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How The Ivorian Megahit '1er Gaou' Transcended Borders & Inspired A Generation

The words ‘iconic’, ‘legendary’ and ‘culture-shaping’ are frequently used when describing the songs that have soundtracked our lives, be it a heartbreak anthem or hip-shaking club hit. However, arguably no song amongst Africans and across the diaspora has become as significant in modern music folklore as Magic System’s ‘1er [Premier] Gaou’.

The syncopated drum beats that prelude the song’s instantly recognisable drop has become a sure fire way to get the dancefloor filled in clubs, weddings and hall parties alike. ‘1er Gaou’ serves as the catalyst for hip-swaying, money-spraying and assumed positions across the floor – aunties with handkerchiefs to front, Ivorians swaying with nostalgia to left – filling the air with its distinctly Francophone lyrics, diligently mumbled by crowds as a fool proof marker of the gathering’s enjoyment level.