By Mamadou Konkobo (aka Art Melody)*
Later today we play against Zambia for a place in the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations. We are first in our group, we just need to handle it well. Zambia has to win, we need at least a draw. I’m convinced we can qualify. Let’s just remember: “Ensemble soutenons les étalons à la conquête du ballon rond” (together, let’s support the Etalons in their conquest of the round ball”). Here’s some songs to build morale ahead of the clash.
Black So Man’s “Les étalons” was the anthem in the 1998 Afcon, but shortly after Black So Man had an accident, he passed away before attending the cup. To this day it remains the national soccer anthem, there are many other ones, but this is the best.
Victor Demé is one of the most popular Burkinabé artists, in recent years he has managed to raise Burkinabé music to an international level, he has won awards and is the artist who tours the most.
Black Marabouts’ “A qui la faute” is a song that talks about everyday life for the Burkinabé people. In the song the group asks people: whose fault is it if we can’t heal, if we can’t improve how our society is? It asks who is responsible, it reminds everybody of their own responsibilities, teachers going out with students, youths who choose not to work, but rather give into petty crime and prostitution, leaders who prefer to buy cars and build houses rather than take care of the country. I really dig that song. The group has since split up, but Black Mano had a really ill flow.
WAGA 3000: “Sak Sin Paode”. Accept what is little, in the hopes of getting more. Or in other words, you have to accept your condition if you hope to grow. It’s a Mooré proverb, in the song we mainly talk about humility, how we never cease to learn, and how we must never stop respecting one another.
Orchestre Volta Jazz’s “Djougou Malola”. “Enemies are ashamed.” When somebody gets jealous, don’t mind them, work and move forward, you’ll eventually rise and they’ll remain in their own shame. Volta Jazz is one of those mythical 1970s groups. Until Florent Mazzoleni released his book about the history of Burkinabé music, very few were aware of them, but now there is a kind of renaissance, they are back in the studio working on a new album. Today Mustapha Maiga, the lead singer and saxophone player, is heading this renaissance.
And Amadou Ballaké is another one of the major figures in Voltaic music — that’s how it used to be called here, Haute Volta! He rose to fame in the 1970s, and is still around! He was a member of Africando for some time, and has done a lot for Burkinabé music across the decades.
* Art Melody is a rapper from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.