Thirty years is a long time for a musician to perform with little recognition. Such is the case of Victor Deme. The World's Marco Werman tells us what it took for the 47 year old singer to come out with his first album.
If you are a musician from the West African nation of Burkina Faso, the first question is not "what kind of music do you play?"
The first reaction is: "you're from WHERE?!"
Burkina Faso: a landlocked nation that borders Mali to the north.
In his 30 years as a working musician, Victor Deme has battled the insecurity of coming from a place that has its own strong musical tradition.
But whose global reputation has been overshadowed by Mali's musical prowess.
When he was getting gigs in Burkina's capital Ouagadougou, Deme found that bar and cafe owners weren't interested in his music.
They wanted to hear him perform Malian music.
Si je pars dans les...
If I took my guitar to the cabarets, the owners were always asking me to play songs by Malian superstar Salif Keita. Still, I'd get a few cents here, a few cents there. Often I'd make some OK money by the end of the day. That was my life for many years.
Victor Deme kept writing songs in his notebook, like this one "djon'maya."
And his bluesy voice and guitar got a workout at a weekly open mic in the capital.
Friends urged him on, including Camille Louvel, the French owner of a local nightclub.
And soon, those friends had built a small studio for him to record this, his first album.
The studio has two rooms: a control room and the studio itself separated by a glass truck windshield.
Other artists have subsequently recorded there.
But it's Victor Deme who has become studio's success story.
Pour moi, c'est un miracle...
Deme says the whole thing is a miracle for him.
I really didn't expect any of this he says.
I'm going to have my own recording released IN Burkina, where I get to hold the copyrights for the songs so I can really make a living. I didn't believe any of that would ever happen. It's a miracle.
Last year, at the age of 46, Victor Deme put out that self-titled CD in France. It is currently only available for download in the US.
For The World, I'm Marco Werman.