We're taking a hop, skip, and jump across the pond today, settling our gaze on a tiny, landlocked country in West Africa. It's Burkina Faso that's caught our attention, and for good reason. It's there where Hermas Zoupula - moped enthusiast, orphanage volunteer, and internet cafe proprietor - hangs his hat. All this sounds lovely, I know. But the real reason we're so keen to get behind this West African is the lovely music he will soon be exporting to our fair shores.
The youngest of 36 children, Hermas is the descendent of the Sissali griot Gouaka Djoua, and it is from him that Hermas has inherited, "the voice of the musicians." That voice finds its' inspiration in the likes of Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, and a host of other Afro-pop pioneers (Thomas Mapfumo, Salife Keita, King Sunny Ade).
Discovered by visual artist Jonathan Dueck and his wife Heather while living in the capitol city of Ouagadougou, Asthmatic Kitty will soon be releasing Espoir; a double disc capturing Hermas in two distinct and engaging recording environments. The first disc, laid to tape in a government studio in Burkina Faso, presents a refined and practiced Hermas performing with a host of other musicians jumping around him. On the second, Live in Ouagadougoa, listeners get a piece of the Hermas most Burkinabes know; just him and his trusty guitar, singing and strumming in his own backyard.
Thanks to the fine folks over at Team Clermont, we were lucky enough to obtain this exclusive video of Hermas strolling dirt streets, guitar in hand, as traffic buzzes by. It's called "Nabina Kan Bagniainai", and we think it's a tiny, authentic slice of Burkina living. Check it out below.
We've also been lucky enough to get our hands a few songs for your pleasure. Have a listen here. It's the only place you'll hear them right now. - David Pitz
Hermas Zoupula - "Courons Courez" - from Espoir
Hermas Zoupula - "Alpha Et Omega" - from Live In Ouagadougou