Baga Fote
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Baga Fote

Band World Reggae

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Discography

Oule Honon, album 2004
Rastaman, singles 2004
Méthode de djembé, album 1999

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Bio

The band Baga Fote was created in October 2003 by Yves Bangoura, an experienced singer/drummer and emerging Guinean talent. Yves likes to describe his music as "traditional reggae", meaning music largely played with traditional instruments that is inspired by, and rooted in, the sounds of reggae.

Percussion is a key element of the band’s creations and the artists use traditional Baga and Malinke rhythms to create their own unique arrangements and melodies. While Baga Fote finds inspiration in tradition, his music is most definitely modern. His traditionally based creations take on new life by integrating modern instruments (e.g. guitar and keyboard). The musicians not only play local instruments such as the balafon, kora, and bolon in a fresh, progressive way they also develop guitar and keyboard melodies inspired by their sounds.

Shortly after its creation Baga Fote recorded the album Oule Honon and the singles Rastaman, which are now both distributed in all major French FNAC and Virgin Mega stores and for sale on many websites, including Tower Records and www.cdbaby.com. Since the beginning of 2004, the band has performed in all major local performing centers, including Palais du Peuple (International Exhibition of Conakry), Wakili Guinée Cultural Center, French-Guinean Cultural Center, made a strong impression at Conakry’s 3rd Theater Festival of Guinea and recently won the first prize at a national percussion contest. We are now starting to promote the band across borders. The CD release is supported by our French distributor, radio, and Internet promotion on sites such as www.womex.com, www.cdbaby.com and on our Website www.bagapercussion.com. We are in the process of scheduling a tour in the US. We already have a few dates in the Northeast (Johnny D’s in Somerville, MA, Colby College in Waterville, ME and Satalla in NYC) and in California (The Temple Bar in Santa Monica and the Center of Arts at Humboldt State University in Arcata) are looking for more to make the band’s travel worthwhile.

Yves Bangoura, became interested in drumming at an early age in his home country of Guinea and was soon noticed by one of Conakry's best performing groups, Ballet Saamato de Guinée. In his ten years with Ballet Saamato, Yves evolved exceptional skills as a dun dun player and djembe soloist. In 1994, he also started teaching percussion. He trained the drummers of several performing groups and has been teaching the Guinean traditional rhythms to students coming from Europe, Canada and the United States. In 1999, he recorded a CD called Méthode de djembé, which includes a didactic method for learning to play djembe. During these years, Yves and the musicians at Saamato toured successively, giving numerous performances and winning prizes (Honors from the Guinean Youth Department, Jury Award from the association Hommes de Théâtre at Conakry’s Third Theater Encounter, Folklore award at the African folklore Festival of Guinea). However, being part of a ballet, Yves felt he was unable to express his own creativity and longed for creative independence. In 2000, Yves gathered the best elements of the performing groups Saamoto, Filima and Soleil d'Afrique to create his own band, Baga Fote. The band is composed of ten artists, whose experience and achievements are detailed in the press book.

In addition to his talent as a musician and his instructor skills, Yves is a member of the Guinean National Federation of Craftsmen and a specialist of djembe and dun dun manufacturing. Yves and his musicians, who are all experienced instructors and instrument craftsmen, formed the association Baga Percussion (www.bagapercussion.com), a fair trade organization specializing in dance and drumming workshops and in the sale of traditional instruments. In the future the band will focus on touring internationally, in addition to teaching and selling instruments.

A Guinean national radio D.J. once referred to the band’s music as “the generation Baga Fote”. This shows how much the fusion of traditional and modern music, combined with Yves’ evocative lyrics, appeals to the young Guinean generation. From this mix emerges a new kind of music that both echoes the heartbeat of Guinean culture, and calls to the rhythms of the future...