Singer of DJ Bobo’s hits, Lori Glori settles scores in a musical – rts.ch

Singer of DJ Bobo’s hits, Lori Glori settles scores in a musical – rts.ch
Singer of DJ Bobo’s hits, Lori Glori settles scores in a musical – rts.ch

At the Schauspielhaus in Zurich until May 15, “Last Night a DJ Took My Life” denounces the practices of show business and Swiss Eurodance superstar DJ Bobo. The musical is led by American soul singer Lori Glori whose voice appears on most of DJ Bobo’s hits.

Her name is Lori Glori. This artist name more or less brought him luck. Lori is somewhat of an unknown. These days, in Zurich, on the Schauspielhaus stage until May 15, 2024, the singer is claiming her share of glory in a musical comedy called “Last Night a DJ Took My Life”.

If you frequented the clubs in the 1980s, you will no doubt recognize the title of the show as an allusion to Indeep’s hit, “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”. A pastiche full of acid irony. When the Zurich temple of serious theater launches into pop music, it is not just to entertain the crowds, it also intends to denounce an injustice. Lori Glori is having a hard time and Joana Tischkau, a German director from the breakdance scene, intends to return her honor with her own weapons: Glori’s voice.

On the concrete stage, the costumes recall the aesthetic and funny daring of the Eurovision contest. At the back of the stage, a giant, cracked CD serves as a projection screen or television show podium.

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From gospel to techno

“Last Night a DJ Took My Life” unfolds in dances, sketches and songs the biography of Lori, née Ham, on the San Francisco Bay. The Ham Sisters began in the church pews singing gospel, almost an obligatory step for any future African-American soul or R’n’B singer. When she wants to leave the church for a secular repertoire, Lori renames herself Glori. Being called Jambon (Ham) is indeed not the most glamorous name to triumph in these disco years.

Lori Glori joined percussionist Bill Summers’ Summers Heat and appeared on the cult black TV show Soul Train. During a European tour, she dropped everything to launch a solo career in Germany. Funny choice, you might say. This is because Germany is also the homeland of Boney M. and Giorgio Moroder, now the beating heart of dance and techno.

Lori Glori puts her warm and expressive voice on a significant number of house, garage, eurodance and techno hits. An assembly line job with most often, but not always, his name on the record cover. One day, she meets a producer and musician from Aargau.

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The inglorious backstage of eurodance showbiz

This Mr. DJ willingly claims his side bunzli, a little stuck, ordinary and provincial. He is a poor rapper, a passable dancer, a provincial DJ certainly, but a producer with formidable commercial sense. Lori Glori gives him her voice. On the stage of “Last Night a DJ Took My Life”, Mr. DJ wears the features of Bozo the clown, then the sinister Joker from Batman.

In the show, his name is never spoken, but the story is transparent. Everyone recognizes Monsieur DJ as the superstar of Swiss pop, DJ Bobo, the king of Eurodance, the man with smooth, joyful, positive and catchy hits, ex-Eurovision candidate with an improbable vampire song . If “Last Night a DJ Took My Life” is progressing hidden, it is because between the American singer and the leaping Aargauian, there is litigation and grounds for trial. The musical reveals behind the scenes of Eurodance showbiz and it’s not glorious.

Plagiarism and no rights

DJ Bobo began his career by plagiarizing someone else’s song. It cost him a lost case: not a big deal considering this first hit. To give an advantageous soulful color to his next compositions, he recorded singers, first Emel, then Lori Glori, and arranged so that these golden voices did not benefit from the slightest performing rights. Zurich resident Emel settled the case in court for an unknown amount. Lori Glori was not so lucky.

Today, DJ Bobo’s shows continue to tour the planet. On stage, the music plays in playback, a matter of stage efficiency, and it is Nancy, DJ Bobo’s wife, a very white blonde, who pretends to sing the choruses while dancing. Tour after tour, the voices of Emel and Lori Glori have traveled the world without their knowledge, singing “Take Control”, “Freedom”, “Love Is All Around” and other “Pray”. Until DJ Bobo re-recorded his hits in new versions.

Producer and predator

At the Schauspielhaus in Zurich, they call a spade a spade and “Last Night a DJ Took My Life” takes no gloves off when it comes to interpreting this story. There is talk of cultural appropriation to the detriment of African-American singers, of predation by white supremacist male producers only interested in cash. A story as old as the Minstrels Shows, these jazz shows by white artists dressed in shoe polish during the era of southern segregation.

On the German side, the press did not fail to relay the accusations made by Lori Glori and the musical by Joana Tischkau. From his beautiful villa with swimming pool in Zurich’s Goldene Küste, DJ Bobo wallows in silence. At the Schauspielhaus, Lori Glori and her troupe made up of hip-hop artists and members of the Schauspielhaus Theater Ensemble sell out every evening.

For its part, the joyful troupe of DJ Bobo is preparing to once again fill arenas and stadiums around the world with their big show “EVOLUT3ON”. Upcoming dates in August: Sao Paulo, Santiago, Lima, Warsaw, Bratislava, Sofia, etc. “The show must go on”, as professionals in the profession say.

Thierry Sartoretti/olhor

“Last Night a DJ Took My Life”, Schauspielhaus, Zurich, until May 15, 2024.

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