Various - African Scream Contest 2 2xLP
Label: Analog Africa
Who knew that some of the most exciting Afro-funk records of all time were actually made in the small West African country of Benin? Once Analog Africa released the first African Scream Contest in 2008, the proof was there for all to hear; gut-busting yelps, lethally well-drilled horn sections and irresistibly insistent rhythms added up to a record that took you into its own space. Ten years on, intrepid crate-digger Samy Ben Redjeb unveils a new treasure trove of Vodoun-inspired Afrobeat heavy funk crossover greatness. Right from the laceratingly raw guitar fanfare which kicks off Les Sympathics de Porto Novo's pile-driving opener, it's clear that African Scream Contest 2 is every bit as joyous a voyage of discovery as its predecessor. Ignace De Souza & The Melody Aces' "Asaw Fofor" would've been a killer instrumental but once you've factored in the improbably-rich-to-the-point-of-being-Nat-King-Cole-influenced lead vocal, it's a total revelation. The screaming does not stop there, in fact it's only just beginning. Already familiar to fans of the first African Scream Contest as a mainstay of ruthlessly disciplined military band Les Volcans de la Capitale, Lokonon AndrÃ© vanished in a cloud of dust at Ben Redjeb's behest with a list of names and some petrol money, only to return a few days later having miraculously tracked down every single name he'd been given. The source of this Afrobeat bounty-hunter's impressive people-finding skills â€“ his training with the KGB â€“ highlights the tension between encroaching authoritarian politics and fearless expressions of personal creative freedom which is the back-story of so much great African music of the '60s and '70s. Happily, in this instance, Lokonon was tracking the artists down to offer them licensing deals, rather than to arrest them. Samy Ben Redjeb's determination to track this amazing music to its human sources pays huge karmic dividends. Features Stanislas Tohon, Elias Akadiri & Sunny Black's Band, Picoby Band D'Abomey, Antoine DougbÃ©, Orch. Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Black Santiago, Lokonon AndrÃ© et Les Volcans, Sebastien Pynasco and L'Orchestre Black Santiago, Super Borgou de Parakou, Cornaire Salifou Michel et L'Orchestre El Rego & ses Commandos, Gnonnas Pedro and His Dadjes Band, and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. African Scream Contest 2 includes meticulously researched text and effortlessly fashion-forward photography, supplied by the artists themselves.