Analog Africa Soundsystem
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Analog Africa Soundsystem


Band World Funk


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"‘African Scream Contest’"

The James Brown funk craze that spread across West Africa in the 1970s didn’t bypass Togo and Benin, the
two French-speaking countries tucked between Ghana (with its highlife music) and Nigeria (home of Fela Kuti’s
Afrobeat). A scrupulously licensed and extensively annotated collection, “African Scream Contest: Raw &
Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 70s” (Analog Africa,, gathers some of
the most kinetic results: 14 definitively funky dance tracks that tap local traditions while borrowing from — and
frequently surpassing — the neighbors. The screamingest track on the anthology, “Gbeti Madjro,” is by
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, from Benin, and the label followed through with an equally remarkable
(though less scream-filled) collection of that band alone, “The Vodoun Effect: Funk & Sato From Benin’s
Obscure Labels 1973-1975” (Analog Africa). Sato and sakpata, two rhythms from Benin’s spiritual tradition of
vodoun (Westernized as voodoo), infuse the songs alongside rock, funk, Afro-Cuban rhythms and what may be
glimmers of Arabic or North African music. At times the funk turns into hypnosis, and the rest is unstoppable
dance music. - The New York Times

"Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Volume One: "The Vodoun Effect""

Recording more than 50 albums and hundreds of 45s, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo were one of the most prolific
bands of the 20th century. They were also one of the best. An innovative group that developed its own
distinctive style of hard-driving funk but still found time to record in just about every style imaginable, from
highlife, Afrobeat, and rumba to rock, jazz, soul, and folk. And yet, as of today, they don't even have a Wikipedia
page. That peers of Bembeya Jazz National, Orchestra Baobab, Rail Band, OK Jazz, Fela's Africa 70, and
every other great African band of the 1950s-70s has managed to remain this obscure and unheard is frankly
baffling-- and attributable more to the capricious nature of fame than any other single factor.
The band's geographic location probably didn't help. Their home country of Benin, a relatively small nation
bordering Nigeria, is often overshadowed in the eyes of the rest of the world by its neighbors, and because the
former French colony and its even smaller neighbor Togo are surrounded by the Anglophone giants Ghana and
Nigeria, their recordings sometimes found it difficult to travel far outside their borders. (Though they did tour
much of Africa and even France during their 1969-1982 heyday.) Still, Poly-Rythmo and its most prominent
members are household names in their homeland.
Compiled by Analog Africa's Samy Ben Redjeb, The Vodoun Effect gathers 14 of the band's rawest, funkiest
cuts into a thrilling hours-plus album. The generous, 44-page liner notes inform us that while the band did most
of its recording, and certainly its most prominent recording, for the Albarika Store label, it also cut dozens of
sides for smaller labels of more modest means. This compilation focuses on those releases. Many of these
tracks were recorded with a microphone or two plugged into a Nagra reel-to-reel machine, but you'd never
guess the setup was that simple from the incredible depth and fidelity of the sound. Pressings of these 45s
rarely exceeded 500 copies, and distribution scarcely ever reached outside the coastal cities of Cotonou and
Porto Novo, so this is the first any of these songs save one have ever been available outside Benin. (There's no
overlap at all between this and the other two Poly-Rythmo comps available in the West, Sound Way's excellent,
funk-focused Kings of Benin Urban Groove and Popular African Music's highlife-centric and also great
Reminiscin' in Tempo.)
The engine of the band was its rhythm section: drummer Yehouessi Leopold, lead guitarist Bernard "Papillon"
Zoundegnon, and bassist Gustave Bentho. Leopold was a master of the polyrhythmic foundations the band was
named for, effortlessly playing three against four to give the band's songs a swaying, unstoppable feel and
adapting the Vodoun (aka voodoo) ceremonial rhythms sato and sakpata into unique funk that drove the band at
a frenetic pace. Just as the sound is stripped down on these recordings, so too is the band, with the horns
frequently absent, leaving just the core of drums, bass, and two guitars, with some buzzing organ and a singer
or two. The immense rhythmic power of the music is the primary attraction, but the compositions are also quite
sophisticated, setting contrasting sections against each other, hinging on memorable refrains and still leaving
space for the band to stretch out and strut its stuff.
The telepathic tightness of the band is a strength: The group latches onto the relatively slow sakpato beat of "Mi
Ni Non Kpo", entwining the guitars around the sturdy bassline and crackling percussion to create a psychedelic
whirlwind of intertwining rhythm. Elsewhere, "Se Tche We Djo Mon" simply rides a pulsating, non-stop groove,
slathering it with Papillon's weightless lead guitar, which carries one of the disc's most memorable riffs.
Papillon's solo on "Assibavi" is jaw-dropping, deploying rippling waves of notes soaked in heavy reverb to create
a shimmering soundscape above the din of the band. "Mi Homlan Dadale" features a dramatic rhythmic shift to
a majestic organ and guitar phrase between its verses, then jumps back into pocket again while the vocalist
hangs on for the ride. There's not a single track that doesn't have a groove worth talking about, and there's not a
single groove whose power can be adequately translated into words.
Papillon and Yehouessi Leopold both died within a year of each other in the early 1980s, just as mainstream
artists and listeners around the world were finally getting clued in to African sounds, and it's tough not to think
what might have been had the classic rhythm section been able to carry them into that era. At the very least,
those outside Benin are finally getting to hear this music, delivered in a beautiful, informative package stuffed
with photos and even a small-label 45 discography, and for that we should be grateful.
— Joe Tangari, February 6, 2009

