(release date 10.Oct. 2015 / Outhere Records OH029)
All seemed possible in Burkina Faso. It sounded like a fairy tale, to good to be true. Last October the people had kicked out long time president Blaise Compaoré after he had declared he wanted to stay in power for a third turn. New democratic elections were set up for October 11th. Now with the elections approaching a military coup hit the country on the evening of the 16th of September. In the midst of it all: Smockey activist, rapper and spokesperson of „Le Balai Citoyen“ a youth movement for a better Burkina Faso. Smockey had to go underground because the situation had become dangerous for activists in his country. Military forces have even bombed his studio in the wake of the coup. „Pre’volution – Le president, ma moto et moi“ was suppoesed to be released on election day October 11th, now the elections are postponed.
„Le president, ma moto et moi“ takes you straight to Ouagadougou the capital of Burkina Faso. In the song Burkina Faso’s Hiphopstar Smockey imagines giving the former president Blaise Compaoré a ride on his motorbike through Ouagadougou. He shows him around the poor areas of town, schools that don’t function, poverty and a frustrated youth demonstrating in the streets. Suddenly due to a power cut the traffic lights go out. That leads to an accident on their motorcycle. An ambulance brings them to the Hôpital National Blaise Compaoré. Even though it carries his name, it is in a miserable state: no oxygen supply. The president never cared about hospitals because his family goes to Europe for treatment, welcome to Burkina Faso.
In October 2014 the people of Burkina Faso took to the streets. They were sick of a government ignoring their needs. Smockey and hundreds of other protesters wanted to get rid of Blaise Compaoré and his cronies, the countries despot, reigning for almost 30 years. On day ten of the riots, Blaise Compaoré held a referendum to change the constitution to be able to run for presidency for another period. It was this exact day, the 30th of October 2014 that the protesters decided, they can’t take it any longer. The masses stormed into the headquarters of the ruling party and into the parliament building and set both a blaze. Compaoré left the country overnight for neighboring Côte d’Ivoire. With the elections coming up tension is rising again in Burkina. On 16 September a military coup took place and the interim president and his prime minister were taken hostage. The coup was led by one of Compaoré’s loyal generals head of his notorious presidential guard. Finally an agreement was made now the elections might finally be taking plce on the 22nd of November. Smockey and the people of „Le Balai Citoyen“ are back on the streets.
Over the last year politically concious HipHop star Smockey has become the spokesman of the protest. Together with his comrade, Reggae artist Sams K Le Jah, he started „Le Balai Citoyen“, a movement comparable to „Y’en a marre – enough is enough“ in Senegal. The aim is to bring together artists, students and intellectuals to widely rise awareness and encourage political participation. „Le Balai Citoyen“ translates into „the broom of the people“. The useful tool signalized to the people of Burkina Faso that an ordinary person can participate in wiping away corruption, cronyism and the political clique of Blaise Compaoré. Their slogan was „Notre nombre est notre force“ and the broom became their symbol. Every time Smockey spoke in public, he held up a broom in his hands. This is also a reference to the revolutionary Thomas Sankara, who organized weekly street-cleaning sessions in the 80s. He was murdered during the coup d’etat 1987 staged by Blaise Compaoré. These days Sankara’s wife has made the state exhumate his body to find out more about the murder in search of more evidence as to who killed him.
“Pre’volution – The president, ma moto et moi“ brings together songs written by Smockey during and before the uprising in Burkina Faso. „On Passe à L’attaque“ tells you how to wake up and kickstart a revolution. „Dossier Zongo“ talks about political crimes during the regime of Blaise Compaoré. The freedom of press and the murdering of journalist Norbert Zongo. During the riots the song became an anthem accompanying the protests. „On se développe“ is dedicated to the revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. He was a great supporter of the local textile industry and build factories and plants. Most of them were closed when Blaise Compoaré took over. Smockey wants to encourage young people to reactivate a healthy local industry, instead of staying dependent on foreign products from the US and China. „ „Operation Mana Mana“ is an anthem of the movement „Le Balai Citoyen“. It features many artists that are supporting the movement, as well as Smockey’s companion Sams K le Jah.
The album also features artists like Zouglou singer Soum Bill from Côte d’Ivoire, Rapper Smarty. The last song combattants oubliés features Amadou Balaké a legendary singer from Burkina Faso who died recently.