In Benin, a small francophone country in West Africa, traditional style roots music is extremely popular: artists sell thousands of CDs and DVDs of music videos, pack stadiums for concerts and frequently appear on national television. There are many, many styles of roots-pop, but the baseline of dense percussion and intricate vocals is a constant.
Producer Morgan Greenstreet focused on these styles for our program Benin Roots Alive. He also made an exclusive Benin Roots Pop Mix from recordings he collected during his trip to Benin in January 2015. Enjoy!
Ricos Campos- “Habame” (gan-gan) Gan-gan uses Yoruba dun-dun drums, Western drum set and songs in many languages.
Les Freres Guedehoungue- “Legué legué” (vodun roots pop)
Gbetcheou- “Agbon tche” (tchinkounmé) Tchincounmé comes from Savalou and is played with calabash drums.
Norberka- “Gbé dokpo” (zandro/azelehoun) The queen of zinli gbété branches out, using a vodun rhythm that has not yet been approved for commercialization. Read more in our interview here.
Alekpehanhou- “Fitê mi non bo dô ê?” (agbotchebou) Although he is known for his zinli, the Abomey master singer also uses the vodun rhythm agbotchebu.
Allevi- “Mi fon” (toba hanye) Roots pop with a giant thumb piano!