In Benin, (as in many other areas of the African continent) traditional music artists make detailed and fantastic music videos for their songs. In fact, some Beninois music is only available (outside street markets in Benin, that it is) online! Search as we might, we could only find these awesome tracks on Youtube, complete with amazing music videos featuring lots of drumming, singing, amazing dancing, complex story-lines that pretty much all get lost in translation, special effects magic (as in sorcery) and much, much, more, almost indescribably more. Enjoy!
Sylvain Akododja, known as Vi-Phint, just put out this awesome video, with music inspired by the rhythms and songs for the Vodun Sakpata, deity of the earth and of disease, particularly smallpox. The bells shown in the video and the rhythm they play are known as adja, but the tune includes jazz guitar and drum set, and a 5/4 rhythmic meter in certain sections (to use a highly geeky Western musicological perspective), which is very uncommon in this part of the world! This song is off Vi-Phint’s latest album, which we hope to hear more of (on Youtube, no doubt) very soon!
Les Frères Guèdèhounguè are the disparate sons of the late Sossa Guèdèhounguè, an important Vodun priest and the former president of the National Community of Vodun, an official state organization. In other words, the brothers know a thing or two about traditional Vodun music. They dress all in white, the color of Vodun initiates, and their music draws on the tradition, but also uses flashy horns, pop keyboards, and even rap to promote traditional religion. For more, check out this behind the scenes mini-doc, with voice-over in French.
The following music video is pretty intense, and we at Afropop do not understand most of the story, but we gather that the entrails belong to the deity Sakpata, “He throws them sometimes.”
For amazing music videos from traditional artists, check out our Youtube playlist. But remember, this is only the entrance to an entire world of Beninois music on Youtube. Dig deeper, and the joys are manifold: