January 22, 2012

Volta power

There have been a number of releases of music from Burkina Faso in the last year or so. You may remember my anticipation at the release of "Ouaga Affair". I have to admit this anticipation turned into frustration after hearing the tragically strangled and muffled sound of this compilation.

Luckily the producers of the CD with the somewhat misleading title "Bambara Mystic Soul" learned from this mistake (at least I hope it was...) and released a far better sounding collection. Personally I was very happy with the highly improved versions of no less than six tracks by my hero Amadou Traoré dit Ballaké. But at the same time I think too many concessions were done to the funk fans, of which you may remember I am not a part.

Just before the end of last year Florent Mazzoleni, who I met in Bamako in October, sent me a copy of his book "Burkina Faso Musiques - Modernes Voltaïques". I have since had some time to actually read it, and I must say I loved it. Not only is it - as far as I know (and please correct me if I am wrong!) - the first book to be written about the modern music of Burkina Faso / Upper Volta, and as such of great value. But also it is a very readable and enjoyable book, with some absolutely fantastic photos. It is very hard to judge the factual information, but it appears to be at least very thorough. As such it clears up a lot of mysteries, for example about Amadou Ballaké's adventures in Guinée.

And if this is not enough, the book comes with a superb CD. Not one track by Amadou Ballaké, and still the best compilation of Voltaïque music to be released to date, if you ask me. I gather Florent shares my enthousiasm for the Volta Jazz song "Djougou Malola". I especially adore the killer track "Noglem Nooma" by the Harmonie Voltaïque. This is one of those ballad to completely melt away. Ay qué rico!

The appearance today of a new podcast (on the left) is no coincidence...

The single I would like to share with you in this post is also mentioned in Florent's book. I don't remember reading about the artist, but that is understandable given the quantity of talent in Upper Volta.

I particularly like the B-side. No doubt another song about the new constitution introduced in 1977 by president Lamizana and the "Renouveau" this implied, but brought with an almost disturbing pathos. By contrast the A-side seems casual, although the melody is catchy.

Nice music, but not of the standard of Florent's CD.

Club Voltaïque du Disque CVD 81

EDIT (February 22, 2012): It appears the book is not always sold with a CD. I did not know this. Florent Mazzoleni has informed me that the CD will be released separately, with a few tracks added, in the near future.
In the meantime I would advise to ask the seller if the CD is included when buying the book.
As to this being the first book on the modern music of Burkina Faso, I have been pointed out that there is in fact another, older, book available titled "Histoire de la Musique Moderne du Burkina Faso - Genèse, évolution et perspectives" by Auguste Ferdinand Kaboret and Oger Kabore (released by Edipap International, Burkina Faso / ISBN 2-914707-31-2). One to look out for.

EDIT:(October 30, 2012): The link has been removed by Mediafire:
"Dear MediaFire User:

MediaFire has received notification under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") that your usage of a file is allegedly infringing on the file creator's copyright protection. The file named Traore Ablo et l'Orchestre du Peuple Melodie Volta (Disques CVD CVD 81, 1977).rar is identified by the key (i76rdv948romkru). As a result of this notice, pursuant to Section 512(c)(1)(C) of the DMCA, we have suspended access to the file.

The reason for suspension was:

    BDM user "lachandra" says: Hello, My Name is Hervé Lemaire , CEO of LeakID, I am legal representative of lemaire which does business under the name Metropolitan, Authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. You are hereby given notice valid under the DMCA copyright infringement notification requirements, 17 U.S.C.512. I am the designated agent of the owner of the copyrights of the images and audio/visual works listed below. I believe that the images and audio/visual works listed at the times cited below are being copied and distributed in a manner that has been not authorized by the owner of the copyrights, its agent or the law. All link below containing pirated versions of lemaire copyrighted works. The information in the notice is accurate, under penalty of perjury. Please remove all linksAs soon as possible, we will check them everyday. Thanks to inform us about y our actions. We appreciate your efforts toward this common goal. Very truly yours, Hervé Lemaire Leakid 15 bis rue de chateaudun 92250 La garenne colombes France 0033698211000 Contact lemaire Expendables

It appears M. Lemaire has taken it upon himself to defend the rights of (even) Burkinabé artists, - or perhaps the whole world? See wikipedia and many other sites.


Anonymous said...

nice album--thanks for sharing the music

reservatory said...

Thanks for this unfunky loveliness, and for the heads up on the book.

Jaime said...

Thank you so much! Volta music is always intriguing.

Anonymous said...

there has been a previous book on volta music

Anonymous said...

thanks for the mention. I just got the book from France; it is a very nice production, but alas no cd, and my copy of the book does not mention an accompanying cd. maybe you could post it at some future time.

wonderful blog,

Anonymous said...

I've ordered and received the book from amazon.ca (canada). It's a great book and I can recommend it, but there is no cd. When the cd becomes available, please let us know so we can order it!