Afropop Classic March 3, 2016
Treasures of Benin
Nestled between Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, Benin is a culturally rich sliver of West Africa too often overlooked. This program focuses Afropop’s spotlight on Benin, starting with the country’s favorite daughter: International star Angelique Kidjo looks back on her musical education in the Benin capital, Cotonou, as she walks us through the songs on her album Oyo, which spans covers of songs by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Miriam Makeba, and Benin’s own Bella Bellow. We meet the ’70s vodoun funk band Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, who are still going strong, and recently made their belated U.S. debut. We move forward to present a chat with Lionel Loueke, a Beninois guitarist who has become one of the most original voices in contemporary American jazz. The program ends with a remembrance of the brilliant Malian guitarist and singer Lobi Traore.