Amadou Balaké - In Conclusion
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cd cover Amadou Balaké
In Conclusion (Stern's)
cdRoots Code: st-1125

Amadou Balaké is probably most familiar to listeners for his many years fusing Latin and African rhythms as a key member of Africando. But before and after that part of his career, he was a beloved artist at home, and these recordings are a testament to his Burkinabe roots. They were made in a theater in Ouagadougou with the local musicians he has been playing with, most in single live takes. Essential and highly recommended.

After a career spanning a half-century during which he became the most famous musician from Burkina Faso and a legend of African popular music, Amadou Balaké died in 2014 at the age of 70. This album contains his final recordings.

Revisiting songs that he performed or recorded throughout his career and backed by an 11 piece band, In Conclusion sees Balaké deliver raw and true emotion through his vocals whilst updating the Mandé guitar, ngoni and balafon traditions.

"Kambele Ba"
"Bar Konon Mousso"


More info:
After a career that spanned a half-century in which he became the most famous musician from Burkina Faso and a legend of African popular music, Amadou Balake´ died on August 27th 2014 in Ouagadougou at the age of 70. This album contains his final recordings.

Born Amadou Traore´ in Burkina Faso when it was still the French West African colony of Upper Volta, he was given the name Balake´ by Guinean fans who especially liked the way he sang the Mande classic of that title. By that time (the late 1960s) he had been performing as an itinerant singer, guitarist and percussionist all around West Africa.

On returning to his homeland in 1970, Amadou Balake´ sang with a succession of groups in the capital, Ouagadougou. Building on widely popular Afro-Cuban and funk styles as well as the Mande repertoire modernized by such bands as Guinea’s Bembeya Jazz and Mali’s Rail Band, he incorporated local warba dance rhythms into his music and sang primarily in the Mossi language of Burkina Faso, establishing a distinct Burkinabe´ sound.

It was a sound that traveled well as Balake´ resumed his roving. He recorded his first album in Accra, Ghana, in 1976; his second in Lagos, Nigeria; the next two in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and then his classic salsa album, Amadou Balake´ a` New York, in that city with some of its top Latin sidemen in 1979. He was based in Paris for most of the ‘80s but eventually settled in Ouagadougou.

In 2000 Ibrahima Sylla, the pre-eminent African record producer, invited Balake´ to join the international salsa supergroup Africando — a match made in Spanish Harlem, one might say, considering that Balake´ preceded Africando in working with Latin musicians in New York. With Africando Balake´ recorded four albums and toured far and wide.

He was still giving weekly shows in Ouagadougou when the French music journalist Florent Mazzoleni met him there in 2013 and produced the recordings that would prove to be the old master’s last testament.

Accompanied by young local musicians, he revisited some of his favorite songs, including his namesake, “Balake´”, which he had never previously recorded. Captured mostly in one take with few overdubs, these tracks present a performer seasoned by decades of experience and in full command of his art.

vocal: Amadou Balake´
guitar: Michel ‘Haute Tension’ Diansoro
ngoni, percussion: Boubacar ‘Papa’ Djiga
balafon, percussion: Sanou Dara
bass, bass ngoni: Luc Kyendrebeogo
drums: Jean ‘Bosco’ Sorogo
trumpet: Georges The´odore ‘Alpha’ Vindou
saxophone: Yizih
organ: Father Ben
backing vocals: Sanou Dara, Moustapha Mai¨ga, Ai¨da Dao
Produced: Florent Mazzoleni

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