Burkina Faso: Death of artist and n'goni player Baba Commandant

In Burkina Faso, the art scene is in mourning, following the sudden death on Saturday, November 25, in hospital, of Mamadou Sanou, alias Baba Commandant, his stage name. Singer, n'goni player, the artist was one of the few to perform, to present his music, his "Mandinka afrobeat" all over the world.

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Burkinabe artist Baba Commandant has died at the age of 49. © Rasca Production / Martin Demay

By: RFI Follow


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A hoarse voice, the power of his n'goni... On stage, Baba Commandant knew how to create and impose his trance, this very particular alliance between the Mandinka melodies of his community and the Afrobeat of a certain Fela Kuti.

Baba Commandant, Mamadou Sanou by civil status, was born in Bobo-Dioulasso where the inhabitants of his neighborhood nicknamed him "Little Madou" since he was a child, he went on stage at a party to dance and sing.

Years later, it was in Ouagadougou, the capital, playing in the street, then in cabarets, that he continued his life as an artist, as he explained to us in 2015: "We didn't have the means, we didn't have the instruments. We were still touring and we managed to do some entertainment in the cabarets. We played, we earned 200francs [CFA] to buy beans. It allowed us to survive


Baba Commandant had just returned home from a long international tour, including the United States. Since the announcement of his death on Saturday, tributes have been pouring in from all over the world.

"The black punk of Burkina Faso" was 49 years old.

Read alsoBaba Commandant or the success of Mandinka Afrobeat

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