Visit Citebite Deep link provided by Citebite
Close this shade

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ANALOG AFRICA No.4 - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

"The Vodoun Effect" 1972-1975
Funk & Sato from Benin´s Obscure Labels
14 tracks compilation available on CD and double vinyl (Release Date November 3rd)

Few sentences to announce the release of my 4th Compilation. I have been working on this project for a very long time and I must admit its a dream becoming reality now.
It will see day-light on November 3rd in the UK and World-Wide on November 21st!! The CD comes with a MASSIVE 44 pages booklet containing super rare pictures of the band and obscure record covers.

It will be available on October 20th exclusively from Analog Africa, two weeks before the official release date in the UK. If you would like to purchase your copy contact me here:

Spread the Word and MANY THANKS for the support!!

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou is arguably West Africa’s best-kept secret. Their output, both in quantity and quality, was astonishing. During several trips to Benin, Samy Ben Redjeb managed to collect roughly 500 songs which Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou had recorded between 1970 and 1983. With so much material to choose from Samy decided to split it into Volume 1 and 2.

While Volume 2 will be material the band recorded under an exclusive contract with the label Albarika Store, the band also “secretly” recorded with an array of smaller labels based around Cotonou, Benin’s largest city, and Porto Novo,
the capital city of Benin Republic. It is those tracks (all officially licensed) that are presented here on Volume 1.
The producers of those labels were genuine music enthusiasts, some of them, ran these labels as a part time occupation, with very limited budgets. They couldn’t afford high-quality recordings - all they had to work with was a Nagra (a Swiss made reel-to-reel recorder) and a sound engineer - courtesy of the national radio station. These sessions were recorded in private homes using just one or two microphones.

The cultural and spiritual riches of traditional Beninese music had an immense impact on the sound of Benin’s modern music. Benin is the birthplace of Vodun (also Vodoun, or, as it is known in the West, Voodoo), a religion which involves the worship of some 250 sacred divinities. The rituals used to pay tributes to those divinities are always backed by music. The majority of the complex poly-rhythms of the vodun are still more or less secret and difficult to decipher, even for an accomplished musician. Anthropologists and ethnomusicologists agree that this religion constitutes the principal cultural bridge between Africa and all its Diasporas of the New World and in a reflection of the power and influence of these sounds many of the complex rhythms were to have a profound impact on the other side of the Atlantic on rhythms as popular as Blues, Jazz, Cuban and Brazilian music.

Two Vodun rhythms dominate the music of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo:
Sato, an amazing, energetic rhythm performed using an immense vertical drum, and Sakpata, a rhythm dedicated to the divinity who protects people from smallpox. Both rhythms are represented here mixed in with Funk, Soul, Crazy organ sounds and Psychedelic guitar riffs. Bandleader Melome Clement explains: “Sato is a traditional rhythm derived from Vodun. It is used in Benin during annual rituals in memory of the dead; you can’t just play Sato at any given time. Sato is also the name of a drum which is used during the ceremonies. It’s huge: about 175 centimeters high. The drummers, armed with sticks, dance around it and hit it all at the same time. It’s very coordinated. The Sato drummers are backed by an orchestra of smaller drums and shakers. We also did some modern versions of a Vodun rhythm called Sakpata. ‘Mi Ni Non Kpo’ and ‘Houi Djein Na Da’ are Sakpatas, which in Fon means "god of the Earth".

None of these tracks (except one –Mawa Mon Nou Mio) has been distributed outside Benin before. These obscure coastal labels had a small distribution range, that barely reached beyond the outskirts of Cotonou or Porto Novo. Because of financial considerations most, if not all, of these recordings had very limited pressings that rarely exceeded one thousand copies total and many labels rarely produced more than 500 copies of any given record.
The music in this compilation is not only extremely rare, but illustrates how Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo with the support of a number of local record labels, thrived by mixing the coolest parts of funk, soul, latin and vodun rhythms into a new sound that not only reflected the musical culture and heritage of Benin, but also transformed it and turned the small country into such an incredible musical melting pot.

