Various Artists

Legends Of Benin

  • aalp065
  • Release Date: October 28th 2016
  • £22.99

This music from Benin, recorded in the '70s, is definitely funky, and you can hear the american influence - El Rego is a James Brown wannabe at times, although his band is looser - but it's also strongly african in thought and execution.

This excellent compilation focuses on four productive artists from the period, each of whom has his own take on the Benin sound, like different facets of a whole. the music of antoine dougb flows, powered by guitar and percussion (just like all the bands here) and with some explosive brass and dynamic guitar work on 'honton soukpo gnon.' gnossas pedro can take a poppier approach - 'dadje von o von non' wouldn't have sounded out of place in the hot 100 in the 1960s - but all of them can get rootsy under the western influence. imagine the chambers brothers crossed with the super rail band and a touch of fela kuti and you have a rough approximation of the groups here, with honore avolonto very african on the percolating 'tin lin non.' but what unites all the music here is a strong, thick groove, soulful and deep, with el rego's 'djobime' particularly explosive. the men themselves are true characters, with professions ranging from brothel owner to voodoo priest. all in all, it's a storming collection and a very in-depth look at a time and place that's been ignored for far too long.