Laurent (at left) is one of the two main songwriters and central figures in the Zieti story. All of Zieti’s songs are co-written by him and Narcisse, the lead singer. While it has been relatively easy to reach Narcisse on his cellphone in Abidjan, Laurent has been living for years in a campement in the Western part of Cote d’Ivoire.
Sadly, this region was one of the hardest hit by recent violence during Cote d’Ivoire’s recent struggles. Mass graves were discovered near Djuekoue, which is the closest town to Laurent’s campement. There are no landlines or cell phones where he lives, so it has been impossible even to get word of Laurent’s condition for months and months. We hoped for the best, but feared the worst.
However! Narcisse recently commissioned a mutual friend to travel to the region and find out what he can about Laurent. The good news, great news in fact, and a huge sigh of relief from everyone who knows him, is that Laurent is alive and tending to his family’s farms outside of Djuekoue.
The bad news is that several family members, including Laurent, were severely burned in a slash-and-burn field management gone bad this summer. Laurent reportedly lost hair and was burned on his shoulders and head, but survived and is on the mend. He received word that Zieti is back on track, and was elated with the news.
Our hope is that once we’ve established Zieti and our live music initiatives on the local scene, Laurent will be able to return to a life through music with his brother-in-arms Narcisse.