirm, as qoted from Natari, you ought to see the Bete dance on Polihet or other kind of their traditionnal rythms like Digba, from which Polihet (as well as Ziglibithy) originates. I hope to start soon a music blog on Ivoirian music with my Bete friend (herself a Bete musician) and will let you know.

John B. said...


An Ivoirian music blog? That would be great!

Mäikel von Dekker said...


They drive faster and faster!!!