Burkina Electric

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Paspanga Review

by Michael G. Nastos

The mad tribal music of Burkina Electric is even more intensified on Paspanga than on their previous releases. While at times sounding more in the moment and less processed, the group does concentrate on layering of sounds that are acoustic in nature coming from Africa, but brought kicking and screaming into the digital future. Main vocalist Mai Lingani seems possessed in a blood fever of excitement throughout this vibrant set of music that keeps energy at a high level. Guitarist Wende K. Blass maintains the rhythmic West African tradition; Lukas Ligeti bonds the band with searing, galvanized beats along with Pyrolator, both spurred on by technology. Where the consistency of the songs from track to track is evident, they switch things up internally. "Gom Zanga" is where highlife meets disco from an organic standpoint, "To Mi To Zi" is more deliberate and shouted out in R&B get-down fashion, and the shaker beat of "La Voix du Boulgou" makes distant vocals sound shamanic in an ancestral visage. Outer space sounds and the kora merge for the spooky, mysterious, echoed love song "Mdloe," and organ spikes with multilingual gibberish identify the unusual "Bobo Yengué." Lingani's prime feature "Nongui Taaba" presents a heaven's gate love/not-love dilemma as church-type organ fuels the fires of doubt. As you listen more, you are able to understand the underlying cultural dialects present in every track, not to mention that the dance factor is infectious. Truly unique unto themselves, Burkina Electric are evolving far beyond any other group even remotely similar, and hopefully they can tour to translate this spectacular, stimulating music to dancehalls and concert stages.

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