02/06/2017Benin's Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Brings Its Extensive Body Of Work To Europe

50 years are no joke, that's like half a century or something and that's exactly how long Benin's almighty Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou has speerheaded the worldwide afrobeat movement. Ironically enough, even though this potent polyrhythmic ensemble has played with Africa's biggest stars, including Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango or Miriam Makeba, they never performed abroad up until 2007. Thanks to a vibrant and flourishing world music scene and labels such as ANALOG AFRICA, who went on to release some of the group's most prominent works, Le Tout-Pouissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou went on to gain well-deserved international acclaim.

The prolific ensemble is one of the continent's largest and officially the longest active African formation with hundreds of EPs and dozens of albums to its name. Back in the '60s and '70s the group began creating music by blending traditional sounds and voodoo rhythms from Benin with influences ranging from American soul and funk, Nigerian afrobeat, Congolese rumba and Ghanaian high-life to French pop and afro-Cuban rhythms. The late conductor and band leader Mélomé Clément chose the term polyrhythmic, as it best described the group's inexhaustible versatility.

This summer sees the legendary Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo De Cotonou tour Europe, along with their 2016-released longplayer "Madjafalao" (via Because Music). On June 11th they'll be playing live in Berlin for the very first time. Check our FB page next week for a chance to win some tickets. In the meantime here's title track "Madjafalao" for your listening and viewing pleasure. You should also check out the driving Cerrone 4x4 remix in the SoundCloud player above!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom