When Serge Beynaud takes to the stage, there are a few questions you can’t help but ask. The first have helpfully already been flagged up on his official website: ‘Why the Beynomania? Why has Serge Beynaud become the icon of a generation? Why is he the darling of the ladies?’
The answers to these perhaps lie in the most pressing question of all: is there any other man who can look so smooth when brought on the stage lying on a gilded sedan, carried by four smokin’ men – clothed only in leopard-skin loin cloths – who then proceed to hand him a gold sceptre?
And is there any other man who can do all of that in such a deadpan manner? Is there, I ask you, anything the man can’t carry off?
He’s a genius.
And, as he might say himself, Beynomania is born.
Serge Beynaud first came on to the scene as a producer and, never shy, always fly, adopted the title ‘the model producer’. In 2009, he decided he couldn’t keep his talent hidden, and started singing. He released his first album Seul Dieu (Only God) in 2012. In 2014, his second album Taheli was released including the hit singles Kabableke, Okeninkpin and Loko Loko.
Beynaud has been hailed as the new heir to Coupé Décalé, a type of music from the Côte d’Ivoire which first got started in the early 2000s with Parisian and Ivorian jetsetters like Douk Saga and DJ Jacob. It’s now on its third wave, and Beynaud is riding its crest. His official website states that ‘He makes a coupé décalé more harmonious and more melodious.’ And like a lot of the genre, his music is carefree and the lyrics are easy – he sticks to girls, money, and staying happy. It’s telling to think that the genre was born during the horrors of the Ivorian civil war.
When TRUE Africa interviewed him backstage at the SEA Festival in Togo, he seemed pretty upbeat about the continent. ‘I think the future of Africa is everywhere in Africa because Africa produces a lot of talent.’ Beynaud represents the best of that talent, and I think he knows it.
King Bey, we salute you.
Now that you know about Serge Beynaud and the insane things his troupe are up to in the Côte d’Ivoire, tell us what you think using the hashtag #TRUEAfricaMusic.