LE SUPER BORGOU DE PARAKOU: The Bariba Sound

Le Super Borgou De Parakou: The Bariba Sound

 
 
 
 
 

LE SUPER BORGOU DE PARAKOU
The Bariba Sound
Analog Africa 071

www.analogafrica.com
 


During the ’60s, like the USA and Britain, Africa was experiencing an explosion of young, modern, cutting-edge bands, all of them seemingly poised with one ear to the ground and the other pricked toward any fetching international tune that passed through. Nigerian psychedelia, Ethiopian R&B and Ghanaian soul were just a few of the resulting amalgams, to which we can now add, thanks to the Frankfurt-based Analog Africa label, funk from Benin. Le Super Borgou de Parakou served an apprenticeship covering the Independence-era Congolese Rumba ubiquitous at the time, but were soon drawn back into their own Bariba tribal traditions, onto which they grafted whatever felt right. The result was a sexy, slinky, broad-bottomed groove that will sound strangely familiar to many Westerners, but also startlingly original. The first track, “Gandigui (Bariba Soul)”, with its circular bass line and full-throated guitars, is a funhouse image of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” while the neat-handed, propulsive picking on “Me Ton Le Gbe (Pachanga Fon)” is clearly an homage to the band’s Kinshasa-based beginnings and Docteur Nico, that era’s widely-emulated guitar god. “A Na Gan Garo Ka Nam (Afro Beat Bariba)” features brisk, tinder-dry drumming underneath a gloriously low-end electric organ. Yoruba folklore rears its primal head on “Ko Guere (Folklore Bariba)” and sunny echoes of Ghana’s mellow Palm Wine music gild the sweet/sour, horn-crowned shuffling of “Abere Klouklou (Cavacha Dendi).” As well, the group’s penchant for pitch-dark, humid melodies, call-and-response vocals, meandering keyboard riffs and braying brass presage Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat shenanigans.

Christina Roden

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