Monday, 29 May 2023

Ernie's African Odyssey Pt. 3 - Benin

We are at stop 3 of our 55 country musical tour of Africa. Today we are in the West African country of Benin, formerly known as Dahomey - as was I when I used to hang out with da youths. 

There can be no dispute that Angélique Kidjo is Benin's biggest musical export so it is only right that we start with her. This track is from her 1991 album "Logozo", which was the first time she starting attracting international attention.

As good as Ms Kidjo is, for me Benin's best has to be Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, one of the funkiest bands ever to strut their stuff. They were originally around from 1969 to 1989, but reformed in 2010 after a series of reissues on the Analog Africa label found them a new audience. I was lucky enough to see them live in 2017 and, to quote Lenny Zakatek of Gonzalez, I haven't stopped dancing yet.

The late 1960s and 1970s were a bit of a vintage period for Beninese bands. As well as the Poly-Rythmo boys you could wig out to the likes of Orchestre Super Borgou de Parakou, Gnossas Pedro et Ses Dadjés and today's third selection, El Rego et Ses Commandos.

The last two tracks bring us more up to date. First we have Togbe Adjos who, according to the blurb, "combines ancient West African Vodun percussion with modern global influences". This tune is from his 2020 album "Maman Tchamba", available on Bandcamp for the bargain price of €5. Then we round things off with some Mandatory African Reggae courtesy of Yaya Yaovi. If ever a name was designed to be chanted at football matches it is his.

"Ewa Ka Djo" - Angélique Kidjo

"Houzou Houzou Wa" - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

"Feeling You Got" - El Rego et Ses Commandos

"Sakpata" - Togbe Adjos

"Adjaka" - Yaya Yaovi


  1. Another top notch tourist information notice, Ernie. All excellent and additional love for the MAR contribution from Yaya Yaovi. Have a great day!

    1. Thanks. More MAR to come next week, plus a fine example of a musical style you may not necessarily associate with Botswana.

  2. That Stan Tohon track has got a great groove. The MAR track also very enjoyable

  3. I got an Angélique Kidjo album in a Pitlochry Charity shop