Print Shortlink

Badarou, Wally (22nd March 1955-Present)

He is a synthesiser player, producer, composer, music director and actor born Waliou Isheola Jacques Daniel in Paris, France. His father was a GP and his mother a paediatrician, and in 1962 his family returned to their home in Dahomey, now Benin, where he learned the mandolin, the flute and the Melodica, but he returned in 1971 to France to attend high school in Paris.

Although wanting to work in avionics when he got older, he learned to play the organ and the bass guitar and it was during these years that he would also make his first concert appearances. His parents bought an upright piano and he would then receive piano lessons and play the organ in his local chapel, where he would often improvise. While he was at college he was a member of several bands and then he would become a member of the group Kumba and after having worked a summer job he bought himself an electric piano.

He went on to attend the Law University in Paris but at the same time found himself taking a liking to jazz and he became a part of Voodoo Family who evolved into Centers. He received his first synthesiser as payment for paying odd gigs and eventually he gave up law to concentrate on his music and a recording career, with his first single being in the duo Wally & Shane.

He was drafted into the army in 1977 and on his return in 1978 he got his first recording contract with Barclay Records as a session musician and became highly sought after by artists that have since included Hugh Masakela, Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Robin Scott (M), Joe Cocker, Talking Heads, Melissa Etheridge, Mick Jagger , Marianne Faithfull, Black Uhuru and Herbie Hancock and this would further lead him to working with the Gibson Brothers on their hit “Cuba” and Level 42, who he would remain associated with for many years.

In 1980 he went to Nassau to work with Chris Blackwell on an album with Grace Jones and he wound up travelling there for many years and appearing on countless albums with artists such as Foreigner, Robert Palmer, Power Station and still maintaining his work in the UK with Level 42.

He started to compose for film and also released the solo albums Echoes and Words of a Mountain. His ties with Paris also continued and here he produced Fela Ransome Kuti and was the music director and composer of the Bastille Day Centennial celebrations in 1988. He moved to Normandy, France, where he still resides and works with many African popular artists, composes film scores that have included Kiss of the Spider Woman, Countryman, Third World Cop and Lunatic and has taken up acting.

Gibson Brothers recordings
Heaven (Alex Francfort/Daniel Vangarde )
Ooh! What a Life (Daniel Vangarde/Alex Francfort )
Que Sera Mi Vida (Daniel Vangarde/Jean Kluger/Nellie Byl )
You (Alex Francfort/Daniel Vangarde/Nellie Byl )

M recordings
Pop Muzik (Robin Scott)
M Factor (Robin Scott)

Here he is on the keyboards….