NOTICE: The Listening Post Blog is taking a short break and will be back on Monday 27th March! Whilst away, new sounds will continue to be sourced so that there will be plenty to share upon my return! See you soon.. In the meantime, enjoy this great afrobeat track from 1978!
Vincent Ahehehinnou’s voice has been a prominent part of afrobeat ever since the early 60’s when he began recording and singing with the voodoo funk, afrobeat, highlife and latin jazz band, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo.
The band was first formed in 1966 in the town of Cotonou and recorded around 500 songs between the late 1960’s and early 1980’s, playing a variety of musical styles for various Beninese record labels. Their debut album was originally released in 1973.
In early 1978, Vincent Ahehehinnou left the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou without explanation. He had been one of their principal vocalist since 1968 and had helped transform them from a hard-charging nightclub band into a musical powerhouse and Africa-wide sensation. For nearly forty years, the reasons behind Vincent’s sudden departure remained a mystery. …Until now…
German label Analog Africa uncovered the reasons behind this when they recently reissued Vincent’s first post-Poly-Rhythmo album, Best Woman. This album has been out-of-print for close to four decades and is nearly impossible to find outside West Africa but has now been re-released. In an interview that accompanies this album, Vincent goes into great detail explaining the reasons for his abrupt departure and how a serious altercation with the band’s manager Adissa Seidou found Vincent both threatened and pushed out of the band!
Vincent had been forced out of the band he had helped build. He tried his hand at various business ventures, but soon realised that the pull of music was too strong. On a business trip to Nigeria, Vincent met with Ignace de Souza of Benin’s Black Santiago band, who agreed to arrange Vincent’s songs, assemble musicians, and book a session at the legendary Decca Studios in Lagos.
Best Woman was soon released on Nigeria’s Hasbunalau Records in 1978, and original pressings are now highly-prized collector’s items. Analog Africa has recently reissued this album which is great news because this great selection of songs are once again available at an attainable price. Today’s song is title track, Best Woman ( sang in English) which revolves around a fantastic driving beat, striking horns and lively vocal melody. Listen above..
Read lots more about Vincent Ahehehinnou and pre-order your copy of Best Woman (due April 20th) on Analog Africa’s Bandcamp release page here.