Burkina Electric are the first electronica band from Burkina Faso, West Africa, though two of their members are from Düsseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, Burkina Electric play music that combines the traditions and rhythms of Burkina Faso with contemporary electronic dance culture. This diverse and talented group consists of four musicians and two dancers melding disparate musical genres and sounds from across the globe. Burkina Electric's unusual rhythms include the rarely heard -- even in Africa -- Sahel, from the Mossi peoples of Ouaraba and Ouenega, and the band creates new ones by incorporating sounds of traditional instruments and found sounds recorded in Burkina Faso. Performances often include live-manipulated video as well.
The band was formed when renowned vocalist Maï Lingani (who sings in Moré, Dioula, Bissa, and French), guitarist Wende K. Blass, electronicist/VJ Pyrolator (a founding member of D.A.F. and Der Plan), and New York-based drummer/electronicist/composer Lukas Ligeti were members of Beta Foly, a group that emerged from a workshop led by Ligeti and Pyrolator. The quartet created Burkina Electric for a one-time tour of Austria; for that tour they expanded to a sextet featuring dancers Wendy and Zoko Zoko, who also contribute backing vocals. The collaboration was so successful that they decided continue together. In 2007 Burkina Electric released the double EP Rêem Tekré, featuring four of the group's songs and remixes by DJ Spooky, Paul de Jong, Rupert Huber, Raz Mesinai, and Stefan Schneider. In addition, the track "Mdolé" is featured on the compilation Beyond the Horizon, assembled by BBC Radio DJ Charlie Gillett, issued in 2008. They have toured internationally and played many important venues and festivals. Their debut album, Paspanga, was released in early 2010. ~ Thom Jurek