ORCHESTRE SUPER BORGOU DE PARAKOU-THE BARIBA SOUND 1970-1976.

ORCHESTRE SUPER BORGOU DE PARAKOU-THE BARIBA SOUND 1970-1976.

Samy Ben Redjeb, who was born in Carthage, Tunisia, to a Tunisian father and German mother, founded Analog Africa back in 2005. Since then, Analog Africa, the Frankfurt based reissue label, have prided themselves in seeking out the best in African music. More recently, Analog Africa have started to look further afield, delving into Latin music. All the music Analog Africa release, has has never previously been released outside of Africa. This means each of these compilations is like a voyage of musical discovery. Each compilation is accompanied by in-depth, carefully researched sleeve-notes, which bring to life the stories behind the music. Analog Africa have released music from Burkina Fasso, Angola, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Indeed, it was to Benin, Analog Africa turned to for one of their compilations earlier in 2012. Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou-The Bariba Sound 1970-1976, was the fifth excursion Analog Africa had taken into Benin. It showcasing the Vodoun inspired rhythms of one of Benin’s most innovative bands, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou. The Bariba Sound 1970-1976 features fifteen progressive tracks, from the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou. During these fifteen tracks, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou seamlessly flit from Afro Beat, soul, pop, funk and Benin’s traditional music.

Head to the far north of Benin and you’ll come across the home of the Bariba and Denbi people. They originate from Kwara, a state in northwestern Nigeria. The Bariba people, who are mostly Islamic, have now settled in Borgou region, in Benin.  Parakou is region’s pulsating capital, which has played an important role in establishing Benin as one of the heartlands of the Islamic funk belt of Togo, Ghana and Benin. Indeed, during the seventies, Benin provided some of the greatest music not just coming out of the Islamic funk belt, but coming out of the African continent. If Benin was one of most important countries in African music during the seventies, then the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou were one of Benin music’s greatest exponents.

The Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou was founded by Moussa Mama, He was a musical innovator, Moussa took the music of Benin and fused it with Western music. His other influence was the music his father had heard whilst working as a goldsmith in Accra, Ghana. On his return, Moussa’s father taught others about the music he’d heard. Not only did Moussa’s father import music into Benin, but spread the word of the music he’d heard. As is often happens, music and its traditions were passed by word of mouth. Moussa’s father also imported music into Benin. Both his teachings and the music he imported into Benin, influenced both Benin’s musicians and his own son. Soon, bands were being formed, with his son Moussa forming one of Benin’s most important bands the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou. They became known as one of the most progressive, innovative bands in Benin.

Moussa Mama was a multi-instrumentalist when he formed the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou. Joining Moussa was Benin’s leading drummer Bori Borro and rhythm guitarist Menou Roch. Soon, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou were fusing traditional music with modern music. So, traditional Bariba and Dendi songs and folklore were mixed with Islamic melodies, soul, funk, jazz, and breakbeats Add to this musical melting pot, pachanga, rumba and Afro Beat. When the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou played live, the performances were captivating. 

When the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou played live, soon, their performances became legendary. It seemed that their fusion of traditional and modern music struck a chord with people. The music was pulsating, raw and infectious. Heartfelt, impassioned lyrics full of biting, social comments about the inequality and injustice suffered by the people of Benin. It wasn’t long before this delicious fusion of traditional and modern music came to the notice of one of Benin’s most important record companies.

Celestin Houenou Sezan was cofounded of Albarika Store, which was Benin’s biggest and most prestigious label. Soon, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou were signed to the label. Indeed, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou’s first release was an E.P. and was the first E.P. to be released by Albarika Store. Having recognized the quality and importance of the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou’s music, the label soon became the band’s biggest supporter and sponsor. 

By then, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou were becoming a voice for Benin’s disadvantaged and disenfranchised. They gave a voice to people who previously, had nobody to act as their advocate. So Albarika Store’s patronage allowed their music to be heard by a much wider audience. It also meant that the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou’s music was recorded for posterity. So when Analog Africa came along three decades later, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou’s music was there, awaiting rediscovery by an even wider audience than either Albarika Store or Moussa Mama could’ve imagined. Analog Africa’s compilation Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou-The Bariba Sound 1970-1976 features fifteen of their legendary recordings, which I’ll tell you about.

Straight away, when you start listening to Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou-The Bariba Sound 1970-1976, you’re struck by the sheer energy, rawness and passion in the music. It’s a truly eclectic selection music. Traditional Benin music and folklore is music with modern, Western music. There’s everything from Afro Beat, soul, funk, pop and jazz combined with the tradition music of Bariba, pachanga and dendi. It’s captivating, compelling and truly infectious. From the Bariba Soul of Gandigui and Wegne ´Nda M ´Banda through the Bariba Afro Beat of Abakpé and A Na Gan Garo Ka Nam to the impassioned, heartfelt folklore Bariba Ko Guere the energy and passion shines through. Then there’s Afro Beat Dendi of  Dadon Gabou Yo Sa Be No.2 and the epic closing track Adiza Claire which introduces you to the Cavacha Bariba sound. During each song, influences and musical genres melt seamlessly into one. African and Western music become one. 

On Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou-The Bariba Sound 1970-1976, two continents unite through one commonality, music. It’s spellbinding, captivating and enthralling. With each listen, you hear new sounds, influences and musical textures. Layer upon layer of music reveals itself. Musical subtleties, secrets and surprises gradually unfold. Moussa Mamma’s musical influence shine through, as does his passion. The lyrics are from the heart, giving voice to people who are isadvantaged and disenfranchised. Together, the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou collectively, provide a voice to people who previously, had nobody to act as their advocate. During the seventies, these people’s advocate was the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou.

Now over three decades later, Analog Africa have given the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou’s music the wider audience it so richly deserves. The fifteen songs that feature on Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou -The Bariba Sound 1970-1976 are a captivating, compelling and infectiously catchy introduction to not just the Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou, but the music on Benin. I’m sure that after you’ve heard and enjoyed the music on Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou -The Bariba Sound 1970-1976, that this will be the first step on a musical journey, where you’ll hungrily seek out much more of the music of Benin. Standout Tracks: Gandigui, Wegne ´Nda M ´Banda, Abakpé and Adiza Claire.

ORCHESTRE SUPER BORGOU DE PARAKOU-THE BARIBA SOUND 1970-1976.

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