. issue III : i .

by barathron

. artist : orchestre poly-rythmo de cotonou .
. album : volume 3: the skeletal essences of voodoo funk .
. year : 2013
. label : analog africa .
. grade : a .


This compilation is Analog Africa’s fourth reissue of Poly-Rythmo. Their series, plus Soundway’s The Kings Of Benin Urban Groove, PAM’s Reminiscin’ In Tempo, and the band’s 2011 comeback album Cotonou Club have firmly established Poly-Rythmo as one of Africa’s all-time greatest bands. With all that material already reissued, it’s remarkable that this latest release measures up to its predecessors – but it does, in spades. Start with “Ecoute Ma Melodie,” based on a modified bossa nova rhythm (!) and easily as outstanding a composition and performance as anything in this band’s catalog. Poly-Rythmo was always among the most versatile of bands, and that’s well reflected here: if you dig Afro-funk, try “Houzou Houzou Wa;” “Adjro Mi” is their version of the Congolese cavacha rhythm (the basis for soukous, ndombolo, etc.); “Vi E Lo” is another demonstration of how they lock down the Afro-Cuban sound; and “Pourquoi Pas?” is the kind of track that makes Poly-Rythmo unique, a funky take on a traditional Beninoise voodoo rhythm. The Skeletal Essences Of Voodoo Funk is outstanding from beginning to end, and that’s actually a pretty good summary of this band’s entire recorded output as well. Highly recommended.

by Bill Lupoletti