For some time now I am slightly disturbed by the lack of interest by the western music 'industry'* in the music of Burkina Faso. And not just because of my hero Amadou Balaké, but certainly also because of deserving bands like the Dafra Star, who are the subject of this post.
The star of Dafra Star is singer Tidiani Coulibaly, who - I am told - was quite a celebrity in the Upper Volta of the 1970s. Coulibaly started Dafra Star in 1975 after having left the famous Volta Jazz orchestra.
A year later, in 1976, his new group won first prize in the national Festival of Modern Music, with the song which is featured on the A-side of this lp. The song, which on the album is simple called "Recital", is another example of a track in the "Regard Sur Le Passé" style 'invented' and/or made famous by Bembeya Jazz. The horn section and the whole sound of this track remind me strongly of Super Biton from Ségou, but this is not surprising: the songs were recorded at Radio Mali by Boubacar Traoré (who also recorded Biton, - and many many many others).
The link to Mali and Biton does not end there. The guitarist on the left of Tidiani Coulibaly (in the photo) is none other than Zoumana Diarra, who in the 1980s went on to play with Super Biton, Rail Band and Super Djata, and who also performed on that great cassette of Coumba Sidibé. Zou has been living in the Netherlands for the last twenty years.
Side two contains five great songs which others probably would describe as "influenced by Cuban music" or - worse still - "Afro funk". I prefer "authentically voltaique" - but certainly with bambara influences.
If you, like me, are interested in the music of Burkina Faso (or Upper Volta), I would like to draw your attention to a release on the Savannaphone label called "Ouaga Affair". I have yet to hear this collection, but it looks very promising.....
DS LP 01
*and I realise that we are dealing with a dwindling, if not moribund phenomenon...
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