Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

L’Orchestre Afro Soul System
June 23, 2008, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Upper Volta

Adb San Mi Yéyé

L’Orchestre Afro Soul System was from Upper Volta, which is now known as Burkina Faso.

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.

Catalog number VDB 023 on Volta Discobel, and according to the Radio Africa website, was released in 1978 and pressed in Benin.


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.

Thanks Olivier!



Premier organiste d afro soul system nicaise traore . 1974

Comment by Nicaise traore

L orchestre Afro soul system a ete creer en 1974. A ouagadougou .en effet apres le depart de l orchestre de Madi sanfo les NEW SYSTEM POP en europe pour former les BOZAMBO madi sanfo a remis les instruments a son cousin BAMOGO JEAN CLAUDE MAN qui a l epoque evoluait dans le SUPER VOLTA a ouaga. MAN fit appel a TO FELEY et RAZO_batterie- qui etaient aussi du meme groupe. Moi je tenais le clavier dans les WIGS Avec les instruments des DJINAROUX de Jimmy hyacinte .on me fit appel puis a MAN SOLO pour la basse et CHEICK NA guitare solo qui etait reste a ouaga apres la tournee de Laba Sosse. .Le nom AFRO SOUL SYSTEM vient de parceque FELA faisait de l afro beat et nous on faisait de l afro soul . Et system [ parce que on avait herite du matos des new SYSTEM pop. C est meme NICAISE TRAORE qui donna ce nom. En la psesence de To feley et razo. Avec un toumbiste beninois tels furent les premiers du vrai AFRO SOUL. EN 1976 je parti en MILAN avec GABIN DABIRE et L OISFAU/ NICAISE TRAORE

Comment by Nicaise Traore

L orchestre AFRO SOUL SYSTEM a genere l axe ouaga – milan qui sur le point de la musique grace aux evenements musicaux.En 1976 au concert de PARCO LAMBRO [ NICAISE TRAORE -GABIN DABIRE -L OISEAU ] cloturaient le festival devant 150 000 personnes. Puis ce fut le voyage aux Indes pour une partie du groupe. En 1978 Nicaise TRAORE avec MAHAMA KONATE_ PACO YE -FRANCIS _BÊ -PAUL SANOU et LASSINA SANOU formerent FARAFINA tandis que To feley Razo et LOISEAU repartirent a MILAN pour former le YELBOUNA ( Gabin qui etait reste a Milan quitta yelbouna ) . Avec Farafina N icaise Traore a ecrit trois TRAITÉS de MUSIQUE [ Musique balafonique et origine du blues . Les Nombres balafoniques et Figures et sequences polyphoniques des arts balafoniques] . NICAISE TRAORE

Comment by Nicaise Traore

DES TRAITÉS DE MUSIQUE BAMANA * Le tome 1: MUSIQUE BALAFONIQUE ET ORIGINE DU BLUES/ ce document se veut etre une demarche scientifique sur l etude de la grammaire musicale du balafon des bamana (senoufo) il donne des generalites sur la connaissance de la nature du balafon ses fonctions et sa structure musicale menant ainsi une etude comparative entre le clavier d un piano et le clavier d un balafon… LE TOME 2 * LES NOMBRES BALAFONIQUES (balafonologie et addition théosoqhique dans une etude typo_sonique des nombres balafoniques) traite du pourquoi de nombre de lames cette ecriture exprime le calcul des evenements sonores de l âme balafonique.Objet d abord puis son et enfin nombres regles et lois. LE TOME 3 * FIGURES ET SEQUENCES POLYPHONIQUES DES ARTS BALAFONIQUES/ Suit le chemin de la synthese balafonique par lien et l informatise . Nicaise Traore

Comment by Nicaise A. TRAORE

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