By the 1980s, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou were close to dissolution. Following the deaths of two original band-members, and their country of Benin falling into political decline, it looked like their legacy of over 50 albums, and appearances alongside the likes of Fela Kuti, was to become nothing more than a memory.
Happily, and fortunately for us, in 2008—following a renewed interest in West African music across Europe—the band reformed, and since then have been playing and producing music with as much joy and intensity as before. Sadly, bandleader Mélomé Clément who formed the original lineup in 1968 passed away in 2012, but the Poly-Rhythm torch is still being carried by singers Vincent Ahehehinnou and Loko Pierre, bass player Gustave Bentho. After a short break following the death of their founding member, they began writing and recording material which ultimately formed the backbone of their new album, Madjafalao—their first since 2011.
We are naturally really excited to be hearing new music from such a storied and influential group, and we're even more excited to be bringing you a fantastic remix of the album's title track, courtesy of French disco don Cerrone. The rework adds an acidic pulse under the frenetic fever of the original. Cerrone had this to say about it:
"It's amazing how this music and its rhythms are an inspiration for me! I really loved going back to this universe which has been part of my musical origins. There are so many 'hooky' parts in the original song by Poly-Rythmo that you can't help being inspired."
Isn't that lovely? Enjoy the track below:
Madjafalao is out on the 28th of October.