Wally Badarou

Wally Badarou

Electronic musician

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Wally Badarou

Biography

French musician. Born in France with ancestry from Benin, West Africa, Badarou is known for his close association with the English group Level 42, and for his prolific work as a session musician with a wide variety of performers from around the world. Long-time associate of the British band Level 42, contributing on keyboards, synthesizers and programming. He has co-written and performed on a number of the band's tracks since their recording début in 1980, later co-producing them. Though never an official member of Level 42, he could be considered a de facto "fifth member" of the band's classic line-up from 1980 through 1994, as he played keyboards and synths on all their studio albums, and co-wrote and/or co-produced much of their material. However, Badarou did not play with Level 42 on concert dates, and he has not been involved with the revived version of the group, which reunited in the early 2000s. Badarou was close to Island Records's founder Chris Blackwell, and he was one of the Compass Point All Stars (with Sly and Robbie, Barry Reynolds, Mikey Chung and Uziah "Sticky" Thompson), the in-house recording team of Compass Point Studios responsible for a long series of albums of the 1980s recorded by Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Joe Cocker, Mick Jagger, Black Uhuru, Gwen Guthrie, Jimmy Cliff and Gregory Isaacs.[1] Badarou's keyboard playing could also be heard on albums by Robert Palmer, Marianne Faithfull,[2] Herbie Hancock, M (Pop Muzik), Talking Heads, Foreigner, Power Station, Melissa Etheridge, Manu Dibango and Miriam Makeba. He produced albums by Fela Kuti, Salif Keita, Wasis Diop, Trilok Gurtu, Carlinhos Brown; wrote for the films Countryman, and Kiss of the Spider Woman; plus directed and wrote for Jean-Paul Goude's French Bicentennial parade, Bastille Day 1989.[3] His solo instrumental work includes two albums: Echoes (1984) and Words Of A Mountain (1989). The former included "Chief Inspector", "Mambo" (sampled for Massive Attack's "Daydreaming" (Blue Lines album)), and "Hi-Life". "Chief Inspector" peaked at #46 in the UK Singles Chart in October 1985.[4] The Words Of A Mountain album is believed to be one of the first fully tapeless recordings in contemporary/new-age history: co-pioneering the computerised home studio concept with other electronic musicians of his generation, Badarou established a reputation on the field with his extensive use of Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, New England Digital Synclavier, and custom voice-controlled Yamaha digital mixers.[5][citation needed] Badarou also helped organise the Kora All Africa Music Awards in 1997, while co-writing and producing So Why, a charity album for the ICRC, conceived as a call against ethnic cleansing in Africa, featuring Youssou N'Dour and Papa Wemba. He has embraced stage acting since the early 2000s, showing interest in aviation, movies, science-fiction and philosophy.[citation needed] By the end of 2009, starting with Fisherman, a 15 mn long "marathon in afro-beat territory ",[6] Badarou released his latest album (The Unnamed Trilogy): online exclusively, one single at a time, via the JukeSticker, a direct and sharable transaction tool: "At very long last, my fans are to receive the music that never stopped haunting me all these years. The whole of it will be available as a physical collector set, once the three albums are fully revealed ".[6]