It is with great sadness that WORT announces that DJ Captain Juju of Tropical Rhythms, aka Pierre-Claver Goudjo Gbedey, has passed away at age 77. Besides his role as a WORT program host, local concert promoter, and restaurateur he also owned and operated the African boutique Vision d’Afrique.
“Pierre Gbedey truly brought the world of African music to WORT,” said Norman Stockwell, former WORT operations coordinator and publisher of The Progressive magazine. “As longtime host of the Saturday afternoon music program Tropical Rhythms – Part Two (a show he briefly re-named Baobab Beat) Pierre was always joyful and welcoming in sharing his knowledge and passion for the music. But he was also a producer of live shows and he brought many African bands to Madison in the late 80s and early 90s, introducing audiences to artists and styles that were unknown here in the Midwest. His friendly face around town, or at the annual Africa Fest that he helped support, or for a time, at his restaurant Chez Pierre on Willy Street was always a welcome sight. He will be missed.”
DJ F.R.P said, “I had a great experience as an engineering intern watching and learning from both the late greats Rick Murphy (Tropical Riddims Part I) and Captain Juju (Tropical Riddims Part II). Their work in the “I-trol” tower was an inspiration and having them as mentors was the reason I’m carrying the torch. The Tropical Riddims Family cookouts were epic! Dem boyz could cook!”
WORT Music Director Sybil Augustine remembers Pierre as a very knowledgeable and stylish ambassador for African American culture in Madison. “His distinctive tastes in DJ music and touring artists as well as traditional cuisine and art forms helped shape WORT and the community as a whole. At its peak Chez Pierre’s was known as a one of a kind venue on the hip, cutting edge of the international dance scene, with late night parties featuring a wild mix of adventurous DJs and exuberant dancing that transcended borders and generations.”
Gbedey was well know in Madison beyond his role as DJ Captain Juju. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Soccer Hall of Fame for his work as coach and player with the Dynamos soccer team. He was a founding member and past president of the African Association of Madison, and a founding member and president of the Togolese Association in Madison.
May his memory be a blessing.