Kotedjuga, is yet another masterful song by the amazing Taal Inc. And Friends. But the song has much more to it than just catchy beats and the groovy guitar melodies. The layers of this song unfold slowly and beautifully, pretty similar to what the song stands for, the layers within us, the masks we wear. Apart from the brilliant, permanent residents of Taal Inc. And Friends town, this one also features a young, dynamic and extremely talented rapper from the streets of Dharavi, MC Artslord a.k.a. Kalaivanan Kannan weaving some rap magic in Tamil, beautifully fusing the beats from West Africa with the words from South India.

The term Kotedjuga stands for a Malinke rhythm from the border region of Guinea and Mali that refers to jesters or clowns who would appear suddenly at a wedding ceremony to deliberately make people laugh and hence ‘disturb’ the proceedings. They would be given a monetary token to leave. This behaviour was culturally accepted; very similar to some ethnic groups in India.

Kotedjuga is to Africa what ‘Behrupiyas’ are to many parts of India, they get their name from the term ‘Bahu-Roop’ meaning many forms in Hindi. These behrupiyas too would dress up as clowns, gods, animals and mythological characters ro entertain/bless the villagers in their ceremonies and much like the Kotedjuga, would also disrupt and disturb the events for attention. 

Talking about disrupting, the piercing lyrics of the rap in the track do just that. They disrupt! They disrupt thinking, They disrupt systems and they make you question, make you wonder what masks you are wearing and when the unmasking happens, you won’t just remove a mask but will end up unmasking hate, pretense and injustice and ego. Speaking of which makes me recall a few words I read in an article on the behrupiyas of India, when asked about why his work is not as flourishing as it used to be, he said, ‘Abhi sab mukhota pehente hain, sab behrupiya hain’. (Everyone wears masks nowadays, everyone is a Behrupiya) or Kotedjuga.

So, What masks are you wearing?

Catch the beautifully composed, stirring and thought provoking track here:

-Aman Joshi
Taal Inc. Drum Circle Facilitator.