Afro Latin Via Cotonou

Afro Latin Via Cotonou

     
 

Syllart Productions' Via series began auspiciously with the illustriously annotated, gorgeously presented double-disc sets Afro Latin Via Dakar (capital city of Senegal) and Afro Latin Via Kinshasa (capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). These volumes showcased the transcultural exchange between the music of Cuba and…  See more details below

Overview

Syllart Productions' Via series began auspiciously with the illustriously annotated, gorgeously presented double-disc sets Afro Latin Via Dakar (capital city of Senegal) and Afro Latin Via Kinshasa (capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). These volumes showcased the transcultural exchange between the music of Cuba and the Caribbean with the Atlantic Coast of the African continent. While these two regions were the most obvious places to begin, Syllart continues its exposition here in Via Cotonou, the largest city in Benin. Cuban music is one of the strongest influences on African music -- via records -- in large part owing to the previous exodus of African slaves to both the Caribbean and America, creating strong linkages and lineages between the Afro-Cuban population and those nations on Africa's West Coast. The music on this volume, though it commences in the middle of the 1960s, sounds more modern than on Via Conakry, the volume released simultaneously with this one. This is perhaps because Benin in particular had a near century-long exposure to the music of Cuba because it had record players first and its own indigenous bands played their own rhythmic form of the rumba. The other reason is the prevalence of early electric keyboards. These are heard as early as 1966 in "Yiryini Boum," by the best-known singer in Cotonou's history, Gnonnas Pedro. Check out the contrapuntal montuno lines played on the electric piano as rhythmic patterns from rumba and merengue merge with ska-like backbeats. The great, widely celebrated Poly-Rythmo also hail from Contonou and are here represented by the stellar "Le Silence N'est Pas un Oubli" and "Kissi Noumi," the former a bugalu and the latter a son. Disc two begins downright funky in the early '70s with Les Volcans du Bénin on "Oye Ka Jojo (which sounds like a cross between salsa's fierce piano montunos, stridently arranged, punchy horns, and Fela's Afro-funk) before moving back into more recognizable terrain with beautiful folk songs like Negros Jazz de Cotonou's "Vi Vo," with its clave rhythms and snaky guitars; the steppin' bugalu of Poly-Rythmo's "Sèmassa"; and the slippery, seamless line between African and Cuban music sewn by Nerose Rythm Michel Kougbab on "Amia Yaco." The historical and discographical French liner essay by Florent Mazzoleni is fascinating -- though its English translation is a bit rougher going (yet still well worth wading through) -- and the sonic representations taken from vinyl copies of these recordings are as fine as can be expected.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/16/2011
Label:
Syllart Productions
UPC:
3700426916561
catalogNumber:
3246982

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