Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Music By Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou (Benin, West Africa)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases seven recordings by Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou. Information about that Beninese band is also provided in this post.

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purpose.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou are a band from Benin, which plays Afrobeat, Funk, Soukous and other styles, often based on Vodun ryhtmns. Active since the late 1960s, and having recorded around 500 songs, they are still touring around the world today, playing in venues such as London's Barbican Centre. Compilations of their work have recently been issued through Analog Africa, Soundway Records and Popular African Music."
"Contonou" is the largest city in Benin, West Africa.

Additional information about Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou can be found in the uploader's comment from the sound file that is given in this post as Example #1. Also, read the band's biography (written in French but with translation options) on the group's official website

(These musical examples are presented in no particular order.)

Example #1: Orchestre Poly Rythmo De Cotonou - Mi Ni Non Kpo

mojorisings,Uploaded on May 23, 2009

"Benin lies on the West coast of Africa and butts up against Nigeria in the south, Niger in the east, and equally tiny Togo to the north. What distinguishes Benin from its neighbours is the fact that it happens to be home to Vodoun - or as we know it over here Voodoo. So it should be no surprise that the popular music of Benin draws heavily upon the rhythms of Vodoun rituals, but what is surprising is the other influences that have come into play. The Vodoun Effect: Funk & Sato From Benin's Obscure Labels 1973-1975 a recent release on the Analog Africa from Germany, that has collected together fourteen tracks by one of Benin's most popular bands, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Recorded in the 1970s on a variety of small independent labels, they show not only the Vodoun influence but how music from both South and North America found its way back across the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the publicity material that came with the disc, in the late 19th century a group of freed slaves from Brazil returned to Benin and over the years their dances and songs were incorporated into Beninese ritual, and from there worked their way into the popular culture. In the 1960s and 1970s American soul and funk music started making its presence felt in Africa, and along with the sounds of pop music from neighbouring Nigeria were assimilated into the popular music scene in Benin."

Example #2: T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo - Hwe Towe Hun

reedumful, Uploaded on Jun 2, 2010

An absolutely brilliant track from The Kings of Benin Urban Groove 1972-80 release. This is a heavy one!...

Example #3: T.P.Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de -Zizi

DonVan58, Uploaded on Jun 30, 2011

Zizi -T.P.Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.Benin
1983. language: Fon
Update 2/14/2013- This information was posted to this sound file's YouTube viewer comment thread in response to my request for more information:
From koffitoss - 2/14/2013
"Zizi" is the name of the girl he's singing abt.basically.he is in love with her and that had made some people he is tellin did you hear and what people are doin to me.if I wasn't careful they would hav killed me coz of u.They try to kill me but "zizi" is today in my home(in order words marry to me).he is also talkin abt been chased by snake when he goes to the market coz of "Ojoujou" (which is a mystic way of killin someone mostly west African stuff). hope this help!"
Thanks Koffitoss!

Example #4: Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou "Se Ba Ho"

AnalogAfrica,Uploaded on Mar 26, 2010

"Se Ba Ho" is the opening track from the new Poly-Rythmo compilation "Echos Hypnotiques". It is without doubt one of the most powerful "Sato" tracks ever recorded (Sato is a vodoun rhythm played during burial ceremonies) . I hope you´ll enjoy – Samy

Example #5: Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou -- Minkou E So Non Moin

zimgonner, Uploaded on Mar 11, 2011

Funky instrumentation, haunting vocals.

Example #6: Benin: Zoundegnon Bernard (T P Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou) - Mille Fois Merci

Agbaataaa, Published on Jul 13, 2012

Juste pour la promotion des oeuvres de l'artiste ,de la musique Beninoise voire Dahomeenne et non pour une cause pecuniaire.
En voici une autre des merveilles en matiere de discographie du feu Zoundegnon Bernard alias " Papillon ",principal guitariste du groupe
My French is barely rudimentary, but I believe that the statement above indicates that this is recording is for promotional purposes and it features Zoundegnon Bernard (also known as "Papillon") who is the group's principal guitarist.

Example #7: T.P. Orchestre Poly Rythmo - Dety Motema

soukousman Uploaded on Jan 19, 2012

Brilliant composition by Theo Blaise Kounkou he spent an year in T.P. Orchestre Poly Rythmo before joining Sam Mangwana, Lokassa Ya M'Bongo and others in the band African All Stars (1977).
In response to my request for information about this song, the sound file uploader soukousman wrote that Theo Blaise Kounkou is from Congo DRC and also that he is singing in Lingala.

Soukousman indicated that he only knew a little bit of Lingala and that he would share additional information about this song if he learned more about it.

Thanks, Soukousman!

My thanks to the musicians & vocalists of Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou. Thanks to those who provided information about this group, and thanks to those who uploaded these sound files.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

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