Filed under: Upper Volta
I have not been able to find any information about the band. And at first, I was unable to find anything about the singer and songwriter Compaoré Youssouf (as it is printed on the label). But, I have since found out that his name was actually Compaore Issouf, who released two albums – One with the band The Noble Kings in 1978, and a solo record in 1981. Also, L’Orchestre Afro Soul System recorded another single for the label Société Ivoirienne du Disque in Côte d’Ivoire.
Thanks to Grégoire de Villanova for the information.
If you have any further information, please contact me.
Since this posting, I have been contacted by Olivier Gagneux, who was briefly a member of the band in 1981. Here’s what he had to say:
The leader was singer/composer Jean-Claude “Man” Bamogo, who is pretty famous in Burkina Faso nowadays. The lead guitarist was Roger Mballa from Cameroon, who had been with Fela Kuti & Africa 70 before (under the name of Roger Effiok, because a Nigerian passport had to be ‘organised’ on short notice because of a tour to Italy). He later went on to become musical director of the Ballet National de Maurétanie (a.k.a. Mauritania).
It was a very interesting time because back then the bands with the best equipment (or with equipment, period) was the one with the best gigs. I remember that it took us more than one month to organise a guitar string. The drummer (we called him “Tumbarero”, because Cuban music was very popular back then; Most people actually thought Monguito was from the Côte d’Ivoire) had never seen real drum sticks (he would go out in the bush to cut his own before each gig) and you could not see the original rim on his cymbals.
The top band was “Desi et les Sympatiques” because their leader Desire Traore had a job at OFNACER (Office Nationale Des Cereales) where he would SELL the food donated by international relief agencies and thus made a lot of money. He was also taking guitar lessons from Roger Mballa. I think once Thomas Sankara took charge he did some time for this.
So we ended up playing a lot in little villages. We always had to organise transport (no public transport in the country back then) and a generator for one light bulb above the stage and the PA/amps. The cables did not have any plugs, they were just joined together and a stone was placed on top of it. We would sometimes play until 9 in the morning and some of the musicians would take “speed“.
Half of our repertoire consisted of songs in traditional Mossi rhythms (the rest was Reggae and Cuban Son). One of these rhythms especially (“Waraba“) is tricky to feel the beat, and the kids who had grown up in the city (Ouagadougou) would often dance it the ‘wrong’ way (they did not feel the beat correctly) while the kids in the villages danced it the way it is.