Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Magic System (Cote D'Ivoire Band) - "Premier Gaou ("1er Gaou") Video & Lyrics

Edited by Azizi Powell

Revised March 4, 2018

This is Part I of a two part pancocojams series on the song "1er Gaou" (also known as Premier Gaou") by Cote d Ivorian group Magic System.

Part I presents provides information about the song "Premier Gao" ("1er Gaou") and showcases a video of that song. The Nouchi lyrics for "ier Gaou"' are included in this post along with their English translation.

The Addendum to this post provides information about the Ivorian Creole language "Nouchi", the language that is used for this song. This post also

Click for Part II presents the same video of "1er Gaou" that was showcased in Part I and presents selected comments from that video's YouTube discussion thread.

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Magic Systems for their musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of this video on YouTube.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Magic System - Premiere Gaou

ahnd Uploaded on Dec 17, 2006

music video

" "1er Gaou" is a song by Ivorian Zouglou artists Magic System, taken from the album of the same name. The title literally means "First Fool" in Ivorian slang. The song contains an autobiographical account of lead singer Salif "A'Salfo" Traoré about his ex-girlfriend who tried to hook up with him again when he became famous. Originally recorded in 1999, it became smash indie hit in France three years later. The song meant the breakthrough of little-known Magic System.


"1er Gaou" is based on autobiographical experiences of lead singer Salif "A'Salfo" Traoré. When he was an aspiring, poor artist, his girlfriend left him, but when he became a celebrity with Magic System, she tried to win him back, but Traoré turned her down.[1] The song was first released in 1999 in their native Abidjan and was at first a hit in Côte d'Ivoire and other African countries only. But when it was remixed in 2002 and released in France for Mélina Forthin, Magic System's song became a major indie hit.


The lyrics feature a colorful patois of French-Ivorian slang. This is especially evident in the refrain of "Et on dit premier gaou n'est pas gaou oh / C'est deuxième gaou qui est niata oh ah" ("They say that the first fool is not a fool / It is the second fool who is a fool"), which expresses that his first folly (her leaving him) is not really a folly at all, only accepting her back would be.

Chart performances

The single topped at number four on the French charts and remained in the top 100 for 28 weeks, ten of them in the top ten[2] and sold as many as 300,000 copies in France. …
The single was also a top ten hit in Belgium (Wallonia), peaked at number ten in it ninth week, and appeared in the top 40 for 15 weeks.[4] In Switzerland, the single had a moderate success, peaking at number 30 and staying in the top 100 for nine weeks.[5]"...
No mention is made in this Wikipedia page about how how very popular "1er Goaou" has been and still is throughout Africa, and throughout the French speaking Caribbean, and other parts of the world, especially where [20th century and 21st century] African immigrants live. That popularity is documented by commenters in the YouTube discussion threads of that song. Selected examples of those comments are highlighted in Part II of this pancocojams series.

(Magic System)

C'est dans ma galère que la go
Antou m'a quitté oh ah

Quand j'avais un peu
Matin midi soir
On été ensemble
A la rue Princesse
Aux mille maquis
Santos payait les poulets
L'argent est fini
Antou a changé de côté
Wari ban nan
Elle a changé de copain

Nan guin nan wan, nan guin nan wan
Nan guin nan wan, nan guin nan wan

Dieu merci pour moi je savais chanter un peu
J'ai fait ma cassette oh on me voit à la télé
Matin midi soir c'est moi je chante à la radio
Antou a vu çà elle dit le gaou a percé
Attends je vais partir le couper

Et on dit premier gaou n'est pas gaou oh
C'est deuxième gaou qui est niata oh ah
Et on dit premier gaou n'est pas gaou oh
C'est deuxième gaou qui est niata oh ah

Dimanche matin koko on frappe à ma porte
A ma grande surprise c'est la go Antou je vois
On s embrasse j'ai dit y'a longtemps qu'on c'est plus revu
Elle veut me mentir Elle dit chéri j'avais voyagé
Je suis de retour
Je t'appartiens
Prends-moi cadeau, fais ce que tu veux

{au Refrain}

J'ai dit chéri koko qu'est ce que tu veux manger
Sans même hésiter Elle me dit poulet braisé

J'ai dit chéri koko c'est poulet tu veux manger
Poulet est trop petit çà peut pas te rassasier
C'est caïman braisé, je vais te donner
Kedjenou d'éléphant, tu vas manger

Nan guin nan wan, nan guin nan wan

Elle est fâché Elle dit elle s'en va à la maison
Si elle va à la maison population va me tuer
Je lui ai demandé pardon, elle a accepté
A un moment donné, elle a tout gâté
Elle est quitté dans poulet, elle s'en va dans aloco
Si c'est aloco c'est pas compliqué
C'est plantation de bananes
Tu vas griller
Au lieu de fourchette, ça peut pas bien piquer
C'est avec râteau, tu vas manger oh"


1er GAOU (PREMIER GAOU) [English translation with notes]

