Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

"Le tout-puissant" means "almighty" en français, and that's not hyperbole in terms of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, a 40-something-year-old sextet of polyrhythmic Afro-funk masters from the West African nation of Benin. The group's sound is a roiling mix of scintillating rhythms, blazing horns, stinging electric guitar, bubbling keyboards, emphatic call-and-response vocals, and grooves wicked enough to make James Brown proud. Rooted in the traditions of Benin's myriad ethnic groups and the rhythms and themes associated with Vodun's deities, the band is also influenced by the Agoudas (descendants of Brazilian slaves who returned to Africa in the late 19th century), Afro-Cuban music, Afrobeat from Fela's Nigeria, plus American soul and R&B. Even ardent fans of the group's original blasts of frenetic funk assumed the project's demise until its sudden resurgence, including its first tour outside Africa in 2009 and a new album, Club Cotonou, last year.
Tue., July 10, 7 p.m., 2012

 
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