Asthmatic Kitty friend and visual artist Jonathan Dueck introduces Hermas:
“In November 2005 my wife Heather and I left our comfortable home in Calgary, Alberta for the very unfamiliar country of Burkina Faso in West Africa. We spent six months of our lives there. We were fortunate enough to have a month with some friends there before we were immersed more fully into life in Burkina Faso. It is through these friends that we came to meet one of the kindest, warmest, and funniest people we have ever met in Hermas Zopoula. This man was essential to our survival in Burkina for those first few months of initiation. He navigated us around the capital city of Ouagadougou, showing us the best places to buy produce, clothing, and entertainment. He was also instrumental in the negotiation of our rented house in a small town called Leo. Even when I was in the hospital with malaria, Hermas drove his moped across the city to take Heather to our hotel so she wouldn’t have to brave a taxi alone in the middle of the night.
Once we learned to be more self-sufficient in this strange land, we became very good friends with Hermas. We would visit him every time we came into Ouagadougou often sharing a cold “coka” with him at an outdoor vendor. One particular instance we came to his home and he was sitting on his concrete patio playing a guitar. With his trademark smile he looked at us and performed a song that he was writing. It was beautiful and from the heart, full of warmth and hope. When we learned of his plans of recording one day we knew that we had to be a part of it.
Hermas Zopoula, the youngest of 36 siblings, was born the small village of Yoro in Burkina Faso, West Africa. His family is the descendent of the Sissali griot Gouaka Djoua, and it is from him that Hermas has inherited, “the voice of the musicians.” While the rest of Burkina Faso’s musical youth have been out chasing the latest trends in hip-hop, reggae, and “musiques chaudes,” Zopoula has been crafting his balance of traditional songwriting with a more modern vision since he was old enough to hold a guitar. Zopoula incorporates the guitar, balafone, and female back-up singers to write very personal and powerful songs of redemption and hope in the midst of struggle.”