This item is sold out.

Burkina Faso: BOX SET (SF website exclusive) SF100


Sublime Frequencies presents one of its most ambitious releases to date: A spectacular three-LP box set of landmark recordings made in Burkina Faso by Hisham Mayet during three expeditions from 2013-15, housed in a breathtaking full-bleed slipcase with a 32-page booklet of Mayet’s stunning photography.

Despite political upheavals and the logistical complexities of recording in the bush, Mayet was able to compile a matchless overview of Burkinabé music from the Mossi, Bissa, Fulani, Dioula, Bobo, Samo, Lobi, Senoufo, and Bwaba people.

Volume 1 highlights the sacred and secular music of the regional balafon or xylophone revered by the Lobi people of southwestern Burkina Faso. In Lobi culture, the balafon performance is not simply music; it is a form of speech that allows master musicians to converse intimately with the living and the dead.

This LP showcases two side-long tracks that are as thrilling as any Burkinabé music ever recorded. These tracks not only echo but also further some of the greatest examples of Western avant-garde music: Imagine the pulsating minimalist motifs of titans like Terry Riley or La Monte Young elaborated into a dizzying maximalism.

Volume 2 spotlights Mossi, Bissa, Bwaba, Fulani and Samo music. One side 1, riveting string instruments such as the Mossi and Bissa koundé accompany gnarled, primal vocal epics extoling the virtues of kings and the common man. On side 2, the otherworldly sounds of the thianhou (reed zither) and the lolongo (bow-shaped mouth harp) levitate the listener into a blissful trance.

Volume 3 includes regional instruments such as the Donso ngoni (hunters’ harp). The Donso hunters are a mystical animist sect living in western Burkina Faso whose music is a source of protection and strength for the hunt. The Dioula are represented by one of Bobo-Dioulasso’s premiere ensembles, Fassobolomba, who fuse traditional styles with an impeccable ear for modern melody and songcraft. The thianhou and the jubilant wedding songs of the Fulani (Denke-Denke) round out the region’s musical embarrassment of riches.

Pressing Information

Limited to 350 copies; 3-LP box set, housed in a full-bleed slipcase with a 32-page booklet.