Legends Of Benin
2014 repress. Analog Africa presents Legends Of Benin, a collection of super-rare and highly danceable masterpieces recorded between 1969-1981 by four legendary composers from Benin: Gnonnas Pedro, Antoine Dougbé, El Rego et Ses Commandos and Honoré Avolonto, each with a sound all their own. What you are about to hear is distinctively Benin -- a thick brew of agbadja, soul, cavacha, funk, Afrobeat, and Afro-Latin sounds all mixed in with heavy traditional rhythms. Gnonnas Pedro is the king of modern agbadja: a rhythm hugely popular in Togo, Benin and Ghana, based around three pieces of percussion, each with a different tone. Traditionally a rhythm used during burial ceremonies, Gnonnas adopted and modernized it in the mid-'60s, calling it "Agbadja Modern." The track "Dadje Von O Von Non" was originally recorded in 1966 and is Gnonna's first modern rendition of agbadja. Also featured here is the crazy, kick-ass funk track "Okpo Videa Bassouo" recorded in 1973, as well as the sublimely contagious track, "La Musica en Verité." Honoré Avolonto was one of Benin's most prolific composers, releasing Benin's most successful LP in the late '70s. That album was recorded with Black Santiago, a band fronted by amazing trumpeter Ignace De Souza, another legend, with whom he recorded the Afrobeat track, "Dou Dagbe We." Avolonto has fronted some of Benin's most powerful bands and some of those "partnerships" with Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and Les Commandos are presented here. Beware -- killer Afrobeat meets frenetic funk. El Rego et Ses Commandos were responsible for Benin's first Afro-soul-funk track with the support of Ghanean singer, Eddy Black Power. The "Jerk" scene in Benin was triggered by the success of "Feeling You Got," and its infectious accordion riff. "E Nan Mian Nuku" is an Afro-Latin tune combined with a kind of bossa nova, and "Vimado Wingnan" is Benin's most sought-after funk track. Out of all the artists here, Antoine Dougbé is the least known even in Benin, but he created his own style which he dubbed Afro cavacha -- a fantastic mixture of Congolese rhumba, Latin sounds and traditional vodoun rhythms. All of his vinyl releases, especially the ones released on his own Editions Dougbé Antoine label, are incredible and have become some of Africa's most sought-after collector's items. This compilation includes a 44-page, full-color booklet with ultra-rare pictures and detailed biographies. Enjoy the mind-blowing sounds of Benin.