Conscripted To Be Private Bandleader For Central Africa’s Notorious Dictator-Emperor

Back in the late 1960s, Charlie Perrière was a struggling young musician in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, and about to leave for Congo when he was personally summoned by President Jean-Bédel Bokassa — the one who later crowned himself Emperor (just like his hero, Napoleon) and fed prisoners to crocodiles and lions. Bokassa told Perrière not to emigrate and subsequently drafted him to lead the president’s personal orchestra. Not only did Perrière survive, he became famous enough that, more than 40 years later, young rebels pillaging the capital spared his house. – Narratively

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