Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble

Everyone's got a "we made an album during the pandemic" story, but how many bands did it between Finland, Benin and Portugal while also teaching far-flung band members how to use the technology on the fly?

In 2009 Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen travelled to Benin, West Africa, to study the rhythms of Voodoo. He became friends with a master percussionist/singer, Noël Saïzonou, and the idea of a band planted. In the planning for their 5th album, neither of them thought Helsinki-based Janne would ever be spending long hours teaching Benin-based Noël how to use entirely unfamiliar recording software by sharing his screen over Zoom, but you know... pandemic.

Get ready for a mix West African Voodoo traditions, Afrobeat, Jazz, Soul, and conscious Hip-Hop, with all songs being sung in Saïzonou’s native Goun language. HCE5 drops May 21 2021 and we've got a sneak peek single for you, “Min He Mon Ébgé – The One Who Sees Today” (available across all streaming platforms worldwide on May 7th, 2021). The single, which will also be the first track on the new album, imparts the message that it’s important to take care of one’s craft and general well-being, since nobody knows what tomorrow brings. 

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