Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou: Madjafalao


This is surely going to go down as a classic in world music. It’s ace.

Poly Rythmo are from Benin and play afrobeat, funk, soukous and other styles, often based on religious music rhythms. They formed in 1966 and recorded around 500 songs between the late 1960s and early 1980s. We came across them via a compilation on Analog Africa, which brought their music back to world attention.

With 50 years under their belt, Poly Rythmo long since notched up the 10,000 hours necessary to become world-class (under Malcolm Gladwell’s rule), so the performance itself is superb, with mastery of instruments and rhythms.

They sing in French, which takes away the pressure of bothering with lyrics and makes the vocals just part of the overall sound.

It’s all good but the best thing about the album is the vibe: it’s warm and sunny, and has a cool feel. The religious side means the music is meant to get the listener in a trance and while it doesn’t do that, it does chill you out most considerably.

The CD comes with a poster booklet, in French but with nice photos.

Poly linko:

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