The Brooklyn-via-West Africa collective Burkina Electric play an effortless blend of the traditional rhythms of Burkina Faso and speaker-shaking booty-bounce of modern club music. While guitarist Wende K. Blass, vocalist Mai Lingani, and dancers As and Vicky all originally hail from Burkina Faso, the Bushwick-based electronics guru and drummer Lukas Ligeti has made New York the band’s default home in recent years.
Ligeti, the son of legendary Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, started collaborating with musicians on the Ivory Coast in 1994 and has been mutating traditional music and contemporary electronics ever since–notably, the Burkina line-up is completed by legendary synth-punk Kurt “Pyrolator” Dahlke from German new wave pioneers D.A.F. The band’s debut album, Paspanga (Cantaloupe), is a high-energy burst of Madchester beats, woozy samples and outright woofer-wreckage, hopefully doing for Burkina Faso what Buraka Som Sistema did for Portugal, give or take a heavier dose of the more laidback, psychedelic vibe of Eno/Byrne’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Check out “Ligdi,” a track that surges with disorienting polyrhythms, soaring vocals, Art Of Noise-style electro blurts, and a blissful, vibrant, maddening, chant-along coda that could have been on Merriweather Post Pavillion, no fooling. – Christopher Weingarten, Village Voice
Sponsored by the Lecture Committee, Class of ’71, Public Affairs Forum, Burkina Electric will appear on Friday, September 30 at 9:00 PM in Goodrich Hall, on the campus near 863 Main Street, Willliamstown, MA. The performance is free and open to the public.Led by renowned composer/percussionist Lukas Ligeti, Burkina Electric is the first electronic music group from Burkina Faso, in the deep interior of West Africa. Based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, it is, at the same time, an international band, with members living in New York, U.S.A. and Düsseldorf, Germany, as well as in Ouaga. Burkina Electric’s music combines the traditions and rhythms of Burkina Faso with contemporary electronic dance culture, making it a trailblazer in electronic world music. A diverse and talented group consisting of four musicians and two dancers, they collectively participate in the creative process and represent disparate musical genres and sounds from across the globe.
Rather than recycling well-known rock and funk rhythms, Burkina Electric seeks to enrich the fabric of electronic dance music by using unusual rhythms that are rarely heard and little-known even in much of Africa. This includes ancient rhythms of the Sahel, such as the Mossi peoples’ Ouaraba and Ouenega, but also new grooves of their own creation. The band invites you to discover that these exotic rhythms groove at least as powerfully as disco, house, or drum & bass!
Award-winning singer Maï Lingani, a star in Burkina Faso because of her unique voice and charismatic stage presence, sings in Moré, Dioula, Bissa, and French. Wende K. Blass, one of Burkina’s premier guitarists, contributes soulful guitar melodies. Electronicist/VJ Pyrolator has been one of Germany’s most inventive pop musicians and a top producer ever since the days of the “Neue Deutsche Welle” some 25 years ago as a founding member of bands D.A.F. and Der Plan, while New York-based drummer/electronicist Lukas Ligeti is one of the most up-and-coming concert music composers internationally. Known for his nonconformity, diverse interests, and imagination, he has received commissions from prominent groups such as the Kronos Quartet, the Bang on a Can All Stars, and the American Composers Orchestra. Vicky and Zoko Zoko are skilled dancers/choreographers who bring high energy and sharp moves, and also contribute powerful vocals.
Burkina Electric has performed across the U.S. and beyond at venues such as the Festival Jazz à Ouaga in Burkina Faso, Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, the Newman Center in Denver, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Luminato Festival in Toronto, and the Montreal Jazz Festival, among many others. With choreographer Karole Armitage and her company, Armitage Gone! Dance, Burkina Electric created the work “Summer of Love,” which was performed at Lincoln Center in NYC and at the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Italy. The work was then developed into “Itutu” and was performed in NYC at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival and at Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park; in Monaco at the Opéra de Monte Carlo; and at festivals in Belgium and Germany.
For more information, please see http://www.facebook.com/burkinaelectric.