Burkina Electric is the first electronica band from Burkina Faso, located in the deep interior of West Africa.
Based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, the band is at the same time international, with members also living in New York, USA, and Düsseldorf, Germany. 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. This diverse and talented group consists of four musicians and two dancers who 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 rhythms of their own creation. The band invites you to discover that these exotic rhythms groove as powerfully as disco, house, or drum & bass!
Additionally, the group creates a unique and refreshing musical world that is all their own by incorporating sounds of traditional instruments and found sounds recorded in Burkina Faso. It is truly African electronica, an exotic exploration and fusion of musical styles both experimental and entertaining. Performances are often further enhanced by the use of live-manipulated video.
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 and the Bang on a Can All Stars. Vicky and Zoko Zoko are skilled dancers/choreographers who bring high energy and sharp moves, and also contribute powerful vocals.
Prior to Burkina Electric's formation, band members Maï Lingani, Wende K. Blass, Pyrolator, and Lukas Ligeti had become close friends as members of Beta Foly, a group that emerged from a workshop led by Lukas and Pyrolator in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which, among other experiments, created some of the earliest fusions of techno/trip-hop with African traditional music. Burkina Electric was originally formed for a one-time tour in Austria, but the collaboration was so successful that the band decided to create a lasting arrangement. In 2007, Burkina Electric released the double EP Rê em Tekré, featuring four of the group's songs plus remixes by DJ Spooky, Paul de Jong (The Books), Rupert Huber (Tosca), Raz Mesinai (Badawi), and Stefan Schneider (Mapstation/To Rococo Rot). Also, Burkina Electric's song "Mdolé" is featured on the compilation Beyond The Horizon, assembled by BBC Radio DJ Charlie Gillett and released in July 2008 by Warner Classics & Jazz.
Burkina Electric has performed all across the U.S. and beyond at venues such as the Festival Jazz à Ouaga in Burkina Faso; Joe's Pub in New York City; the Old Town School of Music in Chicago; the University of South Carolina; Rensselaer Polytechnic in Troy, NY; and the Arab-American National Museum in Detroit, MI. In 2009, they shared an evening with Toumani Diabaté at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. With choreographer Karole Armitage and her dance 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 band also recently premiered the work "Itutu" with Armitage Gone! Dance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival and is giving repeat performances in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum-Monaco Dance Forum in December 2009 and in Belgium and Germany in February 2010.