Jan 4, 2011

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

Unfortunately political realities in Benin had left the Tout Puissant Orchestre Poly Rythmo bereft of international recognition, while big bands like Super Rail Band or Orchestra Baobab enjoyed a rebirth… But Poly Rythmo has always been recognised as one of the best orchestras in Africa, so much that the former leader of Super Rail Band in Bamako, Tidiani Kone, left his job in Mali to join the fabulous Poly Rythmo in the seventies.

Their repertoire draws inspiration from the regional poly-rhythmic blend called Sato or Sakpata, original Voodoo beats, which are married with the funk left behind by James Brown’s African tours. Their voices, brass section, guitar and percussion weaved together to crystallise a golden age in this musically-fertile nation. Most of their 500 songs were recorded live with a couple of microphones and a Swiss-made Nagra reel-to-reel tape machine. The studio was a living room in the noisy neighbourhood near Cotonou’s airport.



I think Frank's (http://www.voodoofunk.blogspot.com) travel and digging reports played quite a role for my growing interest in West African music. I always liked the mixes he put online but at the same time I was not too confident to ever find any of these records as I don't live in Western Africa and I don't have the money to pay ebay prices. Today I was lucky at a record fair though. I didn't find too much info online about this album. Everything that I found out is that it's not an African but an American pressing and it usually seems to have a heavy price tag. I couldn't even find out the release date. However it is a great album. Check out the beautiful Afro funk tune "Ne te faches pas" and the less funky but equally great "Aldin gbanzon".



1. Ne Te Faches Pas
2. Adin Gbanzon
3. Sêmassa (Zéro + Zéro)
4. Belle Belle

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