Alpha Blondy is well and back in Montreal for two nights at the Metropolis next week (Oct.19th – 20th, 2004 ). I met with Alpha at his hotel this afternoon and enjoyed some refreshing conversation with a man who is a legend in his own time. Here is what he had to say.
Welcome back to Montreal Alpha, how are you feeling?
I'm all right. I'm o.k. I am happy to be here.
How is your leg? We heard you had broken a bone this summer, the reason you cancelled your July shows in Montreal.
This is true and I am still in recovery. I am in a process of recommunication with my leg; it's like learning to walk all over again.
How did you break your leg?
It happened after a show in Paris as I was leaving the stage. The stairs were wet and I just slipped off of them. It was a very serious accident for which I had surgery, take a look at this scar. I still have a long road of recovery.
So I guess we shouldn't expect to see you dancing up a storm at Metropolis next week.
I am still taking baby steps but I do what I can. I am lucky that I am still able, things could have been worse.
Some say there is a lesson in everything we experience. Do you feel this accident has taught you something new?
The whole experience has been humbling; it has brought me through so many of my emotions. I felt a lot of anger at myself for making such a careless mistake. Sometimes I think the message here is that I needed a break and that I what I got, literally.
Montreal is happy to have you back.
I love Montreal, when I had my accident I was most upset about missing my shows here. As an African, I especially like the summers here. If you ask me, today feels like winter.
How is life in Abidjan now?
Things are hot in many ways. Ivory Coast sits in a climate of no peace yet no war. The country is working towards an election in 2005 and all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the people are not feeling very optimistic and are preparing for the worst.
This summer you sent a beautiful message to Montreal about peace and unity for all. You said "music be the magic that binds us all together without conflict, without hate". Yours is music that has this power. What can your fans expect in the near future from you?
I'm working on an album to come out in 2005, with the forever hope that my message will be heard. It is the world leaders who most need to listen, if only they could put their businesses aside long enough to feel the magic and touch upon some simple wisdom. The high powers seem to be ruled by money more than wisdom; that is politricks.
Speaking of politricks, you are heading into the U.S. at the peak of election season. What do you think of that?
What fun, I can watch the drama unfold. Who do you think will win?
Unfortunately I fear that Bush will win which is too bad because America is in desperate need of change. What do you expect the outcome to be?
It could still go either way but I sure wish that Kerry wins. He is the only one who could stop this ridiculous war in Iraq. Bush is too attached to winning the war, pulling out would be a big defeat for him.
How's your studio in Abidjan?
It is no more; I think I had dreams that were bigger than reality. I invested a lot of time and money into this project but it really never took off. This is all part of my learning experience in life. I am busy with another project that I am enjoying more. I have a restaurant in Abidjan, with a night club on the top floor. It is a great place for me, it suits my lifestyle best.
What kind of restaurant do you have? Does it cater more for tourists or is it a part of the local scene?
My restaurant is called Café de Versailles and without being modest, I will say that it is the best restaurant in Abidjan. Everybody enjoys our place, we serve a mix of European and African foods and we are open 24 hours a day. All people love to socialize and Café de Versailles is the place to do so in Abidjan.
Speaking of food and restaurants, what do you like to eat when you are in Montreal?
Every time I come to Montreal I love to eat Chinese food. I am into Jamaican food, curry goat is nice. I like Indian food as long as it is good and spicy. All this talk is making me hungry, let's see if we can order some Chinese food.
The last time we met, I asked you what makes you happy. You answered that love is the key to happiness. Are you happy? Do you have love?
I have a beautiful wife, she is from Korea. Everything centers on love, not only our relationships, even our material possessions. Love is at the root of all creation, it is the reason for our existence. We are fully surrounded by love; we carry it within ourselves and in all our experiences. When we are open to love we are free to see the beautiful colors or this life.
Tell me about your family, your kids.
When I look at my kids, I see them as a creation of the love my wife and I share. We have been together for 15 years and she is my partner. At times I feel like we just know each other so well and compliment each others lives so completely. We try to accept each other in our full realities and whenever we forget, our children are there to remind us of our eternal connection. My family goal is to teach my children to love and to allow love to carry them wherever they choose to go. I am so proud of my children, they are love.