"Music is a memory bank for finding one's way about the world."

-Bruce Chatwin, Songlines

Spotlight: Burkina Electric

Burkina Electric is an electronic music group from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The group creates an experimental fusion of styles by combining ancient Sahel rhythms with house, disco, and drum & bass, creating West African electronic dance music. 

The band, comprised of musicians, singers, and dancers, utilizes both traditional instruments and sounds recorded in Burkina Faso, with lyrics in Moré, Dioula, Bissa, and French.

Burkina Electric emerged from Beta Foly, a group of which lead singer Maï Lingani, guitarist Wende K. Blass, Electronicist/VJ Pyrolator, and drummer/electronicist Lukas Ligeti were members. For their 2004 Austrian tour, they were joined by choreographers/dancers/vocalists Zoko Zoko and Vicky. 

This triumphant collaboration eventually led to the self-released double EP Rêem Tekré in 2007, which featured four tracks and remixes by DJ Spooky, Paul de Jong (The Books), Rupert Huber (Tosca), Raz Mesinai (Badawi), and Stefan Schneider (Mapstation). Burkina Electric has since performed worldwide, including at the Festival Jazz à Ouaga in Burkina Faso, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Joe's Pub in New York City, the Old Town School of Music in Chicago, and the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Italy.

Photo: Myles Regan

In 2010, Burkina Electric released their first album, Paspanga under Cantaloupe Music. Layering sounds without sounding overproduced, the album tracks both fast in tempo and infectious in energy. The bright and vigorous album includes the tracks “Sankar Yaaré,” with slick harmonies and crowded background beats, the exuberant “Bobo Yengué,” with a church organ intro and multilingual vocal layering, and “Ligdi,” with percussive vocals, deep bass, and a psychedelic guitar riff.  


Burkina Electric is currently on another European tour, playing in Austria, Denmark, and Sweden.