Amadou Balaké / March 8, 1944 - Aug 27, 2014

The Burkinabé singer Amadou Balaké had a long and varied career, recording Mandé music, soul, afro-cuban, salsa, highlife, afrobeat/funk and various West African regional styles. He was among the artists who explicitly bridged Afro-Cuban sounds with contemporary African music in the '60s & '70s into the 2000s.

He was a taxi driver in Mali before joining Harmonie Voltaiqüe and scoring big with the tune he changed his name to ("Balaké"). He joined Super Volta before launching his solo career in the mid-'70s. He also sang in Les 5 Consuls. He went to NYC in the late '70s to cut a few records of Afro-charanga and salsa before joining the great Africando, with whom he was a full-time member.

During his career, he was based out of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Ghana, Guinea and NYC and sang in several languages. Many of his songs (and a couple of his albums) have been recently reissued, including his Bar Konon Mousso Bar album, a fantastic set available on the Kindred Spirits label:

From his '79 album Amadou Balaké A New York!:

Here's the well-known "Whiskey & Coca-Cola", from his '81 Afro-Charanga album:

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