Vincent Ahehehinnou - Lead Singer
Release Date October 26th, 2009
Four years in the making, Analog Africa finally presents the second volume of Africa's funkiest band, the mythical
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.
What had started as a children entertainment group became one of the greatest bands of their era. Volume One was a collection of amazing LO-Fi recordings produced for various labels around Benin. Volume Two showcases superbly recorded tracks, courtesy of the EMI studios in Lagos, one of the best studios in the region. All tracks here were recorded for the mighty Albarika Store label and its enigmatic producer, Adissa Seidou.
The idea for this compilation was born 5 years ago when Samy Ben Redjeb, founder and compiler of Analog Africa, received the addictive funk track Malin Kpon O released in 1975 on the Albarika Store Label. That discovery triggered the compilers curiosity and what followed was a long journey through the musical history of Benin and the history of its most important ambassador, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.
The 4 year journey involved criss-crossing Benin, Togo and Niger trying to lay hands on the bands recording output which was found in record stocks and had laid untouched for a quarter of a century, reviewing reels and master tapes at the headquarters of Albarika Store, conducting interviews with all the living members of the band, searching for pictures of the Orchestra and licensing the music from the composers and producer. The result: approximately 100 pictures, 120 master tapes, 20 hours of interviews and a few hundred Orchestre Poly-Rythmo vinyl records - 500 songs in total - some of which were previously unreleased.
(Copyright 2009 - Analog Africa )
Almost half of those tunes were recorded for Benin's No.1 label - Albarika Store.
15 out of 200 tracks were carefully selected for this compilation which comes with a massive 44 page-booklet stuffed with amazing pictures of the band and its members, a complete discography and a biography tracing the history of the bands from its foundation as Groupe Meloclem in 1964 via Sunny Blacks band (1965), Orchestre Poly-Disco (1966), El Ritmo (1967) and finally Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou in 1968.
During the period presented here - 1969 to 1979 - the mighty Orchestra was without any doubt one of Africa's most innovative group. Capable of playing any style of music, the band moved from Traditional Vodoun Rhythms to Funk, Salsa or Afro-beat seamlessly and quickly became the powerhouse of Benin's music scene, backing most of Africa's stars touring the country such as Manu Dibango, Ernesto Djedje, Bella Bellow as well as supporting an array of local composers such as Honore Avolonto, Antoine Dougbé and Danialou Sagbohan.
Given the size of the tiny country one could think that Poly-Rythmo must have been too big a fish for such a small pond, but the more one understands Benin's culture and traditions the more it appears that a phenomenon such as Orchestre Poly-Rythmo couldn't have happened anywhere else. Some of the planets most exciting rhythms are related to the complex Vodoun Religion born in Benin. Those rhythms, supported by chants and dances, have been transmitted from generation to generation and are still being performed to this date - a few hundred years after they were created. The composers and arrangers of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo understood that they were surrounded by a gold mine of inspirational sounds which, if modernised and mixed in with whatever was in fashion at that particular moment, could have a strong impact on the urban population.
(Copyright 2009 - Analog Africa )
Those astonishing combinations can be heard here: Afro-Beat, Sato, Funk, Sakpata, Psychedelia and Latin sounds all mixed into a heavy hypnotic Sound - Les Echos Hypnotiques.
"Drums, bells and horns are the fundamental instruments used during our traditional Vodoun rituals - we added guitars and Organs - we modernised those ancients rhythms and combined them with western genres that were on vogue at that time".
Melome Clement - Founder of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo
1. Se Ba Ho
2. Mi Ve Wa Se http://www.myspace.com/analogafrica
3. Azon De Ma Gnin Kpevi
4. Noude Ma Gnin Tche De Me
5. Ahouli Vou Yelli
6. Gan Tche Kpo
7. Malin Kpon O http://www.myspace.com/analogafrica
8. Mede Ma Gnin Messe
9. Agnon Dekpe
10. Zizi http://www.myspace.com/analogafrica
11. Ma Dou Sou Nou Mio
13. Houe Djein Nada
14. Minkou E So Non Moin
ALL TRACKS OFFICIALLY LICENSED