"it's when i was down that the gal Antou left me oh ah {x4}

when i had little(money)
morning noon evening
we were together
at the "Rue Princesse" ( famous Abidjan bar)
at the "Mille Maquis" (famous Abidjan bar)
together at the""inaudible" oh (famous abidjan bar)
when the money was gone
Antou changed side
wari bana (means "no more money" in african dialect)
she changed boyfriend

na gnere na gnere wa, na gnere na gnere wah (means you are crazy in african dialect)

thank god for me, i knew how to sing a little
i did my demo tape, people saw me on TV
morning noon evening its me singing on radio
Antou saw that and said the fool made it (GAOU means FOOL in slang)
wait, let me go and take his money (like scam him)

and we say first fool is not a fool
its the second fool who is the real fool
and we say first fool is not a fool
its the second fool who is the real fool
(african verison of "fool me once shame on you,fool me twice shame on me"

sunday morning knock knock someone's knocking at my door
to my great surprise it's the gal Antou i see
jokingly i say its been a while we've seen each other
(wrong translation on your original he says "EN SEMBLANT" not "ON S'EMBRASSE")
she wants to lie to me she says darling i had traveled
i am back
i belong to you
take me as a gift and do what you want with me

{au Refrain}

i say sweet darling what do you want to eat
without hesitation she says barbecued chicken
when we say first fool is not a fool
its the second fool who is the real fool
i say sweet darling, its chicken you want to eat
chicken is too small and wont satisfy you
its barbecued cayman i will give you
"kedjenou" of elephant you are going to eat (kedjenou is an african dish)

na gnere na gnere wah, na gnere na gnere wah

she is upset and says she is going home
if she goes home, horniness is going to kill me
(coagulation means like coagulated sperm for lack of sex)
i ask for her forgiveness and she accepted
then at one point, she messed it all up
she stop asking for chicken and now wants alloco (alloco its an african fried plantain dish)
if its alloco,its not complicated
its a banana plantation
that you are going to fry
instead of a fork
that cant fill you up
its with a rake that you are going to eat
na gnere na gnere wa, na gnere na gnere wah
{au Refrain}

Kader fool oh ah
Blé go fool oh ah
Soro guillaume fool oh ah
Sabine yo so fool oh ah
Angelo fool oh ah
Hotorino fool oh ah
Blé niata oh ah
Dieu fit niata oh ah
Kader niata oh ah
Kader tu m'a niata oh ah
Blé niata oh ah
Michel is a fool oh ah
Emile is a fool oh ah

Honoré fool oh ah
i sAy you dance ah oh ah
look at your stuff oh ah
i say you dance ah oh ah

Nan guin nan wan, nan guin nan wan
Oh youdance ah oh ah

{au Refrain}"

Submitted by blackstar18 on Tue, 06/04/2010 - 06:49

Author's [blackstar18]'s comments:
"i am French but lived in Ivory coast where Magic System comes from and i can see that there are many mistakes on the original French lyrics that you have uploaded. also this song cannot be translated word for words as it would make no sense because most of the words are african slang so i translated into what it really meant instead."


Links to three other English translations and at least one French translation are on that page.

Excerpt #1:
From Nouchi [translated from French to English and given in this post "as is" with no attempt to change the translation to standard English.]

"Nouchi (or Noussi) is a form of slang present in Ivory Coast and West Africa .

The nouchi (or noussi) is a mixture of French and several languages of Cote d'Ivoire , it appeared in the early 1980s 1 . It was originally spoken by young city dwellers who were ill-educated or delinquent, who did not have a good command of the French language . The Nouchi was practiced by them especially near markets, stations, cinemas before being carried in most social strata. The language of the little thugs, the Nouchi became the language of the Ivorian popular comedy, even of the Ivorian music . It is also the language of the "debrouille" in the poor districts of Abidjan . " Nou " in malinké means "the nose", while " chi " means hair. This gives in a word, "hair of nose" therefore "mustache" to designate the villain, to whom everyone wanted to resemble. A " nouchi " is a strong man (notably a Mexican bandit leader of the westerns who is often a mustachio), feared by all and fearful of nothing and nobody. The nouchi was popularized especially by the song Premier gaou of the group Magic System 3 .

The nouchi was born in Côte d'Ivoire , but it is not known who owns the paternity. This language feeds on the many dialects of the country and French . The speakers of this language are called "nouchis".
Nevertheless, the nouchi differs from the familiar language in Côte d'Ivoire. For the familiar language, the sentences will be devoid of their articles, and adverbs like "there" punctuate the end of sentence.
Many terms of the nouchi aim to evoke social phenomena specific to the Ivory Coast...

Construction of sentences
Nouchi is a language that is based on short sentences or additions of terms drawn from the experience of the street, English, French and Ivorian ethnic groups or even those of the West African subregion. However, there are expressions specific to nouchis and ziguéhis (the bad-boys of the Abidjan ghettos)...
Some terms are sometimes used in a pejorative way, such as "gaou", "gnata", "albert" and "brézo". The gaou is the naive person, his state is less serious than that of gnata. The latter presents a difficulty of adaptation. The "albert" or the "brézo" is the one that persists in the maladjustment. The formation of expressions is unlimited and develops according to happy or unhappy events. It is a language in full expansion in Côte d'Ivoire, which inspires and is inspired by popular culture...

