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Wally Badarou in 2016
|Birth name||Waliou Jacques Daniel Isheola Badarou|
|Born||22 March 1955|
|Genres||Synthpop, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, progressive rock, African music, neoclassical, minimalist|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, songwriter, musician, record producer|
|Instruments||Keyboards, guitar, programming|
|Labels||Barclay Records (1978–1982)|
Island Records (1982–1995)
Blue Mountain Music (1995–2002)
Ishe Music (2002 – present)
|Associated acts||Level 42, Compass Point All Stars, M, Robert Palmer, Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads|
Waliou Jacques Daniel Isheola "Wally" Badarou (born 22 March 1955) is a 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.
Badarou was the 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.
Badarou's keyboard playing could also be heard on albums by Robert Palmer, Marianne Faithfull, 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.
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.
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.
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.
By the end of 2009, starting with Fisherman, a 15 mn long "marathon in afro-beat territory ", 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 ".
- 1979: Back to Scales Tonight
- 1984: Echoes
- 1985: Chief Inspector (EP)
- 1989: Words of a Mountain
- 1997: So Why
- 2001: Colors of Silence : Musical poetry for Yoga
- 2009: The Unnamed Trilogy
- 1981: Dickie Jobson: Countryman
- 1982: Nathalie Delon & Yves Deschamps: They Call It an Accident
- 1985: Hector Babenco: Kiss Of The SpiderWoman (additional music)
- 1991: Lol Creme: The Lunatic
- 1997: Idrissa Ouedraogo: Kini & Adams
- 1997: Don Letts & Rick Elgood: DanceHall Queen
- 1999: Chris Browne: Third World Cop
- 2000: John Berry: Boesman & Lena
Producer (and co-producer)
- 1979: Janic Prévost - J'veux d'la Tendresse
- 1981: Alain Chamfort - Amour Année Zéro
- 1983: Marianne Faithfull - A Child's Adventure (& co-writer)
- 1985: Level 42 - World Machine (& co-writer)
- 1986: Alain Chamfort - Tendres Fièvres (& co-writer)
- 1986: Fela Anikulapo Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense
- 1987: Level 42 - Running in the Family (& co-writer)
- 1988: Level 42 - Staring at the Sun (& co-writer)
- 1990: Level 42 - Guaranteed (& co-writer)
- 1993: Level 42 - Forever Now (& co-writer)
- 1995: Salif Keita - Folon
- 1996: Carlinhos Brown - AlfaGamaBetizado
- 1998: Yannick Noah & Zam Zam - Zam Zam
- 1998: Wasis Diop - Toxu
- 2000: Trilok Gurtu -The Beat Of Love (& co-writer)
- 2001: i Muvrini - Umani
- 1979: M - New-York, London, Paris, Munich ("Pop Muzik")
- 1979: Miriam Makeba - Comme une symphonie d'amour
- 1980: Bernie Lyon - Bernie Lyon
- 1980: Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette
- 1980: Grace Jones - Nightclubbing
- 1980: M - The Official Secrets Act
- 1980: Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Mambo Nassau
- 1980: Level 42 - The Early Tapes (& co-writer)
- 1981: Level 42 - Level 42 (& co-writer)
- 1981: Bernie Lyon - I'm Living In The Sunshine
- 1981: Gibson Brothers - Quartier Latin
- 1981: Barry Reynolds - I Scare Myself
- 1981: Jimmy Cliff - Give The People What They Want
- 1982: Charlélie Couture - Pochette Surprise
- 1982: Joe Cocker - Sheffield Steel
- 1982: Black Uhuru - Chill Out
- 1982: Gregory Isaacs - Night Nurse
- 1982: Grace Jones - Living My Life
- 1982: Gwen Guthrie - Gwen Guthrie
- 1982: Robin Scott & Shikisha - Jive Shikisha !
- 1982: Level 42 - The Pursuit Of Accidents (& co-writer)
- 1983: Level 42 - Standing In The Light (& co-writer)
- 1983: Talking Heads - Speaking In Tongues
- 1983: Tom-Tom Club - Close To The Bone
- 1984: Level 42 - True Colours (& co-writer)
- 1984: Foreigner - Agent Provocateur
- 1985: Mick Jagger - She's The Boss
- 1985: Power Station - Some Like It Hot
- 1985: Level 42 - World Machine
- 1985: Gwen Guthrie - Just For You
- 1985: Sly & Robbie - Language Barrier
- 1985: Robert Palmer - Riptide
- 1988: Manu Dibango - Electric Africa
- 1988: Melissa Etheridge - Melissa Etheridge
- 1988: Talking Heads - Naked
- 1988: Julio Iglesias - Libra
- 1994: Power Station - Living In Fear
- 2008: Grace Jones - Hurricane
- 2009: Phil Gould - Watertight
- Melissa Chemam, "Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone", Tangent Books, ISBN 1910089729, ISBN 978-1910089729 (2019).
- Chris Salewicz's "Keep on running: The story of Island Records", Universe, p. 120 & 135.
- David Dalton's "Faithfull: An Autobiography", Little Brown & Co, p. 242 & 245.
- Alain Gardinier "365 jours de l'histoire du rock" Ed. de la Martinière, p.154.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 39. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Keyboard Magazine, May 1986, p. 69.
- Official Wally Badarou web site http://www.wallybadarou.com .
- Official website
- Wally Badarou discography
- www.cosmicdisco.co.uk 'The Prophet Speaks' Exclusive Wally Badarou Interview
- Wally Badarou RBMA video lecture session