MUSIC THE TALENT SCHOOL
Burkina Faso has spawned artists working in various styles, from jazz to rock and hip-hop. The country is structuring dance and making it more professional.
From Issouf Compaoré to Amadou Balaké, Alif Naaba, Bil Aka Kora and groups like the legendary Yeleen and Faso Kombat, Burkina Faso has no dearth of musical talent. It also hosts many festivals, including Jazz à Ouaga, Rock à Ouaga and Waga Hip-Hop, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. And that’s just in the capital. There is also the Dilembu au Gulmu Festival (FESDIG) inspired by the harvest festival in Gourmantché country in Fada N’Gourma, a rural event whose profits benefit village communities, and the highly professional Atypical Nights of Koudougou (NAK) organised by an association called Benebnooma.
Crowds cheer rising stars such as Greg (see p. XIV) and Smarty, a rapper and former member of Yeleen, whenever they appear. Radio and television shows (Karaoke on Ouaga FM, Faso Academy, etc.) are hits and the capital boasts a growing number of quality rehearsal and recording studios, such as Reemdoogo in Gounghin, a cultural quarter par excellence resulting from cooperation between Grenoble and Ouagadougou. Meanwhile, Burkina Faso’s Copyright Office (BBDA) is fiercely fighting pirating.
Performers are eager to pass the torch. Yeleen, now solo, heads the Dernière Trompette (Last Trumpet) training centre with three of his former musicians, who have formed a group called Kalyanga, beautifully illustrating a blend of tradition and modernity tinged with humour, for example in the Poo-pii video. The centre was founded by the father of Samuel Zabsonre, one of the members, who trained children at his home before officials gave him land in 2002. Kalyanga’s members were in the first graduating class of the school, which offers four music classes but includes a traditional curriculum to reassure nervous parents. “Many of them take a dim view of their children devoting their lives to music,” says Samuel. The school charges tuition (30,000 FCFA, around €45, a year) but students pay according to their means and most of the funding comes from musicians’ fees. La Dernière Trompette, a groundbreaking art school, trains 300 to 500 students a year.
By Sarah ELKAÏM