Famed French-Beninese keyboardist Wally Badarou shares highlights from the decades of funk-infused bubblers he’s helped birth.
Paris-born musician Wally Badarou spent much of his youth living in Benin, where he absorbed African music alongside American funk and soul beamed through local airwaves. While his specific physical surroundings influenced him, Badarou was equally inspired by deeper zones — both astral constellations and emotional landscapes. He channeled his love for science and aeronautics into a synthesizer-driven studio approach that focused on navigating these inner and outer spaces. As a member of the Compass Point All Stars, alongside Sly & Robbie, Mikey Chung, Uziah “Sticky” Thompson and Barry Reynolds, Badarou infused records by Grace Jones, Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Tom Tom Club with deeply funky dub energy. It was during his 14-year stint at Chris Blackwell’s Nassau-based Compass Point Studios that Wally befriended sound engineer and producer Alex Sadkin. Though he passed away far too young, Sadkin helped shape a string of huge pop hits, often with Badarou on the keys. On this episode of Open End, Wally joins Frosty to present a tribute to Sadkin’s work and an offering of his own tunes that showcase his signature synthesizer soul.