Cotonou Club (Strut Records, 2011 )
Cononou Club is Orchestre Poly-Rythmo first new album in over 20 years. The legendary band from Benin is back with its seductive mix of voodoo-fueled Beninese rhythms, funk and Afrobeat.
The band’s reputation in the West grew thanks to various compilations such as a 2004 Soundway compilation of archive classics and rarities followed by two 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. Poly-Rythmo is 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 their music to major UK arts centers and the WOMAD festival to Lincoln Center in New York.
Cotonou Club was recorded in Paris and produced by Maillot. The material includes new versions of the band’s classic songs, including the West African hit ‘Gbeti Madjro’, and new compositions. Guest appearances include felow Beninese African superstar Angelique Kidjo, Fatoumata Diawara and Paul Thomson and Nick McCarthy from indie rock band Franz Ferdinand, who are huge fans of Poly-Rythmo.
The album is available in four formats – a two-disk limited edition, a single CD version, a 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.
Cotonou Club is a winning mix of fiery rhythms and infectious songs by one of the legendary bands of Benin.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.