Destinations Podcast: 10. Burkina Faso

For our 10th episode of the Destinations Podcast we embark to Burkina Faso, a harsh and arid strip that straddles the southern Sahara, stretching from Dakar in the west to Djibouti in the east. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. The words "Burkina" and "Faso" both stem from different languages spoken in the country: "Burkina" comes from Mossi and means "honest" or "honest people", while "Faso" comes from the Dyula language and means "fatherland".

The raw sound of Burkina Faso combined Afro-Funk, traditional Islamic rhythms and subtle Afro-Latin sounds brought over by visiting Cuban ensembles. Mandingue melodies and guitar techniques from Mali and Guinea, however, were by far the most defining traits of a potent African mix that distinguished the Voltaic style between 1974 and 1979.

This mixtape is an insight into the psychedelic music of Burkina Faso from the past, but also from the present.

*Photo credits


  • Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band - Folon (2015)
  • Yaro Labairi (lolongo)-Kousoule Lalara (koundé) - Toroba (Samo) (2014)
  • Jean-Bernard Samboue - Aicha (1977)
  • Moukoro Zakaria-Moukoro Mahamadou - Grand Ngoni (Dioula) (2015)
  • Amadou Ballaké et l'Orchestre Super Volta - Bar Konou Mousso (1978)
  • Ibrahim From Bittou (bissa) - Untitled (2014)
  • Amadou Ballaké et l'Orchestre Super Volta - Johnny (1979)
  • Bomberi Willoho - Warri (Bwaba) (2015)
  • Super Volta - La Guitare De Tinga
  • Super Djata Band - Maliniwoula (1982)
  • L' Harmonie Voltaique - Killa Naa Ye Killa
  • Traore Amadou dit Ballaké et L'Orchestre Super Volta ‎– Renouveau (1975)
  • Yehou Téré Sedou Baba - Kiri (Fulani)

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