n the 44-page booklet, full of rare photographs and record covers, Analog Africa introduces three important producers who were collectively responsible for some of the most amazing music released in Benin: Gratien K. Aissy of the Echos Sonores du Dahomey label, Bernard Dohounzo of Disques Tropiques, Lawani Affissoulayi of Aux Ecoutes (the label behind El Rego & Ses Commandos’s fame) as well as en encounter in Niamey with Honliasso Barnabé, Poly-Rythmo´s Producer in Niger. Samy Ben Redjeb also interviewed Vincent Ahehehinnou, the man responsible for composing some of the funkiest stuff ever to come out of Benin, and Kineffo Michel, the sound engineer of Poly-Rythmo’s legendary Nagra "home" recordings.

This fourth Analog Africa release of forgotten musical gems from 70s Africa was once again lovingly compiled by label boss and vinyl collector Samy Ben Redjeb, driven by the wish to keep this extraordinary music alive.

(Some tracks can be heard in full HERE)

1. Mi Homlan Dadalé
2. Assibavi
3. Se We Non Nan
4. Ako Ba Ho
5. Mi Ni Non Kpo
6. Se Tche We Djo Mon
7. Dis Moi La Verité
8. Nouessename
9. Iya Me Dji Ki Bi Ni
10. Akoue Tche We Gni Medjome
11. Nou De Ma Do Vo
12. Koutoulie
13. Kourougninda Wende
14. Mawa Mon Nou Mio


Ntwiga said...

Oh mama, that is some sweet cover art!

Off to listen to the tracks! Thanks!

- Steve

ReeBee said...

It was for a long time that I waited for this moment!!
I have already ordered the cd.

Cyril said...

Hallo Samy,
Just Fan-ta-stic ! I can't wait listen to the record and read the 44 pages booklet... you made my day.
Many thanks for your work.

MrC said...

great work (as always) ... i wish i had your job/life! ;) ... i look forward to recieving my copy & enjoying the experience.

MrC ;)

Analog Africa said...

Hey Mrc, I wish I had your writing skills!! I read few of your poems...crazy stuff! Bless.

Oro said...

Nom de Dieu,

where can i buy your compilation? I am a bif fan of polyrythmo. I have been working with them in 2005 and I am preparing a documentary about their great legend. I hope you you could give me ideas for the script because you know much more about them than i do. Thank you again for your work.


Analog Africa said...

Salut Oro, contactes moi a cette adresse:
et Merci pour ton message, ca fait plaisir!!

Pieter said...

Encore une excellente compilation, Samy! Tu arrives toujours a sortir des trucs introuvables, et les entoures avec des histoires/images incroyables.

Merci! Je serai en Europe quelques jours en Decembre. J'espere trouver la compil en Belgique.

Pieter said...

Encore une excellente compilation, Samy! Tu arrives toujours a sortir des trucs introuvables, et les entoures avec des histoires/images incroyables.

Merci! Je serai en Europe quelques jours en Decembre. J'espere trouver la compil en Belgique.

Marcin said...

Hey, it's Polish support your marvelous compilation: cheers

Pieter said...

Hallo Analoge Afrika,

Im diggin the analoge Afrika's cd's!
Keep m comin..very nice, yes.

Sam Telford said...

this is such a great record. along with your others! can't wait for volume 2... any idea when that may surface? and extra praise for the packaging which is really beautiful and informative to boot!


Anonymous said...

When will it be available on the black stuff (vinyl!)?

Your vinyl releases have been the best of any of the recent re-issuers. Fantastic.

ReeBee said...

The "The Vodoun Effect 1972-1975" it has arrived. My ears are happy! Thanks.

Nik said...


There's some great music being uncovered on your blog, thanks. It may seem like a stupid question but can I just confirm that Orchestre Poly-rythmo De Cotonou are the same band as TP Orchestre Poly-Rythmo whose music appeared on the excellent album The Kings of Benin Urban Groove released on Soundway Records a couple of years ago.

Analog Africa said...

Hi Nick, all cool.
Its the same band. The TP stands for "Tout Puissant". That was added to the bands name in the late 70s when they started playing soukous/rumba oriented music. I prefere the original name which ich Orcheste Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey to be exact. I left Dahomey out...too long and too confusing!!