Drawing on the spirit and rhythms of vodoun, as well as a cosmopolitan ear for perfect grooves, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo bring together vintage vibes and a fresh, locally forged sound, evolved over years of soulful songwriting and performing.
Behind the band’s recently restored vibrant, fresh energy lie intense roots. Representing eight of Benin’s dozen ethnic groups, the members of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo draw on the languages, sounds, faiths, and beats of their backgrounds, while speaking the international language of funk and soul. A crucial force in OPR’s music, the animist spiritual traditions of vodoun and their rhythms power much of the band’s sound. “All African tradition is based in vodoun,” Ahehehinnou told UK magazine Songlines in a recent interview. “Every god has its own rhythm and it’s a huge legacy of music.”
Songs like “Oce” use these traditional means to make utterly contemporary statements. The song asks the vodoun deity why there is so much injustice in the world. “Even though we love these gods, we wonder why there are so many problems,” Ahehehinnou explained to British journalist Simon Broughton. “Maybe one day, we’ll have an answer.”
“We have hope for the future,” says vocalist and sax player Mélomé. “And if it happens, it’s not an accident.” It’s just deserts, after years of hard work, lean times, and powerful funk.
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo in the Press:
“Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou” (The Guardian)
“This Orchestre One of the World’s Funkiest”(Chicago Tribune)