The Orchestre Poly-Rythmo of Cotonou brings close to 50 years of existence, mixing Funk, Soul, and Afrobeat with Voodoo rythms of Benin. Even if they have performed along with the greatest african stars as Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango or Miriam Makeba, the Orchestra had never went out of Africa before 2007.
Thanks to a vivid musical scene and labels like ANALOG AFRICA who re-released some of the bands best albums Orchestre Poly Rhythmo De Cotonou is now known to a wide european and international audience. This summer the band is finally touring through Europe to spread their incredible musical heritage.
The creator of a unique and fascinating sound, the Poly-Rythmo is one of Africa’s biggest orchestras, for whom the term polyrhythm is not used in vain. The author of hundreds of recordings, this orchestra is one of the continent’s most prolific, as is the Congolese OK Jazz, the only possible rival in terms of published records. After five decades, the Poly-Rythmo is the oldest active African orchestra.
Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, the formation structured itself around influences originating from traditional Beninese music, American soul and funk, Nigerian afrobeat, Congolese rumba, Ghanaian high-life, French pop and Afro-Cuban rhythms. The conductor, Mélomé Clément, chose the term Poly-Rythmo because of the great variety of rhythms they mastered and played.
The themes of the lyrics broach subjects such as the evolution of Beninese society and its ills, as well as the complexities of love. Despite strong competition from the other formations of the fertile Beninese music scene, the Poly-Rythmo rapidly rose to the top of the modern African orchestras. From 1969 to the mid-1980’s, the orchestra published hundreds of EPs and dozens of albums.
Orchestre Poly Rythmo De Cotonou (Benin)
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