Burkina Faso

Country Overview
Burkina Faso is by far not as famous for its music as neighbouring Mali. Yet, the cultural diversity and the talents should be able to foster a thriving music scene. The lack of success can probably be explained by the fact that, over decades, the government has not been able to promote the creation of a music industry as much as in Mali or Guinea. Only after 1983, artists were promoted during the yearly Semaine Nationale de la Culture. Upper Volta, as the country was known until August 3, 1984, has known a number of military putches and there was no stable environment for the development of arts. In addition, imported music, be it Malian music or music from Congo or Côte d'Ivoire was fairly predominant on the music market.

• The Nestors of Voltaique Music
Obviously, and in spite of this lack of support, a fair number of artists and bands have been able to record over the years. One of the most famous is Amadou Balaké who participated much later in Africando. Other names from the early years were Georges Ouedraogo, Mangue Konde & le Super Mandé, Orchestre Volta Jazz, Orchestre Harmonie Voltaïque, Orchestre C.V.D., Tidiani Coulibaly & Les Dafra Stars, Sandwidi Pierre and Simporé Maurice.

• A New Generation
The 1980s and 1990s saw the arrival of a younger generation. There is a large variation in style, from zouk and reggae via mandingo-inspired music to rhythms from Burkina's regions, such as warba. Idak Bassave, Amity Meria, Nick Domby, Bil Aka Kora, Zedess and Solo Dja Kabako are the main exponents of this new generation.

• Traditional Music
In traditional music, however, Burkina Faso is the place to be. This goes from percussion (Adama Dramé) via balafon music (Saramaya, Les Freres Coulibaly) to various traditional groups for music and dance such as Farafina, Djiguiya and le Troupe Saaba. There is also the traditionally inspired world music of Gabin Dabiré, who has been based in Italy for many years.

• Urban Music Styles
Finally, there is quite an active hip hop scene in Burkina, with prominent outfits being Yeleen, Sofaa, Kouma Kan, Clepto-Gang and many others.

Burkinabe flag Official name:
Burkina Faso

map Burkina Faso
West Africa
Capital: Ouagadougou

Official language: French

Main ethnic groups:
More than 60, main groups are Mossi (near to half of the population), Gourmantché, Fulani, Dioula, and Bissa

Flags courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.


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