The Blue Room - Nashville, TN
May 6, 2023
Tickets: $15 advanced / $18 day of show
Please note that all ticket sales will be available at will-call the night of the show. Please be prepared with your email ticket confirmation, your name, and some form of identification to show the door person.
*All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges will be permitted*
Peter One’s journey as a musician from Cote d’Ivoire to Nashville, Tennessee to today is no different. His life contains its own series of arrivals—again, literal and metaphorical—and each one more surprising than the next. There is a resolutely American bent to the shape of Peter’s story, which reaches beyond even the musical strains and stylings of folk and country that he has mixed together and expertly mastered—and for which he is best known. His story is, in many ways, indistinguishable from the most classic, inspirational immigrant narratives where folks, often against the odds, carve out a place for themselves and their families in a new land, thereby remaking both in the process.Born Pierre-Evrard Tra—a first and most joyful arrival—Peter One grew up in Bonoua, a small town in southeastern Cote d’Ivoireabout thirty miles from Abidjan, the economic center of the nation. There was only one radio station in Bonoua, though it played all kinds of music--enough to bend Peter’s young ears towards the American country and folk that informs his music to this day. Havingfirst learned guitar at the age of seventeen, Peter developed stylistic affinities for African troubadours like Benin’s G.G. Vickey and the Cameroonian Eboa Lotin, which he began to blend with the chordal and harmonic lushness of some of his American favorites,Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Hearing Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” for the first time was transformative for Peter: “That song, it sounded to me like something that I’d heard already, something that I love already,you know?The melodies, the harmonies in the vocals, in the guitar, and the simplicity of the music. Not too many instruments, not too many electronics: it was music the way I want music to be.”And it would be Peter’s arrival at the University of Abidjan that would eventually lead to him playing stadium-sized crowds in Coted’Ivoire and across theAfrican continent. Peter’s dormitory mate introduced him to another folk music-lover (with connections at the national TV station) known as Jess Sah Bi, which—after a few broadcast TV performances—led to the recording of their first album,The Garden NeedsIts Flowers, in 1985. To differentiate themselves from what was typically seen in Cote d’Ivoire, Peter and Jess consciously imagined their album in the Southwestern American style: with some song titles in English, and the cover design—itscolors and Wild-West-inflected fonts—were more reminiscent of American folk productions of the 1970s and early 1980s, while the music itself infused those expansive, scenic sensibilities at points with Ivorian village songs and 1980s Afro-pop flourishes. They sang in French, English, and Gouro, which broadened their appeal. The album ensured the duo’s arrival as stars to their region of greaterWest Africa, which saw them tour not only the cities of Abidjan and Bouaké, but also neighboring countries like Togo, Benin,Liberia,and Burkina Faso. They played for presidents and first ladies, and their song, “African Chant” was used by the BBC to soundtrackNelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990.