Get ready for Zound Zandé, ART MELODY’s radically creative second album, ‘cos it’s like nothing you’ve heard before. The first thing that strikes you is the Burkinabe’s distinctive and amazing raucous voice as he flings the words at you in Mooré and Dioula (with a sprinkling of French). The sheer force shakes you up both mentally and musically, as his powerful vocals pummel, flow and bounce on a fusion of the most contemporary and traditional sounds and rhythms.
The first single, opening track Béog Kamba, with its hypnotic video, is the best example of this innovative style featuring fantastic images of ancestral African dance that, like Melody’s vocals, threaten to draw you into a trance. Béog Kamba elicits the intense feeling that the deepest oral and spiritual traditions of Africa are just below the surface of our contemporary consciousness. You wouldn’t guess it from the video, but the song is actually about education and parental responsibility.
The album was produced in Bordeaux (France) by brilliant local beatmaker Redrum and mastered by Dave Cooley, of the Stones Throw label (Los Angeles), who had a real crush on this album. Easy to understand why when the krumpy element in Art Melody’s power vocals is so readily to the fore.
After some hard times in the Francophone West African country of Burkina Faso, which forced him to leave for Ivory Coast, and then go through immigration hell in a failed bid to settle in France, Art Melody met a couple of young filmmakers from Bordeaux who decided to shoot a portrait of the rapper explaining what rap means to him – it’s his life - and his definition of rap.
This inspired them to create tentaculrecords and produce the eponymous explosive 2009 album, the first single from which was the impressive To Biiga (which means ‘Someone else’s child’).
This productive partnership launched Art Melody onto the some of the best stages in Burkina Faso, allowed him to embark on the recording of a second album, and tour France in May/June 2010 with Ben Sharpa and top French acts like La Rumeur and Watcha Clan.
Zound Zandé (The Falter) features Yao Bobby from top Togolese hiphop act Djanta Kan (who featured on the Afrolution’s 2010 compilation of African hiphop) and IyaDedE, a Rwandan singer – now based in New York - who has recently collaborated with The Roots. Yao had this to say about Art Melody when we called him up for a brief chat:
‘Art Melody does pure African Hiphop, sticking very close to his roots and rapping in his own language about very conscious themes. Which is what we love! Kari kian fo, the track on which I was invited to participate, is a bitter report on our governments and a cry for revolt.’
The album is woven through with political interludes. It includes, for instance, an excerpt from a speech originally delivered on the independence of Burkina Faso (in Hot Volta), and another extract (in the beautiful track Sankara) from a speech by the late Thomas Sankara, ex-president, in which this hero of Burkina Faso’s revolution explains why it’s impossible for a colonised country, or for any individual in such a country, to find any sort of balance or stability if the country cooperates with the colonial power.
The second single is the soulful Kienrib Laadamain (‘Some are laughing’), and we predict that the industrial sound of the track Rasta Wena Wagdre will make it a hit if it is also pushed as a single (unfortunately we can't stream this until the album is released).
Kienrib Laadamain (prod. Redrum) 2011 by ART MELODY
The album concludes with Kien Korongo, a traditional a cappella chant. Inspired by his griot mother, this one will make you shiver.
Zound Zandé was produced by Tentaculrecords and Banzaï Lab, will be released in February 2011 with the support of international French radio RFI and Mondomix Magazine.
MARCH UPDATE: Zound Zandé is now out! New video for Bayir Nooma + 'where to buy' links below:
WHERE TO BUY
ART MELODY ONLINE
Written by Marie-Agnès Beau