http://pitchfor -

"Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou, The Voudoun Effect"

Creators of the standout track on African Scream Contest (crate-digger Samy Ben Redjeb's previous
collection), this thrillingly hectic West African ensemble more than merit their own album. And if you've
wondered what James Brown-inspired Seventies floor-fillers from the home of voodoo sound like,
well, they're not kidding about the 'poly-rythmo' bit.

* Ben Thompson, The Observer, Sunday 9 November 2008 * -

"Africa On The Ground"

The marketing of African music outside the continent has long been dominated by a handful of labels
like Sterns and World Circuit, which principally target fans of “world music.” They’ve established a sort
of African canon, an official history centered on a pantheon of legends (Fela Kuti, Franco, King Sunny
Ade, Miriam Makeba, Ali Farka Toure) and a smattering of contemporary stars (Youssou N’Dour,
Habib Koite, Toumani Diabate). The canon isn’t necessarily unrepresentative of what actual Africans
listen to—these artists are huge at home as well as on the international stage. But they’re known
quantities, and that’s where my frustration lies.
I was reminded of this by a piece Robert Christgau wrote for the New York Times on May 18. He was
reviewing The Voice of Lightness, a recent double disc from Sterns that collects music by Congolese
singer and bandleader Tabu Ley Rochereau, one of the greatest voices Africa has ever produced. I
couldn’t agree more with his praise of the set, but when Christgau listed a few label folks—employees
and owners—who are committed to releasing African music, he did little but reinforce the status quo.
He mentioned Ken Braun of Sterns, Trevor Herman of Earthworks (whose compilations provided a
crucial conduit to the South African music Paul Simon appropriated for Graceland), Jacob Edgar of
Cumbancha (which focuses on contemporary artists like Koite and Dobet Gnahore), and Phil Stanton
of the World Music Network (responsible for the broad but superb Rough Guide comps).
These guys have been into African music for their entire careers, if not their entire lives, and their
knowledge of it is unimpeachable. And admittedly even top-shelf African artists have rarely enjoyed
wide distribution in the West, so it’s not like those labels are just flogging material everyone’s already
heard. What bothers me isn’t that Christgau acknowledges them but that he doesn’t acknowledge any
of the smaller imprints that make it their business to dig up stuff not even the experts know about yet.
In the past five years some of the greatest African music I’ve heard has come from labels like
this—tiny European operations like Soundway, Analog Africa, and Oriki Music that release material in
danger of being lost to history, regional records whose occasional brilliance never reached a broad
audience even in their native lands.
These labels are run not by ethnomusicologists but by DJs and collectors whose obsession with vinyl
rarities has led them to Africa, where they root around in storage rooms and closets looking for
records. (Operations like Sterns, by contrast, typically license material from companies that own the
rights to vast holdings of African music, like France’s Syllart Productions.) Connected by a love of
crate digging to vinyl junkies of all stripes, these labels tend to operate on the fringes of the indie
scene rather than in the world-music niche—Forced Exposure distributes Soundway and Analog
Africa, and Dusty Groove carries releases from all three.
“For me it doesn’t matter whether I’m in Bombay or Ghana or New York or London or wherever, I’ll
have a look for records if they’re around,” says Englishman Miles Cleret, who runs Soundway. He was
inspired to launch the label on a 2001 vacation in Ghana, where a friend of a friend, a local DJ in
Accra, led him to caches of old 45s.
Cleret has released excellent music from Ethiopia, Colombia, and Panama, but his focus is on Ghana
and Nigeria, and he has an affinity for hard-hitting, funky dance music. Thus far his crowning achievement has been the three-part Nigeria Special series, which devotes one release to funk and
disco, one to rock, and one to local variations on highlife, all from the 1970s.
Some factions of the “world music mafia,” according to Cleret, are bothered by the burgeoning
popularity of vintage African funk and other Westernized styles, and they hate his label because its
output isn’t traditional enough. “I find it hypocritical,” he says, “that on the one hand they’re
challenging people’s musical assumptions over here, but when you talk about a big city like Lagos,
which has just as much right to produce lots of different styles—including funk, disco, reggae, and
rock—they get all touchy about it, like, ‘No, no, no, they’re not supposed to do that.’
“These were young kids playing pop music, university kids doing their own thing,” he continues. “It’s
as important historically as anything. These are the cultural reference points of the future.”
This long-neglected music ought to help interested Americans fill out their picture of Nigeria during the
70s—and there are plenty of holes. In a recent review of Nigeria Rock Special in the Houston Press,
Dave Segal seemed startled to learn that Africans were aware of global pop culture before the rise of
the Internet: “Finding out that Nigeria had thriving psych-rock and funk scenes in the ’ - Chicago Reader


