The story behind this year’s opening act has the kind of fairytale feel usually encountered in movies. For thirty years, Victor Demé spent his evenings playing the nightclubs of Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso and Abidjan, often as a member of Suprême Comenba and the renowned Super Mandé Orchestra, led by the great Abdoulaye Diabaté. By day, he would work alongside his father, a tailor.
Two years ago, at the age of forty-six, he made his first recording, laying down fourteen tracks in a small studio improvised by the crew at a Ouagadougou bar. The songs are a tribute to the women of Burkina Faso, ‘who built this country with their own hands’, and at the same deal with those issues that affect the everyday lives of each one of us. Demé calls for national solidarity, advocates tolerance, believes in love and weaves hymns to feminine grace. The resulting album showcases some of the repertoire of this matchless singer: intimate, detailed Mandingo romances with hints of salsa and flamenco, infused with a tincture of the blues. With the advance payment for this record, Demé bought himself a new guitar – and a new sewing machine.
Ali Diarra – calabash, balafon, back vocals
Youssouf Diabaté – solo guitar, back vocals
Salif Diarra – kora, percussion, back vocals
Victor Démé – guitar, voice
Victor Démé (Chapa Blues Records, 2008)
Deli (Chapa Blues Records, 2010)