To further explore the music of Benin, producer Morgan Greenstreet put together some exemplary videos from the artists featured in Benin: Transforming Traditions.
Nicolas Moncadas, a French documentary filmmaker, record collector, and author of the excellent orogod blog made this beautiful music video for Sagbohan Danialou’ s haunting, mysterious version of the traditional Vodun song, “Hoho Gbédji.” Nico’s video features Sagbohan singing and drumming with his group on the beach, but also participating in colorful Vodun ceremonies.
Nico explained the meaning of this song: “The song is talking about slavery, and the commercial strategy which European people created during the slavery years…It’s very simple. They were coming to Africa with empty boats; they were buying slaves; then they were going to America with boats full of slaves, selling slaves and coming back to Europe with gold. Then going back again to Africa with presents for African kings to make exchange with slaves.”
Sagbohan analyzes this wicked enterprise, singing “the most valuable children were torn away from the Black continent, to feed the triangular commerce,” over a rocking kakagbo rhythm from Porto Novo.
For more music videos from the artists featured in this week’s show, Benin: Transforming Traditions, check out our YouTube playlist: Gangbé Brass Band, Gbessi Zolawadji, Jomion & The Uklos and more!