“Saved by His Grace:” as the title implies, the completion of Hermas Zopoula’s new album was a miracle.
Recording began in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso almost three years ago, but when the original producer started trying to take control over the album, Hermas Zopoula had to fire him and begin a search for someone he could work with more collaboratively. In a popular studio in the city, Hermas found Ilboudo Sylvain and Nadie Boureima.
The Sylvain and Boreima brought more live instrumentation into the heavily programmed sound popular in West African pop music. They, and Zopoula, wanted to resist the trend towards a texture filled out with synths and computer pre-sets, instead leaning towards the rawer acoustic of live balafons, guitar, and piano. The synthetic sound of Zopoula’s debut is still very much present on Sauvé, but the inclusion of more live instruments has created something richer and more nuanced.
Then, one night late last year, after ten new tracks were recorded and ready to mix, a vindictive artist recording at the same studio sneaked in to delete the hard drive. “Venez Danser” was the only track to survive erasure. Zopoula had to re-record and mix the rest of the songs that appear on the final version of Sauvé Par Sa Grace between his shifts at Air Burkina, the national airline.
But despite the adversity that Zopoula and his collaborators endured throughout their long struggle to record this album, these songs are filled with joy and gratitude, and they’re delighted to finally share them with you. Enjoy!
released March 3, 2014
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