The Green Arrows "4-Track Recording Session" (AACD 061)
Hallelujah Chicken Run Band "Take One" (AACD 062)
Various Artists "African Scream Contest" (AACD 063)
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou "The Vodoun Effect" (AACD 064)

all compiled by Samy Ben Redjeb
Various Artists Legends Of Benin AACD 065



DJs Samy Ben Redjeb & Pedo Knopp

„Tropical Rare Grooves meet Selected International Freestyle Flavors"

Is he a crate-digger, a globetrotter or music enthnologist? Whatever he is, Samy Ben Redjeb’s conception of life is out of the ordinary: constantly
travelling through countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, Zimbawe, and Colombia, he`s searching in dusty warehouses for forgotten music to keep it alive. He is world-renowned for his profound knowledge of African and Latin music and for his tremendous Vinyl and Tape collection of rare and partly unreleased music. With excellent compilations, extremely well-
researched booklets and truly mind-blowing music his label Analog Africa achieved a good reputation in a diverse circle of experts around the globe. Among them: Jean Trouillet, Gilles Peterson, Straight No Chaser, the Guardian, the Wire and his friend Pedo Knopp ...

In spite of being widely nameless abroad, Pedo Knopp is one of the major figures in Frankfurts’ underground music scene. With his participation in countless projects, several compilations and events like the legendary LAZY parties or the Nippon Connection Film Festival, he is deeply rooted in the leftfield subculture of the city. His DJ–sets and musical taste are delicate and all-embracing, incorporationg sounds from Afro and Latin to Disco,
Folk, Funk, Hip Hop and electronic sounds from the last 4 decades.
Pedo and Samy got to know each other through the mutual friend Marc Petri (Jazzkeller Frankfurt). Shortly after they established a deep estimation for the work and peculiarities of each other. Fascinated by the obscure music they discovered in Samy’s crates, Pedo and Marc soon asked Samy to start a regular party with the aim to present music from his vaults to a wider audience.
Thus AFRICADELAY was born. With the main idea to present the manifoldness besides the stereotypes of African music, the quarterly afro music jamboree soon diversified musically and developed to a meeting point for hedonistic cosmopolitans from all backgrounds that boogie to intoxicating Afro-Grooves aswell as Carribean, Indian, Latin and Afro-American
sounds from past to present. With its uniqueness, solid resident DJs, an open-minded audience and quality-bookings such as the exceptional percussionist Siva Mani, the incredible Karl Hector and the Malcouns outfit or Andy Williams, AFRICADELAY has become one of the lushest and funkiest partys Frankfurt has to offer.

Expect the Unexpected!