Le Super Borgou De Parakou -The Bariba Sound 1970-1976

 today’s post comes from Dutch guest writer Pieter Franssen who  is a lifetime music lover, celebrating his 40 years long career as being a well known dj, journalist/writer and radio-journalist. He is also a regular contributor to Soul Safari. See his previous post Le Mystère Jazz de Tombouctou

 Orchestre Super Bourgou de Parakou – Wegne’Nda M’Banda

LE SUPER BORGOU DE PARAKOU The Bariba Sound 1970-1976 (Analog Africa AALP 071)

The West African State of Benin borders Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. In the 1970s the former Dahomey knew a truly incredible wealth of mind-blowing funk bands, from cities such as Cotounou, Porto Novo and the absolutely unknown -until very recently- Parakou capital in the North Province, near the border of Nigeria.

Just like in Mali and Guinea the musical competition in Dahomey/Benin was huge and fanatical. In addition to Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou and other bands, as showcased on the top compilation “African Scream Contest” -of the extremely interesting label and blog Analog Africa-were exposed to the outside world for the first time. The label brings back the music of the band Super Borgou Department de Parakou to life and finally it gets all the credit it deserves.

The Bariba Sound 1976

All due to the deep diggin’ of the mastermind behind the Frankfurt based label, dj Samy Ben Redjeb. The man, who has a sixth sense for detecting unknown and obscure, raw top funk, undertook a quest for musical treasures in the small country of Benin. He ended up in barns and dusty warehouses of the Dendi and Bariba tribes where unknown music was waiting to be discovered. He also met musical entrepreneurs avant la lettre, who linked whole generations of musicians and a couple of particularly creative record label owners.

Super Borgou Department originated in Parakou where guitarist/organist Moussa Mama Djima was inspired first by his father, a gold-and silversmith who discovered highlife in Ghana in his youth. That was his first and true love. The rumba/soukous music of legendary bandleader/singer and guitarist Franco, from Zaire, was one of the other sources of inspiration.

The Bariba Sound 1976 binnen

The Islamic-tribes Bariba and Dendi made dance music covering different levels of stirring emotions, trance and excitement. On the beautifully designed  vinyl double package  by Super Borgou, “Rhythms Of Black Sparta”, from 1976, you can hear mesmerizing soul, funk grooves ala  James Brown, next to Bariba versions of Afrobeat mixed with local folklore, soul and Bariba and Dendi Pachanga-dance styles, just a tad different in style and groove.

It impossible to stand still when listening to the 15 tracks on this double album. The roar of the whining organ that grooves with the (ultra)short funky rhythm guitar licks  blends into titillating, trance inducing rhythms of many percussion instruments, to bring the listener into an absolute climax.

Check the exciting organ-driven “Ko Guere”, based on Bariba folklore,  which is an absolute cracker, just as “Abare Klouklou” is.  Bold horns, a compelling rhythm, chorus, and melody. Just like the crazy track “Adiza Claire”, based on wild Cavacha rhythms, clearly derived from Zaire’s rumba styles.

Bandleader, composer, guitarist and keyboardist Moussa Mom Djima unfortunately passed away in 2007, but Super Borgou Parakou continues the legacy of their leader with a retroactive effect.  Insanely good trance-n-dance-music.

Pieter Franssen

See Pieter’s previous post Le Mystère Jazz de Tombouctou

Orchestre Super Borgou De Parakou – Abakpé