Legendary Beninese band Orchestre Poly-Rythmo will release its new album Cotonou Club in March 2011. The band will be touring in Spring 2011.
Recorded in Paris and produced by Maillot, Cotonou Club is the band’s first new album in over 20 years, a celebration of the Poly-Rythmo sound with new versions of the band’s classics, including massive West African hit ‘Gbeti Madjro’, and a host of new compositions.
Guest appearances include African superstar Angelique Kidjo, who began her career in Poly-Rythmo’s backyard, new World Circuit signing Fatoumata Diawara and Paul Thomson and Nick McCarthy from indie favourites Franz Ferdinand, both huge fans of the group’s sound. “We have become big fans of this Benin band. They have a completely unique sound, so funky, so soul and voudoo!,” said Franz Ferdinand.
The album will be released in four formats – two-disk limited edition, single CD version, double LP gatefold and digital. The limited two disk edition features an exclusive bonus film documenting their new recording sessions and following them band as they undertake their first ever international tour across Europe, USA and Brazil. The bonus disk also includes alternative album mixes and live recordings.
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo are national institutions in Benin, West Africa. Formed during the late 1960s, they soundtracked the years following Benin’s independence under Kerekou’s Leninist – Marxist regime, whipping up a groundbreaking fusion of traditional highlife, Afrobeat, soul, funk and the indigenous styles and voodoo-led traditions of their homeland.
Their songs touched on all of their national languages – the mina French dialect, Fon and Yoruba – and confidently referenced a broad range of international music from James Brown to French rock and roller Johnny Halliday. As well as forging their own success, they were the first port of call to back many of West Africa’s greatest artists, from Gnonnas Pedro to Manu Dibango and Bembeya Jazz.
The band’s reputation began spreading to Western audiences in 2004 through a breathtaking Soundway compilation of archive classics and rarities followed by two sumptuous collections on Analog Africa. Around the same time, French radio producer Elodie Maillot (Radio France, Vibrations, Mondomix) began seeking out the original band members in Benin. After a memorable radio interview, the musicians asked her to help them achieve their dream – to play once in a lifetime outside of Africa.
Since then, the band has reformed, now a 10-piece featuring five original members from the very first ‘60s incarnation, two from the mid-‘70s line-up and three new members. They have played many high profile concerts, bringing the infectious Poly-Rythmo sonic melting pot to a whole new generation of fans.
- In North America: Echos Hypnotiques 2, Rhythmo De Cotonou 1: Vodoun Effect, Kings of Benin Urban Groove 1972-80
- In Europe: Echoes Hypnotiques Vol.2; From the Vaults of Albarika Store 1969-1979, The Vodoun Effect: Funk and Sato from Benin’s Obscure Labels 1973-1975, The Kings of Urban Groove 1972-1980