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“The Vodoun Ef­fect” 1972-1975: Funk & Sato from Benin’s

Ob­scure La­bels (Ana­log Africa) This disc full of cel­e­bra­tory mu­sic comes from the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, a col­lec­tive from the West African nation of Benin that dates back to 1966. Samy Ben Red­jeb of the Ana­log Africa la­bel cu­rated this com­pi­la­tion, plumb­ing hun­dreds of record­ings made on a reelto-reel ma­chine in liv­ing rooms and back­yards be­tween 1970 and 1983. The col­lec­tion demon­strates how the group, “with the sup­port of a num­ber of lo­cal record la­bels, thrived by mix­ing the coolest parts of funk, soul, Latin, and vo­dun rhythms into a new sound,” ac­cord­ing to al­bum notes. The mu­si­cal amal­gam is chiefly per­formed us­ing two rhythms, both de­rived from vo­dun cer­e­monies: “ sato, an amaz­ing, en­er­getic rhythm per­formed us­ing an im­mense ver­i­cal drum, and sak­pata, a rhythm ded­i­cated to the di­vin­ity who pro­tects peo­ple from small­pox.” The al­bum opens with “Mi Hom­lan Dadalé,” group shouts in­tro­duc­ing a big mix of gui­tar, per­cus­sion, and rhyth­mic singing. “Sé Wé Non Nan” fea­tures a heady wash­ing-ma­chine rhythm with lay­ered horns, or­gan, gui­tar, and call-and-re­sponse vo­cals by Lo­hento Eskill, Vin­cent Ahe­he­hin­nou, and Ame­noudji Vicky. This one is a high­light, loud and won­der­ful. “Mi Ni Non Kpo” surges with ring­ing, fuzzed-out gui­tar by Bernard “Papil­lon” Zoundeg­non. Over­all, this is more than 75 min­utes of great, sum­mery mu­sic: en­thu­si­as­tic and loose, with a psychedelic edge. — Paul Wei­de­man

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