Continuing the series of singles I would like to share two records from Benin, - or rather from Dahomey (that is, from before 1975). Both are by the Super Star de Ouidah.
From the wonderful Orogod blog I have learned that this orchestra was one of the first (presumably modern) orchestras of Dahomey, but apart from this my knowledge of and about this orchestra is minimal.
I must admit I was attracted to these record by their titles. I mean "Le Peuple A Raison" ("The People Are Right") is bound to get one's imagination going, isn't it? Unfortunately, even after listening to the song, I am still left in the dark as to what the people are right about. But luckily the music is good, although I prefer the B-side "Djomido Mahi", with its strange voices in the background (it's like someone has left the radio on in a room next to the studio...).
The second single is actually an EP. And if you thought the first record was weird, wait till you hear this one. It was only after hearing the record four times that I could resist the temptation to go and check the speed of the record player. The voice of the singer has a natural '45rpm-played-at-33' timbre.
Again the titles set the mind off in all directions. And with the track "Feeling You Got" I am still left wondering what feeling this was supposed to be. The lyrics, supposedly in English, shed no light on the matter....
The same goes for the highlife track with the title "750 x 7". What does it mean?
The B-side of this EP begins with yet another wondrous tune, called "Los Cuoros" and no doubt intended as a happy latin dance melody of the 'fiesta' kind. And again I am left puzzled, for despite the (no doubt) good intentions I can't help but feeling like I am attending a funeral....
Of the last song "Dors Si Tu Peux" ("Sleep if you can") they have even printed the lyrics on the back. But I am still not quite sure what the meaning of this bluesy ballad is. Has someone died ("You will never again see the sun of happiness")?
After more than 23 years of making radio programmes I am seeking new ways to share my passion for African and Latin music. My intentions are 100% non-commercial.
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