Star Feminine Band


Without warning, a group of young girls from a remote region of Benin is shaking up the world of garage rock with breathtaking freshness, ingenuity and energy, playing spot-on, loud and clear. A musician named André Baleguemon decided to form an exclusively female band rooted in the concerns of its time. He puts the spotlight on the guitar, drums, and keyboard, instruments he has admired since his childhood, symbols of modernity in this remote region. Originally from Tchaourou, a vast commune located in central eastern Benin, André Balaguemon developed a passion for music at a very young age. During the 1990s, he joined the Sam 11 Orchestra in Parakou, in the northeastern part of the country. In 1999, he spent some time in Cotonou before settling in the northwest, in order to reconnect with his roots and musical passions. On July 25th, 2016, with the support of the city of Natitingou, André launched a press release on Nanto FM offering to help train girls in music for free. Since the independence era, having your own instruments has always been the prerequisite of any self-respected African orchestra. The girls have already performed dozens of concerts in the region, forging and expanding an already solid repertoire, while attracting an ever-increasing local audience. In addition to musical progress, he has been personally involved with each family, showing them the importance of his project, both musically and humanly and in particular the fact that each girl must remain in school and not be forced into marriage. There are very few female bands in the history of popular African music. If the Amazones de Guinée, la Famille Bassavé, and les Colombes de la Révolution in Burkina, the Soeurs Comoë in Ivory Coast or the Lijadu Sisters in Nigeria notably come to mind, Star Feminine Band has no equivalent in Benin. The originality, carefree attitude, freedom, and above all the talent of these young girls is undeniable. At the end of 2018, their encounter with the young French sound engineer Jérémie Verdier accelerated the course of things. On a mission in the region, he called on his Spanish friends Juan Toran and Juan Serra who showed up with their recording equipment in order to record the band's first songs in the annex of the local museum. Random encounters and fate led Jean-Baptiste Guillot to hear the tapes. CD version includes 36-page booklet.