sthmatic Kitty is very pleased to introduce you to Hermas Zoupula and announce that we will be releasing his debut album, Espoir, on May 19th, 2009. Hermas is many things. He is the youngest of 36 children. Born in a small village named Yoro, he is Burkinabe, a citizen and resident of Burkina Faso, West Africa. He is a moped enthusiast, orphanage volunteer, and internet cafe proprietor. Hermas is also a psalmist, and Espoir is his first international recording. Hermas sings in four different languages on the album: French, English, Dioula, and Sissali (Hermas’ mother tongue). The only way to introduce Hermas’ sound was to release Espoir as a two disc set. The first disc, recorded in a government studio in Burkina Faso, presents a refined and practiced Hermas. But the Hermas on the second disc is the one most Burkinabes know, just him and his guitar in his backyard. Comparisons to singer/song-writer Seu Jorge are inevitable, but listeners will find Hermas’ voice sweeter and warmer. Other audible influences in Hermas’ music are Afro-pop pioneer Thomas Mapfumo and Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra.

See a video of Hermas in the studio during the recording of balafon parts for Espoir here or by clicking more.

Also, in honor of this release we would like to take time to orientate you to the wonders and beauty of Burkina Faso culture. Click here to launch "FASOCAST – Sounds From Burkina Faso" on AKradio, compiled by Jonathan Dueck, the album’s cover artist. You can read a track-by-track commentary by Dueck on the Sidebar right here.