Salif Traoré (A’salfo)

© Didier D. Daarwin
Mr. Salif Traoré (A’salfo), UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

A’Salfo, whose real name is Salif Traoré, was born in 1979 in Abidjan (Ivory Coast).   He is the lead singer of the band Magic System. When he was in secondary school, a period which corresponds to the social contestation of the Ivorian youth who felt abandoned given the economic crisis that hit the world and especially the Ivory Coast, a new way of expression developed in universities’ campuses in Abidjan. This new movement called Zouglou denounces the pains of the Ivorian society and is also the mirror of the youth’s despair given that the future prospects were almost inexistent. A’Salfo’s first experiences of Zouglou took place in the 90’s with a small band called Fabio Choc, which he created ; they used to perform at funerals, weddings and baptisms. A year later, he joins the group Magic System, becomes the lead singer and writes the lyrics of almost every song. From 1996, the four magicians perform during local events. At the end of the first semester of 2000, his success leads his band to the most prestigious stages of the world, in France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and China.  

A’Salfo is the pioneer of the Festival des Musiques Urbaines d’Anoumabo (FEMUA) which is the first international musical festival in the Ivory Coast. It gathers on a period of three days the best artists in the world and is intended to address the more disadvantaged sections of the population. Moreover, he also initiated several social actions in Ivory Coast, in Africa and worldwide. In the first album called Toutè Kalé, he composed the song “L’eau va manquer” to raise awareness of the consequences our actions and behaviour have on the climate change. In 2001, he was made Knight of the Ivorian Order of Merit, and then Officer in 2007.  A’Salfo is devoted to the process of reconciliation in Ivory Coast, by helping with the return of the media professionals and artistic exiles. He was named cultural ambassador for the reconciliation in Ivory Coast by the President of the Ivory Coast.

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