World Music Baba Commandant Memorial

Mamadou Sanou, better known as Baba Commandant, on November 26, 2023, of malaria fever in his hometown of Bobo-Diulasso. Baba Commandant was an influential and highly respected Manding musician in Burkina Faso.

Baba Commandant, or Mamadou Sanou by birth, carved a niche for himself as a highly esteemed musician within the vibrant Burkinabé music scene. Renowned for his distinctive style and eccentric persona, he effortlessly stood out among his musical peers. The sudden and unexpected nature of his departure has sent shockwaves through the hearts of his friends and family, leaving them in a state of mourning. During this challenging time, we offer our most heartfelt sympathies to those who were close to him. Originating from Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, Mamadou Sanou embarked on his musical odyssey in 1981. Demonstrating his versatility as a performer, director, dancer, and songwriter, he crafted a distinctive brand of Manding music, blending Afrobeat with echoes of Fela Kuti’s influence. Beyond his artistic pursuits, Baba Commandant assumed the role of a musical educator, imparting his knowledge by teaching children to play the Donso ngoni, a traditional West African string instrument. Guiding the Mandingo Band as the main vocalist and donso ngoni player, Baba Commandant infused the group with his contagious energy and compelling stage charisma. Comprising drummer Abbass Kaboré, bassist Wendeyida Ouedraogo, and lead guitarist Issouf Diabaté, the band collaboratively produced three albums, including their latest recording in 2022. A fervent champion of traditional Mandingo music, Baba Commandant skillfully merged age-old traditions with contemporary influences. Through his distinctive approach, he pushed the boundaries that typically delineate traditional and modern music. His legacy as a trailblazer in the music industry stands as a lasting source of inspiration for both seasoned professionals and emerging musicians alike.

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