Origin of expressions
Strongly based on French, he uses English and Spanish words 4 , inserted by the pupils, with words from almost all the languages ​​spoken in Côte d'Ivoire. However, Malinké and Baoulé 5 , the most widely represented ethnic groups in the markets and popular squares, are highly dominant.

The nouchi also has the particularity to vary according to the environment and evolve very quickly, taking inspiration from current events."...
This page includes a list of Nouchi words.

Excerpt #2:
From "Nouchi as a Distinct Language: The Morphological Evidence" by Hannah Sande

In this paper I argue that Nouchi, a relatively young Ivoirian contact variety, is and should be treated as a full-fledged language distinct from French and its other source languages. Nouchi, an emerging language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire since that late 1970’s (Ayewa 2005), has been treated in the literature as a slang vocabulary or an urban youth dialect of French. Though Nouchi began as a lingua franca among uneducated youth in urban centers, it is now the preferred language of Ivoirians in Abidjan and the surrounding areas of Côte d’Ivoire (Kube-Barth 2009). This paper focuses on morphological properties of Nouchi, which demonstrate that Nouchi is a full-fledged language with a grammar distinct from its source languages...

2. Background of Nouchi
Nouchi is a contact language that emerged on the streets of urban Côte d’Ivoire between the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It began as the lingua franca of uneducated, unemployed youth, though it quickly gained status as the language of Ivoirian identity (Kouadio 2005; Kube 2004; Newell 2009). Abidjan and the other urban areas of Côte d’Ivoire are centers of language contact, home to over 66 different languages. While most of the languages spoken in the area are linked with a local ethnic identity, Nouchi is not specific to a given ethnic group. Due to its ethnic neutrality and daily use, first by urban youth, Nouchi has spread rapidly (Kouadio 2005). It is the language most frequently used in the Ivoirian Zouglou style of music, and it has been promoted online through dictionaries, satirical news sites, and chat rooms.

Though Nouchi began as an urban youth language (Kiessling and Mous 2004), it is now the preferred language of 10-30 year olds in Abidjan, and is commonly spoken by Ivoirains of all ages (Ayewa 2005). This statistic is particularly significant because 66 percent of Abidjan’s population is under 25 years old (Kouadio 2005). Though most children in Abidjan grow up speaking more than one language in the home, Kube-Barth (2009) and Kouadio (2005) call Nouchi the native language of the current generation of urban Ivoirians." ...
According to , the words "Coupé-Décalé" come from the Nouchi language:
"Coupé-Décalé is a type of popular dance music originating from Côte d'Ivoire and the Ivorian diaspora in Paris, France. Drawing heavily from Zouglou and Zouk with African influences, Coupé-Décalé is a very percussive style featuring African samples, deep bass, and repetitive minimalist arrangements.

While Coupé-Décalé is known as Côte d'Ivoire's definitive pop music, it actually began in Paris, created by a group of Ivorian DJs at the Atlantis, an African nightclub in northeast Paris.[1][2] These Djs, known as the 'Jet Set', became popular for their flamboyant style, often showing up at the club with large amounts of cash which they would hand out to audiences on the dance floor. Their aesthetic defined the early sounds of Coupé Décalé, apparent in the genre's name. In Nouchi (Ivorian slang), Coupé means "to cheat" and Décalé means to "run away", so Coupé-Décalé basically means to cheat somebody and run away.[1] The 'somebody' cheated is generally interpreted to mean France or the West/Europe, finding parallels to the idea of "The Man" in American culture. Especially in the beginning, the songs often celebrated those who had used guile to 'make it' abroad."
I added italics added to highlight that sentence.

This concludes Part I of this two part pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. "Zoulou" is the genre of music that the Ivorian band Magic System performs. Here's some information about Zoulou from
    "Zouglou is a dance oriented style of music originated from Côte d'Ivoire during the mid-1990s.[1] It started with students[1] from the University of Abidjan drawing on elements of other styles of music, especially zouk, ragga and soca music.

    Zouglou recounts the various social realities experienced by the Ivorian youth and carries messages, sometimes humorous, sometimes political, or, more often, delivers advice on life. It has since spread elsewhere, including to Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Gabon...

    Popular with the youth, the lyrics are written in local languages and French street slang,[1] and has parallels with the evolution of rap in the West. It uses humor[1] to depict anything going wrong in the society.

    Many popular Ivorian zouglou artists are living (or have lived) in exile due to their political support to the former president Laurent Gbagbo.

    Groups associated with the zouglou style include Magic System (who have become a major act locally and in France, Belgium and Switzerland), Sur-Choc (who appeared on the soundtrack of the 2005 FIFA Street game), Petit Denis, Vieux gazeur, Les potes de la rue, Les Garagistes, Mercenaires, Yode et Siro and Espoir 2000.
    This concept has evolved to inspire new musical genres and dances (Gnakpa, Mapouka, Youssoumba, and more recently the cut-shifted)* promoted by youth."...
    *The music/dance form "Coupé Décalé" is erroneously translated as "cut off" and "cut shifting" on internet sources such as Google translate that use French for their translation of that Nouchi term.