Various Artists Legends of Benin Review

Compilation. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

The album leaps from Afro-funk to Afrobeat to Soul to Cavacha seamlessly.

Johnny Lais 2009

Legends Of Benin comprised of fast-paced Afro Latin funk rhythms has been carefully selected by Ben Redjeb. Spanning four genres and three decades, the album highlights the work of four of Benin's great musicians: Gnonnas Pedro, Antoine Dougbe, El Rego and Honoré Avolonto. Each adds a unique vibrancy to the album, contrasting with and complimenting each other.

Traditional rhythms form the base of many of the tracks, Gnonnas Pedro's Abadja Rhythms underscore Okpo Videa Bassouo, while Antoine Dougbe's music combines Vodoun and Congolese rhythms in the 'Afro Cavacha' style he pioneered. His track Ya Mi Ton Gbo is one of the funkiest tracks here. Legendary percussionist and composer Honoré Avolonto offers some of the grittiest music on the album. His style, similar in parts to Fela Kuti, is enormously energetic.

The album leaps from Afro-funk to Afrobeat to Soul to Cavacha seamlessly. This variety has a lot to do with when the music was recorded: the 70s was a politically turbulent decade for Benin, reflected in the raw unrelenting beats.

Legends Of Benin is praiseworthy for contextualizing Benin's contribution to Afrobeat and African music as a whole.

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