b. Touba, Côte d’Ivoire. Like her fellow Ivoirean vocalist Alpha Blondy, Bell looked overseas for much of her inspiration. While Blondy turned to Jamaican reggae, Bell found a stylistic home in the faster and more effervescent rhythms of the Francophone Caribbean. Her 1984 debut album, Amio, embraced funk, disco and ballads. Two years later the follow-up, If You Came To Go, moved towards the Antilles. One track, ‘Emotion’, was written by Jacob Desarieux of the Antillean band Kassav, who also arranged ‘Chogologo’. Despite a strong international repertoire - she speaks French but sings in English - Bell remains largely unknown outside of the Caribbean. In 1988 she contributed to an album by Eboa Lottin that also featured James Brown as a guest.
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