Music of Benin

West African music
Benin Burkina Faso
Chad CŰte d'Ivoire
Gambia Ghana
Guinea Guinea-Bissau
Liberia Mali
Mauritania Niger
Nigeria Senegal
Sierra Leone Togo
Western Sahara

Benin has played an important role in the African music scene, producing one of the biggest stars to come out of the continent in Angélique Kidjo. In the immediate post-independence period (1960-1972), the country was home to a vibrant and innovative music scene, where native folk music combined with Ghanaian highlife, French cabaret, American rock, funk and soul, and Congolese rumba. Ignacio Blazio Osho was perhaps the most influential musician of this period, alongside Pedro Gnonnas y sus Panchos, Les Volcans de la Capitale and Picoby Band d'Abomey. In 1972, however, the Kérékou government came to power and instituted curfews and other measures that inhibited musical expression.

After Kérékou, the first musician to become a star was Nel Oliver, who debuted in France in 1976. His distinctive style took elements from all over Africa and the United States to create "Afro-akpala-funk". The last few decades of the 20th century saw numerous other developments, including the rise of reggae (brought from Jamaica by Yaya Yaovi) and hip hop (most popularized by Ardiess Posse), as well as a new wave of musicians, including Cella Stella, Africando, Ambroise Coffi Akoha, Bluecky d'Almeida and Angélique Kidjo.

Kérékou encouraged indigenous folk music. Some musicians, like Tohon Stan, adapted folk styles for mainstream audiences at home and abroad, including tchinkoumé, a funeral music played using water percussion which was adapted into tchink-system music.

See also: Beninese hip hop

References

  • Bensignor, François and Eric Audra. "Afro-Funksters". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 432-436. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
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